‘Family that rides together, bonds better’

Posted on Aug 13 2021
Nanako, Dave Celis

Nanako, left, and father Dave Celis in action during the last race of the Marianas Racing Association’s 2021 Monster Energy Point Series last July 24 at the Cowtown Raceway Park. (Contributed photos)

The Celis family did a double celebration during Marianas Racing Association’s 2021 Monster Energy Point Series Race awards banquet last July 27 at the Saipan World Resort’s Royal Taga Hall.

This, after the father-and-daughter pair of Dave and Nanako Celis took home the No. 1 plate in the Veteran Class and the Power Puff Class, respectively.

Dave made it 7-for-7 after sweeping all monthly races in the highly competitive division by finishing with the most points in the season’s final race at the Cowtown Raceway Park last July 24 with 47 points.

That gave the 43-year-old from Chalan Kanoa a total of 332 points to beat his closest pursuer and training buddy, Cuki Alvarez (309 points), and eventual third-placer Melvin Cepeda (276 points). Alvarez and Cepeda incidentally also finished 2-3 in the last race with 45 points and 40 points, respectively.

Aboard his 2021 Yamaha YZ250F, the elder Celis said he just applied his tried-and-tested riding technique.

“Sure and steady won me the race. I just raced hard but not reckless. I just rode my bike as smart as I can so I won’t wipe out,” he said.

Aside from his Sunday warrior mentality in always training at the Cowtown track every Sunday, Celis also attributed his success in the sport to his renewed dedication to keeping himself in shape.

“Lots of fitness workouts also helped me with my riding skills. I do lots of running so I can have good stamina in order for me to ride strong with steady speed constantly,” he said, while adding that he runs 5 miles a day for a total of 25 miles a week.

“Without my fitness workouts I don’t think I could’ve won,” he said.

Nanako, Dave, Miyako Celis

From left, Nanako, Dave, and Miyako Celis pose after Marianas Racing Association’s 2021 Monster Energy Point Series Race awards banquet last July 27 at the Saipan World Resort’s Royal Taga Hall. (Contributed photo)

Nanako, for her part, edged runner-up Billie Pangelinan for the season championship in the ladies division after both riders finished with identical 304 points. The 13-year-old student from Hopwood Middle School, however, took the plum after beating Pangelinan in head-to-head races, 4-3. Celis won in rounds 2, 3, 6, and 7, while Pangelinan took the wins in rounds 1, 4, and 5.

It took the final race last July 24 to determine the winner of the Power Puff Class with Nanako aboard her Yamaha YZ85cc topping her rival with a razor-thin margin of 42-41. Third place overall went to Edinna Cepeda with her 257 points, while the July race was won by Filomenaleonisa Iakopo with her 47 points with Nanako and Pangelinan coming in second and third.

For Nanako, who only started motocross a year ago at the Kan Pacific temporary track, her winning the division championship was made more special after learning that she trailed Pangelinan following the sixth race.

“It feels good to be at the top of my division especially since Billie and I were tied and was told I had second place at the last race. There are no secrets, just do your best,” she said.

When asked to whom she’s dedicating her victory to, Nanako’s ready answer is to her ever-supportive family.

“I’m dedicating my victory to my parents and grandparents and to my Team Trench Tech niño Cuki and niña Mari and family.”

On her No. 1 goal for next season, she said she wants nothing less than to successfully defend her championship.

Dave, for his part, said riding and winning in motocross with her two daughters—other daughter Mikayo also finished seventh in the Power Puff Class—is always an unbelievable feeling.

“It’s a great feeling riding with my daughters. This hobby brought me and my family closer together. A family that rides together, bonds better,” he said.

And Dave’s wife, Shoko, couldn’t agree more.

“I am very much excited and thrilled as we all waited for this to happen for a while now. I am glad my children were able to come across this opportunity to experience and share the love of their father’s sport,” she said.

First, second, and third place received $200, $150, and $100 cash prizes, certificates of recognition, plus the No. 1, 2, and 3 plates that they can use for next season. First place also got a gigantic plastic cart from YCO True Value.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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