Yoga Perera Champion Driver in Mini


Motor Car Racing is one of the most exciting and thrilling sports disciplines in the world. It is a dangerous, challenging sport. Driving a car at a speed of 100-150 miles per hour in a racing track is a matter of life and death. The slightest mistake can be fatal. It is an awful sight to see drivers negotiating a bend at high speed. We have experience in seen racing cars collide, turn turtle, sometimes upside – down and the brave driver with his protective gear-head to toe, jump out of the damaged vehicle with a wide smile. Thanks to all the safety and protective equipment.

There are many outstanding champion drivers in Sri Lanka. Out of them, this particular racing driver, is also a go-kart national champion at one stage. A rare combination indeed.

He is Yoga Perera, a revered personality in Sri Lanka’s corporate world. The greatest triumph for Perera was his passion for motor racing into a life long bond. Having spent hours, with cars of all stages and sizes, his technical knowledge of vehicles was immense and this gave him an added advantage in his loved sport motor-racing and at Autoland, as Chairman and Managing Director.

He studied at Nalanda Vidyalaya, Colombo, one of the leading Buddhist schools. During his school days, he was interested in sports-cricket and athletics. His elder brother, Nalanda cricket captain in early 1970’s university and Hong Kong National Cricketer Nandadeva Perera, had a great influence on Yoga Perera. He was a talented cricketer at junior level and he never wanted to continue cricket like his brother Nanda. He took upto athletics. He established the College High Jump record, and also Public Schools High Jump record.

Yoga Perera’s beloved parents late Mr. and Mrs. A. A. L. Perera, were leading Buddhist and social service workers. They brought up their children in the Buddhist way of life.

When, I questioned Perera, why he liked Motor Racing, he told me, "Sir, my parents used to tell me that even as a little kid I loved to play with toy-cars. When I grew up, motor car racing was something I loved. It was a passion for me. I witnessed thrilling, fascinating motor car races at Katukurunda. It motivated me. After watching the great tricky Khan, Zacky Dean, David Peiris, Priya Munasinghe etc. I dreamt to be a racing driver stated Perera.

He achieved his "Dream" in 1981. "I participated at the Katukurunda Novices Meet. I raced without the knowledge of my parents. But, later they supported me. Unlike the present day, it was not that easy to find spare parts for cars. You have to spend lot money for fuel and tyres. My parents helped me in a big way. I am grateful to them", stated Perera.

The year 1999 and 2000, were memorable years in Yoga Perera’s motor racing career. He won the Mini Championship at Sriperempatu Track in Chennai, India. In the year 1989, Perera, recorded the fastest timing for the day in his famous mini at the Radella Speed Hill Climb competing with Formula cars.

In the year 1989, Perera was placed 3rd in the Gulf Go-Kart meet held in Dubai. He participated many times with the Sri Lanka Go-Kart National Team. Further, he participated in the Malaysian Go-Kart champions on invitation.

He was a young racing driver, determined, disciplined and committed. The year 1981, October 11th was a red-letter day for him. He represented SLMCC driving a Charade, and was placed first. In 1987, he took part in Katukurunda Races with his"Mini" and became the runners-up – placed second. He won the Mahagastota Hill Climb in 1350cc, with his Mini and repeated the victory driving in the Radella Hill Club. In this race, he recorded the fastest timing.

Competing at the Dubai Kart Club races was a great experience for me. In 1989, I competed with the best Go-Kart champions. Out of 33 Karters, mostly Europeans, I was placed sixth" stated Perera.

The year 1990 was a memorable one for him. He became the undisputed champion of Go-Kart Championship. He annexed the championship thrice in 1990 in Go-Kart Championship.

Perera had two accidents in Kandy and Katukurunda. Due to my safety precautious, he escaped without a scratch. He raced in nearly on all tracks in Sri Lanka – Katukurunda, Foxhill, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, Ratmalana, Radella, Pannala, Mahagastota etc. Further, he had the distinction of racing with such great drivers like Priya Munasinghe, Rodney Mason, M. Iqbal, Leslie N. De Silva, Mahen Gammanpila, and Aravinda Premadasa. They are drivers of class and they are fine gentlemen.

He functioned as a board director of Sri Lanka Telecom from 2008 to 2010 end presently he serves as a Board Director of Airport and Aviation Services Limited.

Yoga Perera, was a Past President of Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR) and presently he is a committee member of SLARDAR.

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