Challenge series returns Sunday
Suzuki Challenge Series (SCS) points leaders Suleman Esuf and Ryan Wood are ready to push hard at Bushy Park Barbados this Sunday as a packed programme of day and night racing brings the SCS Summer Season to a close.
The eight-hour programme, which starts at 2 p.m., also includes Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc. (BPMSI) Handicap Races on two and four wheels and Dragwarz 3 action from the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD).
Esuf, who is in his debut season of track racing, has made a big impression in the SR3 Cup, carrying the fight to the more experienced racers in the field, lead by Mark, Sean and Stuart Maloney. Since bursting on to the scene with a new qualifying record and debut race win in the first round of the Winter Cup in January, Esuf has started from pole position three times in six rounds – the only driver to claim more than one pole – won two races, set four fastest laps and finished in the top three a further four times.
He leads the SR3 Cup for Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 sports-racers with 112 points, nine ahead of Stuart Maloney, the only man to have won more than one race in the Summer Season, after his hat-trick of victories in round 1 on Easter Monday. David Simpson, who claimed his first win in September, is third with 93 points, one ahead of reigning champion Sean Maloney, who won the second September race. Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey and British racer James Abbott bring the number of race- winners this year to six.
With four races in a day for the first time and a potential maximum of 100 points on offer, Esuf will have his work cut out, especially as he has not raced under floodlights before, but he is prepared for the task.
“This will be the first time for me in night racing and, yes, I am looking forward to the challenge. I believe the motor will work better in the cooler conditions, so hopefully we get a good turn out. My plan for the day is to give it my best and push hard from the get go,” Esuf said.
In the Swift Cup, Team Digicel’s ‘Woody’ is under rather less pressure, despite a very high level of competition in the 11 races run so far this year – five different drivers have already won, with a further seven having placed in the top three. With 193 points, he leads Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol) by 26; Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance, 136pts) and Kenrick Husbands (Team Williams Industries, 96pts) are the only others with a mathematical chance of taking the title. Now in his second season, Read remains the most successful Swift Cup driver not yet to have won; Kyle Catwell (Team ICBL), Husbands and Aaron Parris (Team RBC) having claimed maiden wins this year.
Of Sunday’s final encounter, ‘Woody’ said: “Night racing for me is more challenging, due to the reflection from the floodlights and the brake lights from other competitors, along with seeing the apex of each corner. However, I still enjoy it, because it’s cooler . . . and I like to be challenged. The difference between the day and night racing is knowing what the car will be doing under you; the track temperature is cooler and tyres and brakes don’t heat up as quickly, allowing you to push harder.
“I will be bringing my A game again. My plan for the day is to try and qualify in the top three and to maintain my gap on Jason and Josh. But, whether I win or lose, the aim is to have fun and keep the sport in motorsport. Oh, and this joker ain’t taking the Joker Lap twice for fun again – it will be action from lights out to chequered flag.”