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Home Filipino Achievers Juha Turalba, a Young Asian Champion Racer

Juha Turalba, a Young Asian Champion Racer

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By: Rachanee Munar

Racing has always been one of the more spectacular of world sports out there. It has been the fascination of several Hollywood blockbusters, be it Disney’s “Cars” or Vin Diesel’s “The Fast and the Furious”. With all this hype, when people hear of ‘car-racing’, what immediately comes to mind are the roaring engines, screeching tires, the speed and adrenaline rush, and also the danger that come with it.

But Juha Turalba thinks otherwise. When asked about the tensions on the track, he candidly informs that ‘the heart rate of a racer as he drives at tremendous speed is actually the same as that of a person jogging slowly’. Having been competing in different races all over Asia for more than six years, Juha knows that racing is anything but an adrenaline rush. On the contrary, racing is a very predictable sport. According to him, racers have a certain way of thinking. Unlike the casual driver, a racer does not react to the twists and turns on the road as it comes. Before he races, it is a requirement to already have mastered the whole track, and with that having a pre-planned strategy in mind on how to win. It is a very technical sport that involves the well-roundedness of a person physically, emotional, and intellectually. A racer not only has to be fit, but must also possess a wide knowledge of the motor he is driving: all the reason why Juha’s favourite subject in school is Phyics.

In case you were wondering, Juha is a 16-year old high school student. And a go-kart racer. Juha’s parents named him after the famous World Rally driver Juha Kankkunen, as his dad is an avid fan of motor sports. Before taking up racing, Juha had tried other sports as well: baseball, horseback-riding, even golfing (but he remembers enjoying driving the golf-cart more than hitting the ball!). It was the go-kart track in the Fort that gave him an opportunity to test his passion. At ten years of age, he started racing for fun. It only took less than a year before he was capable enough to join competitions both locally and internationally.  Since then, he has been constantly winning medals in the Asian Karting Open Championship every year, the most notable being in 2008, when he won the championship trophy on the ROK125 Asian Karting Open Championship, and at the same time was named the Gold Wheel International Driver of the Year.

Despite all these achievements on the race track, school remains the higher priority in Juha’s life. When asked how he balances school with his training, Juha says “I do my best in both levels”. The discipline he picked up from racing is also evident in his studies, being an honor student in his class. He also manages to insert other activities in addition to school and training. Just like any typical kid, he enjoys playing video games. He also flies radio-controlled aircrafts in Batangas, scuba diving, and painting. But in all this, he never neglects his time of rest.

Many would expect Juha to become a famous professional racer someday in a world series like the Formula One perhaps. Considering that the F1 series has but twenty-four seats, and countless racers around the world are already vying for it, Juha knows that competition will be tough. When asked about his plans in the future, he mentions he is studying to take up Engineering and Business in college. But he will definitely continue to race; and at his present age, albeit still relatively young, he is now shifting from go-karts to real cars.

Whatever opportunity that comes his way, Juha is sure that he will always bring with him the lessons he learned from racing. Patience is one. When asked about his advice to kids his age who likewise want to achieve their dreams, he says (in his own words), “Be patient! Don’t want it too much; let it come naturally, because if you want it too much, you won’t have the discipline to train, focus...”  Very true. Every great endeavour is always achieved one small step at a time.

Most of all, he credits all his success to his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Toti Turalba  and Jing Turalba, who have been very supportive of his dream and in many ways, have helped shape him to be the exceptional young racer he is.


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