Level race track
Caribbean drivers descending on Bushy Park next month
The 2015 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) is heading for Bushy Park, St Philip next month with one of the most competitive line-ups ever assembled. And, according to one former race winner, the prospect is for a far more level playing field for two- and four-wheel-drive cars.
At a media briefing this morning, 23 regional entries were confirmed for the Williams Industries Digicel International Race Meet on September 12 and 13, which features round three of the CMRC, with drivers and riders travelling from the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
Three races for each of the CMRC categories on two and four wheels are featured on a 23-race programme organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), which will also include the Suzuki Challenge Series SR3 Cup and Swift Cup and the club’s own 2015 Championship. Once the circuit sessions have come to an end each day, the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD) will take to the 1/8th-mile drag strip and run into darkness to stage round three of Drag Warz 2015.
Reigning champion and current points-leader Kristian Jeffrey of Guyana (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) heads the regional entries, facing a potent home team, led by 2011 CMRC champion Roger Mayers, in his first circuit race outing in the Focus since last year’s July International. Eight drivers on the grid have stood on the top step of the CMRC podium, winning more than half the races since Barbados joined the series in 2008.
Mayers has won 11 CMRC races, Jeffrey nine –– both in four-wheel drive cars –– but younger brother Barry believes that Bushy Park will present a far more level playing field for the two-wheel drive machines, such as his Suzuki SX4.
“Last year, the track was very green, it was oily, and it was hard for the two-wheel drive cars to get the power down. And everyone was on a learning curve with the new layout, too –– I knocked 1.5 seconds off my time that first weekend, just getting used to the circuit.
“This year, the circuit is definitely faster. Roger’s pole time last year was around 61 seconds, the Suzuki-powered Radicals are now lapping in the 59s –– they’re two-wheel-drive, so there’s no reason why we couldn’t get down to those times. Yes, they’re lighter than us, but they have less power. I really believe the whole thing could level out,” Barry said.
Joining Jeffrey from Guyana are his father Kevin (Evo IX) –– twice runner-up since 2010 –– Danny Persaud (Mazda Miata), who finished second last year, and Mark Vieira (Mazda RX-8), who has twice ended the season fourth. Kristian Boodoosingh will represent Trinidad & Tobago in the Evo 6.5 in which he won at Wallerfield Raceway in June.
The Mayers brothers will compete alongside Stuart Williams in his Lotus Elise and three members of Team Maloney Racing: Doug, who has finished third in the CMRC three times since 2008, will race his Audi A4 quattro, Mark his recently-refurbished Mazda RX-3, and Sean will make his CMRC debut in his Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Z-Cars Mini.
Points leader Gary Barrett (Honda Civic) will represent the Cayman Islands in CMRC Group 3, with Guyana’s Persaud doing double-duty in his Miata –– he is currently third in the standings, ahead of fellow-countryman Paul Vieira, although Vieira is representing T&T in his former Mazda RX-7, along with Saleem Deen (Civic).
Group 2 championship leader Marc Gill (Civic) is travelling from T&T, with Damien Nesbit (Nissan Sentra B13), who is fifth in the standings, and Jean-Marc Camacho (Civic) making his CMRC Gp2 debut, as is Guyana’s Nazim Gafoor (Mazda Miata).
On two wheels, CMRC Superstock points leader Stephen Vieira (Kawasaki) leads another strong line-up from Guyana, with cousins Elliot (Kawasaki) and Matthew (Triumph), Joel Neblette (Suzuki) and Kevin Persaud (Kawasaki), while Luke De Nobriga (Yamaha) and Nicolas Gonzales (Kawasaki) will represent T&T.
BPMSI director Adrian Mayers said: “This could be anybody’s race . . . pretty much everyone on the CMRC grid has a realistic chance of winning. While the Barbados team is pretty potent, don’t forget Mark Vieira has had valuable seat time here in the Suzuki Challenge Series. And it isn’t just the cars –– our bikers are pumped up and ready to face top regional opposition, and we expect the biggest grid on two wheels for a long time.”