Fight on for racing record

Call it the rumble in September.

The two fastest men in Barbados are set for a classic showdown when they go head-to-head during the Digicel Williams Seaboard Marine International Race Meet at Bushy Park on September 1 and 2.

While both Roger Mayers and Stuart Williams will be representing their country in round two of the 2012 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC), there is the small matter of the outright lap record to deal with.

At the recent media briefing hosted by the Barbados Auto Racing League (BARL) and its title sponsors at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, reigning CMRC Champion Mayers made it clear that regaining the lap record he held for five years was his top priority: “I’m aiming to get the lap record back, even if I don’t win any races.”Mayers (Ford Focus) set the mark of 40.996 seconds in the third race of BARL’s June 2007 fixture, eclipsing the 32-year-old record of 42.6s, which was set by Bizzy Williams – Stuart’s father – in a single-seater Brabham BT28 in 1975, shortly before Bushy Park’s first chapter ended during a worldwide fuel crisis.

Of losing it to Williams, Mayers noted: “I’d been a bit complacent. No-one was getting near, but then Stuart took it away from me . . . and by quite a lot. But I haven’t been sleeping. Stuart has really lit the fire. He knows how difficult it is finding the improvements at those speeds, and a tenth is a lot. Getting from 43 to 42 seconds is quite easy, and 42 to 41 isn’t too bad. But getting into the 40s is real tough.”

The lap record reverted to the Williams family on Easter Monday this year, when Stuart clocked 40.866s in the day’s first Group 4 race in the Williams Equipment/Alpen Bars Lotus Elise. Graciously reminding everyone that Mayers was still the four-wheel-drive lap record holder, Williams added: “I know he has a target on me, so I will be putting in every effort. Even though it is so difficult for anyone to come and race in light of the current economic environment, I believe we’re going to see some very stiff competition, as a number of competitors have been improving their cars.”

Their thoughts were echoed by the event’s title sponsors. Digicel’s Alex Tasker said: “We are proud to be associated with what promises to be a thrilling day at Bushy Park; tell all your friends to be there.”

For Williams Industries, Bizzy said: “This venue’s amphitheatre offers the spectator an experience unique in the Caribbean, and we are proud to sponsor the Digicel Williams Seaboard Marine International Race Meet at this special venue.”

Speaking on behalf of Seaboard Marine, Aswad Bannister added: “We are pleased to align ourselves with this International event, and I trust that everyone will hold off their rain dances until after September 2.”

Caribbean Airlines’ Veena Rattan-King also expressed her company’s pleasure at being involved in the event.The race programme involves 25 races with a total of 208 racing laps.

Race committee chairman Kurt Seabra noted that a major problem last year was their late start. He added the plan for this year was that the major CMRC races would run as close to the scheduled times as possible, even if local races had to be moved around to make that happen. (PR)

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