Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gaby dela Merced - Fast, Furious and Gorgeous

Fast, furious and gorgeous
By Tessa Salazar
From: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Gaby: Then with Big Brother, now with Uncle Sam

WHO DOESN’T RECOGNIZE Gaby dela Merced? Those who faithfully followed “Pinoy Big Brother” would also know that this focused, feisty looker is not only an animal lover but a fierce competitor on the tracks.

Gaby dela Merced—who is racing in the United States until December 2009—is the only Filipina driver to compete in a full season of the Asian Formula 3 series. Her efforts landed her first runner-up in the Philippine National Formula 3 Championship.

She also finished 1st Runner-up in the Promotion Class Championship of AF3; no mean feat for a first timer in International Formula car racing.

Gaby—who just emerged from a three-hour race last week in the West Coast—recently revealed to Inquirer Motoring that she never really left the racing scene. She just joined her first drift event this August in Greenhills, San Juan. Now she races for Spoon Sports in the Western Enduro Series Championship. She placed fourth in Button Willow in May; second in Thunderhill in June, and third in the Infineon Raceway this October.

“We are leading in points, but it’s close. Hopefully we’ll get to bring (the championship) home,” she told Inquirer Motoring.

For her all-around good looks and competitive spirit, Gaby has been chosen to endorse commercial products such as Nike Women, Oakley, Goodyear tires, Puma, Fitness First, Carefree Wash and Creamsilk. Her most recent commercial appearance was for Coke Zero and CrazyKart.

Gaby admits that she still has her first circuit and the only “girl” car she has ever had-a Honda LX. “And I still have the EK9 (a Honda Civic type R), which I used in the PTCC (Philippine Touring Car Championship) races. I have an Integra DC5, which is my everyday car.... He’s a jock,” she says of the car, which is still in its stock or original version.

Gaby’s dream car is the Spyker C8 Laviolette. “It’s the best fusion between aviation and sports car. I totally fell in love with it in the LA Car Convention.”

For her present races in the United States, she competes with a Spoon Acura TSX, with all-Spoon modifications.

“If I’m still breathing, I’ll still be racing,” she quipped when asked what she would be doing in 10 years.

Gaby’s advice for young girls: “Whatever it is that your heart tells you, if that’s what fuels you to get up everyday excited about what’s to come...It’s the best way to live life.

SUBHEAD: Love-Love Tioseco: Win-win on a big bike

LOVE-LOVE TENGSICO Tioseco occupies a very exclusive place in motorsport, a position with only one member, so far. She has been the only female superbiker racer in the country since 2001. Her billboard can be seen at the Bicutan area of the South Luzon Expressway, near the Honda Safety Driving Academy.

And quite appropriately so, for Love-Love, despite her fiercely competitive spirit, is a motorcycle safety advocate, a cause she upholds every time she gets the chance.

She is currently the corporate secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, the vice president of Road Runners Riding Club of Pampanga and the public relations officer of Task Force Lawin Flying Squad Motorcyclists Club founded and headed by Transportation assistant secretary Reynaldo Berroya.

Love-Love is a veteran of many local and international races, having competed in the 2003 national races in Sepang, Malaysia and at the BRC National Grand Prix Super Bike 3 Hour Endurance Race in Batangas in 2002. She says, however, that the biggest rewards of her career has been meeting international-caliber racers and trying out the racing circuits tracks abroad.

Motorsport was weaved into Love-Love’s genes. Her father Bienvenido was an avid motorcyclist, traveling cross-country with his BMW R-50 and R-69-S. Mother Dana was a V-8 muscle car and Vespa scooter racer during her college days. Love-Love reveals, with a laugh, that her parents eloped on a bike three times.

But even then, it took a while before she got her parents’ blessings for her to ride her own big bike.
As a motorbike safety advocate, she urges all recreational and career riders:

* To race on the tracks not on the roads.
* To practice discipline, respect and courtesy.
* To avoid participating in illegal street races and pulling off stunts in public roads.
* To wear proper and complete safety gear.
* To always carry in their persons emergency contact numbers.
* To always be prepared, in mind, body and bike, and conduct regular checkups.
* To travel with a companion as much as possible.
* To always bear in mind that road safety saves lives.

Her advice for beginner bikers: Don’t go riding just to spy on your significant other. And don’t go into the sport just to impress other people.