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Yoga Perera - Mini car champion driver and Go-kart champion

Life and times in sports by Premasara Epasinghe

Yoga Perera

Motor Car Racing is one of the most thrilling sports in the world. There are many outstanding champion drivers in Sri Lanka. Out of them, this particular Racing Driver is also a Go-kart National Champion in 1992 and 2000. It was a rare combination. Most of the formula drivers start their career with Karting.

Born on 16th August 1956, he attended Nalanda Vidyalaya, Colombo. During his school days, he took an interest in cricket and athletics. His elder brother, Nanda Perera, was a great influence on Yoga Perera. Tall, pleasant, smart, handsome, charismatic former Nalanda and Hong-Kong National Cricketer Nanda Perera and Yoga grew up together and from their childhood they took a keen interest in sports.

Yoga Perera was a fine Junior cricketer at Nalanda in the 1960's. Further, he was an outstanding athlete who established the college High-Jump Record and also Public school High Jump Record.

Ambition - To become a Racing Driver

"From my childhood, I used to play with toy-cars. I was keen to be a motor-car racing driver someday or other. Motor car racing was something I loved. As a kid, I witnessed the best of races at Katukurunda air-strip. My only dream at that time was to get into the racing track," stated Yoga Perera. He achieved his ambition in 1981 when he participated in the Katukurunda Novices Meet.

"I raced without the knowledge of my parents. Unlike present days it was not that easy to find spares for cars. Mind you, how much you have to spend on fuel and tyres. But, later my parents supported me in all my Racing endeavour.

Yoga's mother Mrs. A. A. L. Perera was a leading social service worker and an achieve Buddhist worker. They were blessed with three sons and a daughter.

The year 1990 and 2000 were memorable years in Yoga Perera's Motor Racing career. He won the Mini Championship at Sriperempatu Track in Madras, Chennai, India in 1995.

In the year 1989, Yoga Perera, recorded the fastest timing for the day in the Mini at Radella Speed Hill Club competing with Formula cars also.

Yoga Perera, in 1989, was placed 3rd in the Gulf Kart Championships held in Dubai. He participated three times with the Sri Lanka National Team. Further, he participated in the Malaysian Kart Championship on an invitation.

Perera was a great trier. His, never say die attitude was amazing. On 11th October 1986, he represented SLMCC club, drove a Charade, and was placed 1st in the Race. In 1987, he took part in Katukurunda Races and with his Mini, he was placed second. In this year, during the month of April, Mahagastota Hill Climb - upto 1350 cc, he won the day with his Mini and repeated the victory driving in the Radella Hill Climb. In this race, he recorded the fastest timing.

Go-Kart Racing Champion

"Speed was something I loved. Added to Motor Car Racing. I tried my hand in Go-kart Racing," stated unassuming Yoga Perera. He represented Dubai Kart Club, competed with some of the best Go-kart champions in 1989, and he was placed 6th in racing his Rotax. He was placed 6th out of 33 karters from Gulf. Most of them were Europeans.

In 1990, he become the undisputed champion of Go-kart Racing in the Taj Hotel Kart championship. He annexed the championship thrice in 1990 in the Taj Hotel Kart championship.

Yoga and his Mini

In April 1990, again, he was at the wheel at the Nuwara Eliya April Road Race open championships. He drove the Mini and was placed 1st in this Race. Further, he maintained his winning spree in the Karudupona Hill Climb too.

From 1986-2000, Yoga Perera was one of the most outstanding racing drivers with his Mini and an outstanding kart driver. He won many Races here and aborad and brought credit and honour to the country. He has won many trophies in his distinguished career.

"I had the big fortune and win almost all the racing tracks in Sri Lanka-Katukurunda, FoxHill, Gajaba, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, Ratmalana, Radella, Mahagastota, Kandy and Pannala.

Two accidents - Not hurt

Yoga Perera had two nasty accidents in Kandy and in Katukurunda.

"My Mini summersaulted a couple of times. I escaped without a scratch, due to safety precautions, said smiling Perera.

In his outstanding and memorable career, he had the distinction of racing with such greats like Priya Munasinghe, M. Iqbal, Leslie N. De Silva. Rodney Mason and Mahes Gammanpila to name a few.

Yoga is married to Chitra. They tied the nuptial knot in 1988. Yoga's wife Chitra is a tower of strength to him. They have two sons Jivanka and Thiran. They are studying at Stafford International school, Colombo 07.



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