Full throttle, total control: One-on-one with motorsport champ Jacq Buncio
At her victory party after becoming the overall champion of the Heavyweight B Category at the 2017 Pirelli Philippine Superbike Championship, Jacqueline "Jacq" Buncio, the country's youngest female motorsport prodigy, gave us an opportunity to have a one-on-one interview with her, asking her about the preparations that she did, and the reflections that she have before, during, and after the race.
Congratulations for becoming the overall champion of the Heavyweight B Category at the 2017 Pirelli Philippine Superbike Championship! Share with us how did you prepare for the challenge?
Jacq: It was very hard for me knowing that most of my rivals in the competition were males. Another crucial factor was the bike I used. During the race, I was on a 600cc bike, while others were using a 1000cc or a 1200cc bike. So for me, it was very hard because I knew that someone was faster and bigger than me. However, with the right mindset and as long as I knew I was doing my best, I hoped that something good would happen.
My preparations were normal which included strength training. After leaving school at 5:12PM, going through traffic in Quezon City, and arriving at home around 7:00PM or 8:00PM, I still tried my best to work out because I knew that it was for my own good.
Did you ever encounter worries or have hesitations during the race?
Jacq: It was hard to disregard, especially when you see that your rivals are actually dads and their daughters are already of my age, and their bikes are a lot bigger than mine. There would be lots of things running on your mind like the thoughts “I might lose” or “I might get embarrassed”. But if you would put those thoughts on your mind, those could hinder you from doing your best, and the feeling of failure would not push you to do harder.
But if you would think that you’ll do your best so people would see that you’re working your butt off, they would never say that you’re joining the race just to finish it. Joining the race is easy, but finishing at Top Three or Top Five is an entirely different matter. I can join a race in other countries and finish among Top Ten or Top Fifteen, but making it at Top Five among male rivals is different. At least, I did my best, I did everything that I could do, and I won not simply because they let me slip because I’m a lady.
Were there other things that came to your mind during the race?
Jacq: Especially in my case that I am a student, when I was about to sit on my bike on the race track, it popped into my head that “Oh my God, I have a schoolwork to submit before leaving at 5:00PM!” Of course, when you are on the race track, you should never think of your homework and just focus on what you have to do. It is just you, the bike, the race, and the thing that you should do.
Apart from your older brother Maico Buncio, who is your idol?
Jacq: It would be Valentino Rossi. People would say that my answer is typical. But even during the time when my older brother Maico Buncio was alive, there was already a Valentino Rossi. I got into racing around 2011 or 2012. When Kuya Maico was still alive, I didn’t care too much about racing. But when I myself started watching MotoGP, that was the time when I began to appreciate Rossi.
In spite of the fact that Rossi is the oldest and he easily gets tired, he can still lead the pack and compete among 19 or 20 year old racers, while he himself is already at his 30s. I idolize him because of his strength and passion for racing. If I watch a race and he failed to get a position, it would be okay. I wouldn’t change my idol, because I knew that at least he did his best.
What is your advice to those people who would want to become a motorbike racer like you?
Jacq: If you have a passion, do your best so that people would never say that you simply want to ride a motorbike just for fun. If you really want to do it, even if you don’t have enough resources, you can do it. And to those girls who would really want to be racers, never let the naysayers say “you’re just a girl” or “you are slow”. Prove to them that they are all wrong, because whether you are a man or a woman, all of us have a common denominator and we can do everything that we are capable of. Just follow your dream and do what you want. Do not let anyone become an obstacle to your dream.
I am very thankful that a huge company like TOTAL trusted me its name. When you think of TOTAL Hi-Perf motorcycle engine oil, you think of it as my sponsor. The folks at TOTAL never doubted because I’m a female or I am young. I am thankful that they accepted me. Not everyone gets this kind of opportunity.