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Manish Goonetilleke

Manish Goonetilleke

Racers Pulse features a Moral Leader, talented and upcoming Champion Manish Goonetilleke. His life is a testimony of overcoming drawbacks and embracing life with full enthusiasm despite the many challenges. He emerged the Champion at the SMSC Nilwala Drag Races recently held in Katukurunda.

Early Life

Manish is a proud product of St. Josephs College, he left school in 1999. Even while he was at school he loved motor mechanics and he was passionate about vehicles. Even though his parents were teachers, his Father was very instrumental in allowing him to choose his passionate career. His aunts and uncles knew his passion and gifted him Car posters. Manish’s passion was to get engaged in some profession related to speed. After a short stint at HSBC, he joined Debug Group in 2003 as an Executive in the transport division. He worked long hours, fixing vehicles and setting up garages.

Maintaining vehicles was the beginning of his passion. During this time he dreamt to drive a Mitsubishi Evo or a Subaru. He started his first ever official racing as a Rally driver with a double cab in Sevangala Speed Rally in 2006.

Corporate Life

Even though he began his career as a humble Executive, he continuously found favour in the eyes of his employer. His boss Moiz Najmudeen-Chairman Debug group, set up a Motor Vehicle Repair Garage in the year 2006 and Manish was appointed to manage the revenue stream. It was a new challenge moving from the Logistics division to the Revenue division, but Manish’s positive attitude made him successful. Manish received his first official vehicle, a Subaru STI as a gift from his boss. Manish steadily worked himself up the corporate ladder and currently holds the position as a Director of Debug.

Heading the Auto Exclusive line, contributed further towards Manish’s thrill of being “Fast and Furious”, as it directly dealt with the selling of automobiles such as Sea-Doo personal water crafts, Sports Boats, and likewise. As a result he too immersed himself into the sport of Jet skiing. Experiencing a thrill and rush like no other, Manish was by now an experienced rider in Jet skiing, taking part in the sport as a hobby since 2004.

Racing Life

He Started Drag racing with the Subaru STI bought by his boss and in the year 2009 he bought his own Subaru and started racing in Katukurunda,Tissamaharama and a few other places. Then he upgraded his vehicle to one suitable enough for the SLGT class. “I was really privileged to meet Chris De Bruin who became my mentor during the time I started drag racing. He is a dear brother and my biggest fan. We built a car together and raced in Kukulegana and achieved good timings.” said Manish.

Manish is different to other racers because his main target is not to win, but to enjoy the race and complete it. With the limitations of the car he manages to push to the maximum, and yet enjoy the drive. His objective is to enjoy the drive by making sure the car is in good condition and of course to complete the race. So whenever he makes it to the podium, it becomes a much welcomed bonus for him. Completion of a race itself is a reward for Manish. In 2013, after the Katukurunda Race the vehicle experienced some breakdowns and until he upgraded his car he decided to take a break from racing and until February 2017 did he resume. Chris and Manish started building a car suitable enough for racing, but failed in their first attempt. However, they never accepted their failures as a final verdict, so they started building another car. The second car they build was a success. Making a Win at the Colombo Super Cross with an older car was indeed encouraging. “I really did enjoy driving with it and It was the first time I managed to race in Pannala and am happy to have completed both races in third place.”

Recent Achievement

“Recently I reached the podium as the winner in the SMSC Nilwala Lions Drag Races held in Katukurunda. My car was the fastest car for the day. Having a relatively old car (an Evo 4) make it to the podium was a great blessing, it was the greatest recent achievement in my life.” He appreciated and acknowledged the partakers of his achievements, the Mechanics, tuners, supporters, his wife, his family members, his biggest fan Chris and his religious beliefs.

Secret to Success

“Be Open and humble to learn from anyone whether young or old. Even though you emerge a Champion you have more to learn. Also I believe all the blessings are received from above”.


On 2nd June 2015, Manish met with an accident with his newly acquired Jetski. Many tests were ordered by the Doctors as Manish entered the emergency room, and it was confirmed that his pelvic bones were completely shattered and yet to the bewilderment of the doctors not one internal organ was damaged. He was in the ICU for many days and the hospital bed for many months. Some Doctors said he might not live and some said he might be paralyzed for life. But the lessons he learned through racing, dealing with hard times and never giving up helped him in dealing with his conditions. Manish stands today as a medical marvel, he recovered tremendously and quickly. His life forever changed. His beliefs in religion were also enriched. He stands as a Moral Leader. He said he won his first ever Championship after the accident and after improving his morals. Manish says he does not regret this accident as more good came out of it than bad. He says at thirty five years of age, this accident has showed him that the next thirty five years should be lived better than to date.

Message to the Youth

“Chris and I wanted to build the fastest car. We failed during the process. But we never gave it up. Hard work and believing in your values and your religion is very important. This needs to go hand in hand. I never won professional racing till recentl. But I never gave up. I cherished my achievement after battling for many years. I worked hard with an older car for many years. The happiness is when you get your achievement after battling it for many years. So my advice for youth is not to run before walking. Believe in your values, enhance your perseverance. Enjoy every moment so you will not regret when you fail. If you fail, start again. You only really fail when you stop trying. Sometimes when you are close to giving up, it is the time that you are about to get a break through. So go through the hardship and build up a never giving up attitude.

Message to the Sponsors

I stand at my consistency and consistency is what the sponsors require. It doesn’t mean that you win consistently, but to be a consistent performer during the race and after the race and in between the timeline before the next race is what the sponsors require and I’m willing to give my time and my vehicle for sponsors branding.

Prophesying a Possible Future

My plan is to get in to an Evo IX, a new car and race the entire racing season in 2018.

We wish Manish all the best in all his future races and endeavors.