Champi is champion of Veterans Class

Posted on Sep 14 2022

Lenard “Champi” Villacanas, middle, shares the Veterans Class podium with Trench Tech Racing teammate Dave Celis, left, and Melvin Cepeda, during 2022 Monster Energy Point Series awards banquet last Saturday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan. (MARK RABAGO)

Lenard “Champi” Villacanas took the competition by storm in the Veterans Class of the 2022 Monster Energy Point Series and wound up with the No. 1 plate during the Marianas Racing Association awards banquet last Saturday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan.

The 41-year-old heavy equipment operator at Construction Materials Supply finished the season strong with victories in the last four races.

Villacanas, who suits up for Trench Tech Racing, edged Dave Celis for the 2022 championship after garnering 314 total points. Celis was 4 points off the pace with 310 points, while Melvin Cepeda completed the Top 3 in the Veterans Class with 258 points.

The native of Negros Occidental in the Philippines won the checkered flag in April, May, July, and August. There was no June points race as MRA had to postpone the event to make way for the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.  

“My success in this year’s race was mainly attributed to my love of the sport. I have loved this sport since I was 17 years old. Nothing stopped me even the major accident I had in 2001,” said Villacanas.

That accident came during a race in his hometown’s MassKara Festival and resulted in the then 20-year-old Villacanas ending up in a coma at a hospital for three days on account of a head injury. 

Villacanas,  who is nicknamed after the 2009 typhoon, added that despite his late surge in the points race, he still had doubts if he truly rode hard enough to win the Veterans Class, which was chock full of battle-tested riders.

“The scores were not revealed until the awards night. However, everybody tried to keep track of the scores since the first race. I feel honored having the No. 1 plate. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.

The 2022 Veteran Class champion said winning this season’s points race will also inspire him to allot more time to training at the Cowtown Race Track.

“I will practice more so I will be ready next season. I’m working on my stamina since Boss Cuki [Alvarez] and Boss Dave [Celis] are both very tough and very fast racers. They are the true champions.”

Incidentally, Villacanas, Alvarez, and Celis are teammates at Trench Tech Racing.

Lastly, Villacanas dedicated his Veterans Class win to his wife and family.

“My No. 1 supporter is my wife who has been with me ever since. She always had my back motivating me to do better along with our two kids. I dedicate this No. 1 plate to her and to my kids as well to my Trench Tech Racing family. Having a chance to ride here is one of the best experiences of my life,” he said.

Winners of the other classes of the 2022 Monster Energy Point Series will be published in the next issues of Saipan Tribune.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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