Weekend racing promises much excitement
Jamaica’s Timothy Stewart and local ace Rhett Watson have been confirmed for this weekend’s action in the Williams Digicel International Race Meet which will feature the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at Bushy Park, St Philip.
It will be round four of the Swift Cup and Stewart and Watson’s participation carries the number of drivers who have participated in the Suzuki Challenge Series since its launch last March to more than 50.
The Swift Cup has attracted entries from Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago over the past 18 months, while the SR3 Cup for the Suzuki-powered Radical sports-racers has additionally seen participation from England, St Vincent & The Grenadines and the United States.
Stewart heads to Barbados to drive the Team Simpson Finance Swift Sport in good spirits, having finished second in last weekend’s Rally of the Kings in his home country in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, co-driven by Stephen Gunter. A multiple karting champion in the past, Stewart has returned to karting this year (three third places in Rotax Senior so far), alongside sprints and rallies, after a period of limited activity in the sport.
He started karting in 2002, finishing second in the Junior Sportsman Championship the following season, winning the Most Improved Driver Award. More titles came as he moved through the classes and he was a hat-trick winner of Abe Ziadie Memorial Trophy (2004 to 2006) for the most points won in the season. He also travelled to race in Europe and the United States, winning the Junior Pre-Final at the 2006 Rotax World Finals in Portugal, with his last major title at home the JKA Shifter Class in 2010.
For Watson, taking over the Team ICBL drive from the absent Kyle Catwell will mark a return to the driving seat of a Suzuki Swift Sport. It was one of the cars used when Watson won the multi-discipline Suzuki Rocks ROC Barbados Challenge, earning the right to represent his country (along with Dane Skeete) at the 2014 Race Of Champions at Bushy Park. While most of his driving has been done on rally stages rather than race circuits – he has won the Barbados Rally Club’s Champion Driver title for the past two years – he is supremely competitive and looking forward to the weekend.
With three rounds run, Team Digicel’s Ryan Wood leads the Swift Cup standings, with three wins in eight races (there were only two at the Barbados Festival of Speed), backed up by a second and two thirds. He has 25 points (equal to one race win) in hand over Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol), who has won twice, with two second places keeping him in touch. The gap back to the Swift Cup’s eternal bridesmaid Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) in third place is another 13 points, so this would be a good weekend for him to finally climb on to the top step of the podium.
Another driver heading for Bushy Park on a high is Guyana’s Calvin Ming, who has been mixing his SR3 Cup programme with the NACAM Formula 4 Championship in Mexico, along with kart and F1600 campaigns in the United States. Images of him winning a round of the F1600 Championship Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park last weekend in a photo finish by 1/1000 of a second have been hugely popular on social media.
Having only been in action for the two races at the Barbados FoS, Ming is playing catch-up in the SR3 Cup, which is being led by Stuart Maloney, who dominated the Easter weekend races, claiming only the second hat-trick of Radical SR3 victories since the series was launched. Although he finished only second and fifth in May, he still enjoys a 27-point lead over Suleman Esuf, in turn just one point ahead of Mark Maloney. Esuf was the only SR3 Cup contender to take advantage of last Sunday’s (August 28) Open Track Day at Bushy Park for some additional testing, so may be the man on form.(PR)
Saturday: 10.40 a.m – practice; 3 p.m. – qualifying
Sunday: 9.20 a.m. – Race 1 (12 laps); 11.40 a.m. – R2 (12 laps); 2.40 p.m. – R3 (12 laps)
Saturday: 11.05 a.m. – practice; 3.20 p.m. – qualifying
Sunday: 9.40 a.m. – Race 1 (8 laps); 12 p.m. – R2 (8 laps); 3 p.m. – R3 (8 laps)