Team Barbados scores top at Williams Digicel International

Friday, 7th September 2018

Team Barbados was the top points-scorer in the third round of the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at the Williams Digicel International Race Meet last weekend (September 1/2). More than 20 local drivers contributed to the 527 points scored, moving Barbados from fourth to second in the Country Championship standings, with Mark Maloney and Devan McCartney the round three Champion Drivers in CMRC Group 4 and the new-for-2018 Gp1 respectively.
 With 1,227 points in the provisional standings, Trinidad & Tobago is in a strong position to claim a third straight title, but the battle for the places is still on. Barbados has 677 points, 200 more than at this stage last year, ahead of Jamaica (526pts), Antigua (205pts) and Guyana (196pts), which will field a strong home team for the final round on November 10/11.
 Organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), the 22-race programme also included the Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup’s third round and three Bimma Cup Challenge events, while BPMSI’s 2018 Championship Groups were incorporated in the CMRC races; fans enjoyed a day of glorious sunshine before the last two races, including the Hilti Handicap for Cars, were run under the all-arena lighting.
 The return of Guyana’s Mark Vieira to the CMRC at Bushy Park for the first time since 2014 was much anticipated, and the action did not disappoint, at least in the first Gp4 races. Vieira (Mazda RX-8) claimed pole position in Saturday Qualifying, ahead of a small field led by Orry Hunte, who qualified the Rock Hard Cement/Sign Station/CA Autobody Repairs RX-3 in place of reigning Gp4 (2wd) Champion Mark Maloney, who was feeling unwell. The 2wd and 4wd classes are merged for 2018, with Doug Maloney (Maloney Racing Team Audi A4 quattro) and reigning Gp4 (4wd) Champion Andrew King of Guyana (GT&T RX-7) on the second row, ahead of local drivers Steve King (Percy King Auto Parts/Valvoline/Automotive Art Nissan Skyline) and Justin Maloney (Sol/Bushy Park/Rock Hard Cement Z Cars Mini).
 Mark Maloney was on good form on Sunday morning, but had to start from the back of the grid, having not qualified the RX-3 himself; he was third by lap two, second a lap later, then harassing Vieira at every turn in a battle reminiscent of many these regional veterans had enjoyed in the past. Maloney eventually got past two laps from home, to the delight of the crowd on The Hill. He was only 2.3secs ahead at the flag, however, with Andrew King and Doug Maloney the only other finishers.
 Steve King, who retired on lap one of the first race, looked set to return for race two, but his front left wheel broke loose approaching the grid, while Doug and Justin Maloney were also absent. Vieira and Andrew King moved ahead of Maloney at the start, but Vieira retired at half-distance, then Maloney slowed on the last lap, leaving King to claim victory. Maloney did not reappear for the final, Andrew King retired after three laps, with a lonely Vieira taking the win ahead of Justin Maloney.
 Groups 2 and 3 both hosted strong T&T entries, although Luke Bhola, leading Gp2 and second in Gp3, opted to concentrate on the Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup. A hat-trick of wins earned T&T’s Ronald Wortman (Shell Helix Ultra Honda Civic) the weekend’s Gp3 Champion Driver title, moving him from third to first in the points. Team Barbados was well-represented, Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Hilti/Rezult Auto/Mark’s Auto Spares/CCT Paint/Cheese Autoglass Finish Daihatsu Charmant) second in each race, with Shawn Eversley (SE Performance/Structural Systems Suzuki Swift) and Tyrone Martindale (Precision Electricals/JB Pickling & Painting Services/Martindale Workshop Honda CRX) sharing the final step on the podium.
 Having been fastest in Saturday Practice, four-time Champion Mark Thompson (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/Slam 101.1FM/Automotive Art/Berger Paint/King Ocean Honda Civic) missed Gp2 Qualifying after taking his car home to work on some issues, so started at the back of the grid for race one. He finished third behind the T&T pair of Marc Gill (Mobil 1 Civic) – the only non-Bajan to have won the CMRC Gp2 title – and Justin Sanguinette (Auto Center Civic), whose second place behind Gill was his fourth in a row at Bushy Park, after he chased Thompson home each time on his debut last year. He turned the tables on Gill in the remaining two races, however, his first CMRC Gp2 wins, to claim the day’s Champion Driver trophy, as the two T&T drivers climbed to the head of the standings, with Thompson fourth behind the absent Bhola.
 Group 1, introduced to attract new blood to the CMRC, enabled a number of local racers to score points for their country for the first time. With the biggest grids of the weekend, Gp1 provided class entertainment, wheel-to-wheel, door mirror-to-door mirror. While Devan McCartney (Zephirins Bakery/CA Autobody Repairs Honda CRX) led every lap, to collect the round three Champion Driver Trophy, there was action aplenty behind. Jermin Pope (Good Time Snacks/Uniform Factory Outlet/PEG Farms/Glassesco/Slam 101.1FM Honda Civic) finished second in race one, the only one he contested, the place taken thereafter by Verdon Inniss (Rezult Auto Shop/C&C Trucking/Illusion Graphics Toyota Starlet), while T&T’s Aqeeb Ali (Autonation Honda Civic) claimed a fourth and two third places to move into the lead of the Gp1 standings after a good weekend on four wheels for the twin-island state.
 On two wheels, however, it was all about Guyana, with British brothers Matt and Harry Truelove riding a pair of Yamaha R6s for Team Mohameds Enterprise; both had raced in the island before, at the 2016 Barbados Festival of Speed, so knew the circuit. Matt claimed pole position, by eight-tenths from his brother, with Guyana’s Matthew Vieira (Houston Industrial Services/Cyril’s Taxis Yamaha R6) third and local ace Terrance Ollivierre (Kermits Bar/Xhosa Barbados/Demario’s Cycle World Suzuki GSX-R600) fourth, back in action after dislocating his shoulder in a tumble at Bushy Park in March.
 And the races followed the same pattern: although Harry led for a lap or two here and there, Matt claimed a hat-trick of wins - he did the same at round two in T&T in June - the Champion Rider title for round three and a new Bike lap record for the International Circuit. Last year, Bryce Prince clocked 61.910s on one of the same Guyanese team’s Yamahas, which Truelove reduced twice, initially to 61.788s in race one, then further to 61.542s in race two.

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