Team Barbados will be represented in all four Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) categories for cars when the 2017 season finale runs off this weekend in Guyana.
Reigning group champions Mark Maloney (Gp4/2wd) and Mark Thompson (Gp2) will be joined by former CMRC champion Roger Mayers (Gp4 /4wd) and Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Gp3).
Each targeting back-to-back titles, Maloney and Thompson will arrive at the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club’s (GMR&SC) International Race of Champions leading the standings in their respective groups. In addition to the CMRC content, the weekend programme will include races for local categories, the first ever Radical SR3 races in Guyana, plus drifting exhibitions. Qualifying starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow, with four races from 1 p.m.; Sunday’s 20-race programme is slated to start at 8.20 a.m.
Following round three at Bushy Park in September, Maloney (Mazda RX-3) leads Group 4 (2wd) with 116 points, 25 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy), with Jamaica’s Peter Rae (RX-7) third on 78. Maloney won all three races in Guyana last year to clinch a first title since his opening CMRC campaign in 2008, when he first travelled to the Dover Raceway in Jamaica, winning the final race of the day. Since then, he has missed only three of 31 CMRC race meets, a record no-one can match, while his raucous rotary-engined Mazda RX-3 has developed a huge fan base around the region. In recent weeks, work to cure some technical issues have brought the RX-3 back to peak fitness, so he is expected to be a strong challenger in Guyana.
Thompson has an even more impressive record in his six years contesting Group 2, winning the title three times (2012, 2014 & 2016) and finishing second (to brother Kurt) in 2013. Driving the Honda Civic, Thompson leads Group 2 once again, but faces a tough challenge, with just 11 points spread across the top four drivers.
Thanks to a half-points allocation for a shortened race in round two at Wallerfield in T&T in July, Thompson has 112.5 points, with the T&T trio of Daryl Ali (112pts), Luke Bhola (109) and Bridget Singh (102), all in Honda Civics, snapping at his heels. Having missed this year’s season-opener at Jamwest in Jamaica, however, Thompson has one ace up his sleeve, as all three members of the Trinbago Soca Circuit Racers will have scores to drop, while the Bajan, who won all three races in Guyana last November, can bank all the points he scores.
Mayers (‘De Focus’) is racing at South Dakota for the first time since he clinched the CMRC title there in 2011. While he has scored only once this year – victory in race one at Bushy Park in September earned him 25 points – the former champion still has a mathematical chance of taking the Group 4 (4wd) title, although that would depend on some bad luck for the opposition. He currently lies sixth in the standings, which are led by Guyana’s Andrew King (RX-7) with 72 points, ahead of Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg (Radical RXC) on 68 and T&T’s Cristian Bourne (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) on 40. Equal fourth are Jamaican rivals Doug Gore (Audi TT RS) and David Summerbell Jnr (Evo VIII), who are no longer contesting CMRC 2017.
Forde-Catwell returns to the Guyana circuit for the fourth consecutive year, having scored points in his regular Daihatsu Charmant on each of his previous visits. This year, he will campaign the family’s Nissan 1200 Turbo in Group 3, in which he currently lies equal sixth with fellow countryman Jason Harewood (Toyota Starlet), with 30 points apiece scored at Bushy Park in September.
Racing for T&T, Guyana’s Paul Vieira (RX-7) leads with 189.5 points, ahead of T&T’s Ronald Wortman (Honda Civic) on 157; realistically, the title fight is between these two, with dropped scores guaranteed to play a part, as they have each scored points in all nine races so far.
With a total of 1,216 points, Trinidad & Tobago looks set to win back-to-back Country Championship for Cars titles, but the battle for the places is still on. Barbados, which finished second last year, has 457 points, ahead of Jamaica (330pts) and Guyana (180pts), which will be fielding a strong home team for the final round to boost its total. Barbados is not represented in the final round of the CMRC Superstock Championship, which has already been won for Guyana by America’s Bryce Prince aboard a Yamaha R6.