Maloney leads Bajans’ challenge
Team Barbados returned home from last Sunday’s second round of the 2016 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship with a 100 per cent finishing record in all classes at the Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway in Trinidad & Tobago.
Mark Maloney, who now leads the Group 4 two-wheel-drive championship, was the group’s champion driver on the day, while Steve King, who claimed his first CMRC victory, shared the Gp3 champion driver honours with Paul Vieira.
Attention now turns to preparations for round three of the CMRC, which will headline Bushy Park Motor Sport Inc’s (BPMSI) action-packed International Race Meet at the St Philip facility over the weekend of September 3 and 4.
The Digicel/Maloney Racing Team Mazda RX-3 ran faultlessly all weekend. Maloney said: “A lot of time has been spent on making it more reliable and it is now faster than ever before and handling better than ever before”, words backed up by his qualifying performance. He was comfortably the fastest two-wheel-drive, by more than one second, with a time of 40.125s; more than that, he was right on the heels of the top four-wheel-drive cars – lap record holder Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) was on pole (39.047s), with Jamaica’s Doug Gore (Audi TT-R DTM) clocking 39.830s.
Although there are now separate points tables – and champion driver titles – for two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive Group 4, the two classes ran together at Wallerfield, Maloney just seven-tenths behind Gore at the chequered flag after the first 12-lap race. But it was the two-wheel-drive battle on which Maloney needed to focus – with a hat-trick of comfortable victories, finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of his closest rivals, he is the new Gp4 2wd points leader.
T&T’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy) was second in the first two races, then third in the final outing behind Jamaica’s Peter Rae (Mazda RX-7), who had led the points before the weekend. Adding victory in the final race at Jamwest in May, Maloney now has four straight wins to his credit, and 118 points; Rae is second (108) and Boodram third (102) promising a close battle ‘at home’ for Maloney in September.
In Group 3, Steve King qualified the Toyota Starlet fourth, with three T&T drivers ahead – David Lyons (Suzuki Swift) on pole, reigning champion Paul Vieira (Mazda RX-7) and Ronald Wortman (Honda Civic). King finished fifth in race one, equalling his best overseas CMRC result (Guyana 2014), then claimed his first podium in race two, before crowning a successful day with his first win.
King’s strong performance netted him 50 points, slotting him straight in to fourth place in the Gp3 standings, behind the only three drivers who have scored at both venues – Vieira, who has 125, Guyana’s Danny Persaud (Mazda Miata) on 66 and Jamaica’s Alan Chen (Starlet), who has scored 63. With dropped scores to be taken into account at year-end, there is still a long way to go.
Twice a CMRC champion, Mark Thompson (Honda Civic) had three top five finishes in the fiercely-competitive Group 2. T&T’s Mark Williams, in the ex-Kyle Gregg Civic, claimed a hat-trick of wins, chased home each time by the Civics of Guyana’s Shan Seejattan and T&T’s Luke Bhola, who has assumed the Gp2 lead from Jamaica’s Sebastian Rae, who did not race. With two fourths and a fifth to his credit, Thompson joins the standings in seventh place.
On two wheels, Brook Miller piloted the Suzuki GSX-R600 to three top seven finishes in the CMRC Superstock races. With 20 riders having scored points so far, Miller’s 26 slot him into 10th place, Guyana’s Stephen and Matthew Vieira are leading the way aboard Kawasaki and Triumph machines, with 122 and 105 points respectively.