Rip Niki Lauda
SPORTS EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo (The Freeman) - May 28, 2019 - 12:00am

My first job was with Getty Oil, a petroleum company owned by then the richest man in America, Jean Paul Getty.  Since we were in the oil business, one of my functions was to promote our Veedol Racing Oil. So, I was therefore encouraged to venture into car racing. 

In fact, I still have the scars from first degree burns suffered during a car rally.  We were the first competitors to race in the newly-built reclamation area in 1970. I was with the Bacolod Racing Club and eventually joined the Toyota Team.

One of our rivals was the late Arthur Tuason who was my classmate at La Salle Bacolod. Art was team captain of the Ford Racing Club and was then driving the Ford Escort while we were competing in our Corollas. 

Then in the early Eighties, I finally listened to my mother who nagged me no end to shift to other sports as car racing is too dangerous.  I shifted to footraces using my shoes as my car.  Just the other day, legendary Formula One racer Niki Lauda of Austria died at age 70. 

Lauda won the Formula One drivers world championship three times in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 with McLaren. Lauda was instrumental for the rise of five-time world drivers champion Lewis Hamilton.  In 1976 Lauda suffered burns on his face and body when his racing car burst into flames in the Nuerburgring race in Germany. Lauda was burned badly that he was given the last rites but miraculously, he survived and raced again after two months, placing fourth in Monza.

Rip Susan Papa

The swimming community lost another icon recently with the demise of 1974 Iran Asian Games medalist Susan Papa.  The 64-year old swimmer won a bronze medal in the 4x100 medley relay in Iran. Papa became a national athlete at age 11 and has become a fixture in many national teams. She was a top honcho of the Philippine Swimming League.  Rest in peace Susan.

Walang sisihan

During the winner-take-all game between the Ateneo Lady Eagles and the surprise finalist UST Tigresses, I found myself rooting for Ateneo. My breakfast buddy Ted Cavan told me  that I should be supporting UST since I’m from La Salle and Sisi Rondina is from Cebu. “Ari nalang ko sa Ateneo kay daghang gwapa” I told Ted.  Of course, I’m referring to Kat Tolentino and another Cebuana Deana Wong. But in fairness to Sisi, she was really terrific but just couldn’t do it alone.  Sisi was named MVP this season, an accolade she really deserves. Congratulations to Ateneo.  As I write this column, Sisi and another Bisaya Bernadeth Pons are currently in Boracay for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open. Sisi and Pons defeated Shinako Tahaka and Mijuki Matsumura to barge into the round of 12.  In the quarterfinals however, Sisi and Pons bowed to Japan’s Sakurako Fuji and MinokiKumada to finish fifth anew.  Sisi and Dzi Gervacio wound up fifth last year.

Simmons and Jenner

A source from Entertainment Tonight said that Philadelphia Sixers star Ben Simmons and model Kendall Jenner daughter of Bruce, este... Caitlyn Jenner have separated.  Although they tried to deny their relationship, action speaks louder than words.  Kendall always watches Simmons during the Sixers games.

Did you know?

JIM FIXX author of the Complete Book of Running which sold millions of copies, suffered to heart attack at age 52 while on a run in Vermont. An autopsy revealed he had serious blockages in all three coronary arteries.  Fixx’s father died before the age of fifty, also of heart problems.

RYAN SHAY collapsed during the Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City in 2007. A structural defect known as heart scarring apparently led to his death at age 28.

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