Records tumbled at Bushy Park, St Philip over the weekend as the island played host to the third round of the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at the Williams Industries International Race Meet.
Team Barbados was the top points-scorer of the weekend, moving from third to second in the country standings, with reigning champions Mark Maloney and Mark Thompson now the respective leaders of the Group 4 (two-wheel-drive) and Group 2 standings for 2017.
During the first of three Suzuki Challenge Series SR3 Cup races, Maloney established a new Outright Lap Record at 58.113 seconds (77.37mph/124.52kmh), while Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey reduced the SR3 Cup Qualifying Record to 58.318s on Saturday. In the CMRC, Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg reduced the Qualifying Record to 59.289s, Roger Mayers sliced nearly two seconds off his brother Barry’s previous mark with a new Race Record of 59.530s, while Guyana’s Bryce Prince lowered the Superstock mark to 61.910s.
With a total of 1,275 points, Trinidad & Tobago now looks set to win back-to-back titles, but the battle for the places is still on. Barbados now has 457 points, ahead of Jamaica (330pts) and Guyana (181pts), which can be expected to field a strong home team for the final round at South Dakota on November 11 and 12.
Organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc. (BPMSI), the weekend’s 25-race programme also included the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup, the BPMSI’s 2017 Club Championship and two Rally Car Handicap Challenge events. In stark contrast to last year’s frequent showers, fans were bathed in glorious sunshine while enjoying a total of 200 racing laps – a new record for one day at the St Philip facility – with Hilti Handicap races for cars and bikes rounding off the programme.
Saturday afternoon qualifying set the tone for the weekend, with the CMRC Gp4 session a real thriller. On the Bushy Park debut of his Radical RXC, Gregg was targeting a new lap record and looked set for pole position with a stunning time of 59.437s. Pole-sitter in 2014 and 2015, Roger Mayers (Focus) answered back, however, clocking 59.354s, then Gregg returned less than two minutes before the chequered flag. He timed his reappearance to perfection, clocking 59.289s on his final lap, leaving Mayers no chance to respond. Brother Barry Mayers was third quickest in the M & M Racing Suzuki SX4, leading the two-wheel-drive runners with an impressive 60.303s.
Roger got the jump at the start of the first race and was never headed, winning by 2.460s; both were lapping in the 59s by the end of the race, but it was Mayers (59.530s) who claimed the new lap record, just six-hundredths quicker than Gregg. Mayers was not seen for the rest of the day after the team heard an ominous noise from the engine, then Gregg retired on lap three while leading the second race and was also not seen again, failing oil pressure the possible cause.
Barry Mayers hustled the SX4 round to claim three largely unchallenged two-wheel-drive victories, while two seconds and a fourth were sufficient to propel Mark Maloney (Mazda RX-3) into the lead of the 2wd standings in the absence of early leader, T&T’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy).
Things did not go to plan for Barbados in CMRC Gp3, in which T&T’s Paul Vieira (Mazda RX-7) won all three races to extend his points lead. After claiming pole on his debut in the ex-Jerry Leach Honda Civic, Suleman Esuf did not start on Sunday after the engine let go, while former Gp2 champion Kurt Thompson (SDRR Civic) suffered a range of issues, completing only three racing laps all day.
However, Sammy Cumberbatch (BMW M3), Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Nissan 1200), Jason Harewood (Toyota Starlet) and Kyle King (Starlet) all collected valuable country points.
Three-time champion Mark Thompson (Honda Civic) added three more wins to his earlier two in Trinidad in July to assume the lead of the Gp2 standings, albeit by just half a point from T&T’s Daryl Ali (Honda Civic). While Forde-Catwell finished second three times, he was not eligible for Gp3 points and the strong team of T&T Civics driven by Ali, Luke Bhola, Justin Sanguinette – very impressive on his Bushy Park debut – and Bridget Singh packed the places.
Former champion Kenrick Husbands (Toyota Starlet) retired early in race one, not to be seen again, but Adrian Bailey (Peugeot 205) and Jerry Leach (SRG Engineering 205) each collected points.
Reigning MotoAmerica Superstock 600 champion Bryce Prince, riding a Yamaha R6 for Team Mohameds Enterprise, signalled his intentions in qualifying, with a pole time almost 3secs better than Guyanese team-mate Kevin Graham (R6), with Terrance ‘Repsol’ Ollivierre (Suzuki GSX-R600) the best of the local riders in third place, another six-tenths back . . . and that was how they finished in Sunday’s races. Prince has now achieved the remarkable feat of nine back-to-back wins to add to the three he claimed last year in the CMRC finale in Guyana.
After team-mate Rossi Joseph flew home following a serious tumble on Friday, T&T’s Warren Luke De Nobriga (R6) and Nicholas Gonzales (Kawasaki ZX-6R) finished fourth and fifth in all three races, while local rider Jason Maloney (R6) finished sixth in race one after Shirley Scantlebury (GSX-R600) tipped off. Scantlebury recovered to claim the other two sixth-place finishes.