Revamp for Caribbean racing championship
The Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) will be fought out over four rounds for the first time in 2015.
Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago will each host a round of the premier regional championship, with Seaboard Marine confirmed as title sponsor for the sixth year.
Just days after a landmark weekend for regional motorsport, during which two-man teams from the four host countries faced one another in the inaugural ROC Caribbean at the Race Of Champions staged at Bushy Park, St Philip on December 13, the Caribbean Motor Racing Association (CMRA) announced next year’s dates.
Ray Rahaman, chairman of the CMRA Management Committee which administers the CMRC’s sporting and technical regulations, said: “We are motivated by the success of the restructured 2014 series, with revised regulations that allowed for the most subscribed and competitive race car and driver participation on our regional racetracks to date.
“Regional motor racing can only become more exciting in 2015 when we stage a four-round series, and with additional emphasis on all the classes that will support Group 4, as we spread the net wider and include more competitors,” Rahaman said.
Seaboard Marine’s vice president, Caribbean Division, Stephen Bell said they were very pleased to continue their sponsorship of the CMRC and were looking forward to working with the Caribbean Motor Racing Association to enhance the appeal of the series and to foster great camaraderie among Caribbean peoples.
The championship will kick off in Jamaica over the weekend of February 28 and March 1, which is earlier than usual. In recent years, CMRC has started in May –– with Trinidad & Tobago hosting round two on June 20 and 21. The third round will be in Barbados on September 12 and 13, with the decider in Guyana, on November 14 and 15.
Not only does the curtain-raiser move to an earlier date, but also away from Dover Raceway to a new venue, the Jamwest Speedway, as part of a huge launch of Jamaica’s 2015 motor sport season, the International SpeedWest Weekend.
Charles Chen, chairman of the Jamaica Race Drivers’ Club (JRDC), the CMRA affiliate in Jamaica, said: “Having missed the chance to host a round of the CMRC in 2014, we’re excited about this new venture. We recognise that the success of the CMRC is important and that it will always drive the best out of us and therefore improve the quality of our sport locally.”
The Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Sports Association (TTASA) returned to the Championship for the first time in eight years as a host club in 2014, after motor sport enthusiasts from across the island joined forces to restore the Wallerfield circuit to a useable condition.
TTASA president Robert Amar noted that as the Caribbean solidified the championship and new infrastructure in the sport became available, they anticipated sponsors would be attracted to support the CMRC, which would soon become the region’s premier motor racing event.
After missing out on hosting the CMRC last year for the first time since 2008, because the redevelopment of Bushy Park was already underway, Barbados staged the opening round of the 2014 series earlier than usual in July. Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc. chairman Sean Maloney explained that the Barbados round had traditionally been in late August or early September, and they were pleased to move back, as this year’s date meant some clashes with other island activities, which impacted on the event.
The only date in the calendar to remain in the same slot is the traditional season finale at the South Dakota Circuit. Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club president John Carpenter stated: “Each year, our motor racing season builds towards the final showdown of the CMRC, which always provides close and spectacular racing. As the winners of both the Country Championship and Group 4 drivers title in 2014, we look forward to welcoming the cream of regional drivers to settle next year’s competition.”
Further details of the sporting and technical regulations of the 2015 CMRC will be announced in the coming weeks.