Most young guys opt for basketball, football or swimming as their sport, but these brothers took an alternate route—literally. Brothers Milo and Estefano Rivera are just your typical teenagers, but once they get behind the wheel, they turn into men.
Some may have a misconception that racing is just about getting behind the wheel and driving—but it takes a lot of physical and mental strength.
The brothers, especially the older Milo, now a freshman at De La Salle University, have long been fixated on cars. “I would convince my parents to buy me toy cars instead of robots and other boys’ toys,” he says.
But it was when they went with their cousin for a birthday celebration to a go-kart track and raced with each other that Milo wanted to take the sport seriously. “After that thrilling experience, I realized that a race car driver was what I really wanted to become. After months of encouraging my parents, I finally got them to support me,” Milo adds. He then joined his first race in 2008, the National Karting Championships.
His younger brother, Estefano, a high-school senior in Don Bosco Makati, also followed. The brothers appreciate the school’s teaching of mechanical and technical subjects, as it became good training for them, as they help tweak their rented engines for races, collaborating with their mechanics and coaches.
It was during a race in Japan that they realized the importance of being hands-on, when they saw that the pit crews of the Japanese racers were their own family members. “It’s the discipline that you learn, the hard work you have to put into it, and the motivation and dedication that you develop so that, whatever happens, good or bad, your heart and mind will always be there,” Milo says; the trophies and the popularity just came as bonuses.
For Estefano, aside from what his brother said, motor sports taught him a lot about sportsmanship. “Accepting defeat became a lot easier for me to handle,” Estefano says. And it also
showed them how to rise up.
Estefano recalls his most memorable race during the 2011 Asian Karting Championships. His performance was bad that weekend, and he was just praying to finish to the top 10 during the finals. “But because of my determination, and with some help from the rain, I was able to go from 11th to third in the pre-final race and from third to first in the final race,” Estefano says.
The next chapter
From karting, the brothers will move on to a more challenging type of motorsport, which is grand touring, but also plan to introduce the sport to younger kids, to create a pool of grassroots racers, and even start a mechanic training program. They want to share the things they have learned, especially with underprivileged kids.
“I encourage them to join because this sport can teach you a lot of values in life,” Estefano says. “It will be very fun for them, but also it will be a challenge for them to become a successful racing driver. Also they can meet new friends in racing, even from different countries, because of international races.”
Milo further explains that racing is not just your typical sport like basketball or football, as it takes a great amount of dedication and preparation in order to excel. “A lot of people think that racing is just a ‘walk in the park’ sport, where all you have to do is steer the wheel, step on the gas and away you go,” he adds.
“I personally recommend that kids be fond of motorsports, not just because we want to teach them how to drive, race, and win, but because we also want them to apply all their learnings to their everyday lives.”
Racing is not just driver training; it’s life training, as well, to develop the right conduct and attitude in order to become not just a successful racer, but a successful person.
PHOTOS BY LEO JOHN CORDOVA