Bella on the podium

Bella Krabbe-Cañete Makes History at Women’s Drift Challenge in Indonesia

PHOTOS by Bong Boado

Another Filipina has made history. This time in the world of drifting. On her very first attempt, 12-year-old Bella Krabbe-Cañete bagged double podiums at the Women’s Drift Challenge held at the J99 Maxx Drift Circuit in Banten, Indonesia. She is by far, the first and youngest Filipina ever to win an all-women drift event abroad.

Hailing from San Fernando in La Union, Bella first got into racing at the age of 7 with go karts. In just a few years, she was able to achieve some success, securing the 2021 Cadet Expert Championship and Cadet Karter of the Year titles.

Cañete made the switch to cars and took up drifting in 2023 after her short stint in karting. And with barely 4-session’s worth of practice under her belt, Bella decided to enter her-ever first real drifting competition overseas.

Arriving with her parents a week ahead of the event in Indonesia, Bella clocked in 3 days of practice, driving with a right steering wheel car for the first time. The BMW 3 Series E36 was also powered with a naturally-aspirated engine.

Rounds 5 and 6 of the Indonesian Drift Series began on a Saturday with a driver’s briefing done in Bahasa Indonesia, forcing the young Filipina drifter to digest what she can from the diagrams. Thankfully, Bella understood just enough to survive the rest of the weekend.

The Amateur Class were given only an hour to practice and master the figure-of-8 track. There were 6 clipping points in total, where a point was awarded per successful clip plus 5 additional points given for transitions.

Focusing simply on getting a clean run, Bella drove flawlessly and secured a surprise 1st place in Qualifying. This advanced her into the Semi Finals with 3 other female drivers. As the top qualifier, Bella only needed to do a Bye Run and automatically moved into the Finals.

Mirroring her earlier performance, the 12-year-old delivered yet another stellar run with the front wheels on full opposite lock, the rears leaving a trail of smoke. Bella was thereafter awarded an unexpected yet hard-fought 1st place.

Round 6 on Sunday was a near-repeat for Bella who again secured the top spot in Qualifying and Semi Finals. The sudden downpour however, posed a new challenge.
With no prior experience drifting in the wet, this ultimately led Bella to committing an uncanny mistake. Touching a cone deducted 4 points from her tally. Despite the penalty, Bella was fortunate to secure a 1st runner-up spot.

Bella Krabbe-Cañete: “I learned a lot from the weekend and met wonderful people. It was not just about drifting as I also learned about myself too. Thank you to everyone who supported me, my parents, my family, my coaches, and my team. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without God. I know what I need to do now and what I will work on next. I will keep aiming high and continue to work hard to achieve it.”

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