They went; they drove; they conquered!
Mark Maloney and Mark Thompson clinched back-to-back Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) titles on Sunday in the final round of the regional series at South Dakota in Guyana.
With one race win and a second-place finish each, they are respectively the 2017 Group 4 (2wd) and Group 2 Champions, Thompson bringing his total of CMRC championship crowns to four.
Despite their best efforts against the host nation on Sunday, Team Barbados slipped behind Guyana by just three points to finish third in the Country Championship title chase. Although shipping delays meant some of the Trinbago Soca Circuit Racers missed the weekend action, Trinidad & Tobago have led the standings since all year and a second consecutive Country title was rarely in doubt.
Neither of Maloney’s two closest challengers – T&T’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy) and Jamaica’s Peter Rae (Mazda RX-7) – raced on Sunday but the Rock Hard Cement/Sign Station RX-3 still faced strong opposition from a long-time sparring partner, the RX-8 of Guyana’s Mark Vieira. While Maloney got the best of Vieira in the opening race, he failed to finish the second outing when his engine kill switched developed a mind of its own, then finished second in race three. While Vieira was the highest points-scorer on the day, Maloney claimed the 2017 title.
Former CMRC Champion Roger Mayers (‘De Focus’) was racing at South Dakota for the first time since he clinched the title there in 2011. He improved on the circuit lap record in Saturday qualifying, but was eclipsed minutes after by hometown ace Kristian Jeffrey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX); the two-time CMRC Champion then set a new CMRC record of 33.957s in Sunday’s race two.
Pole-sitter Jeffrey got the jump on Mayers at the start, the Gp4/4wd cars running with the Gp4/2wd field, and the two cars were rarely more than a few inches apart. Contact at the Esses on the second lap, however, resulted in both retiring, Mayers not seen again, while Jeffrey went on to win the other two races. As he had not been seen in the CMRC earlier in the year, however, the title went to fellow-countryman Andrew King (RX-7) in the absence of his closest challenger, Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg (Radical RXC).
In Gp2, Thompson’s target of a fourth title looked set to be less challenging, in the absence of the T&T drivers who were close behind in the standings; he qualified the Automotive Art/NKM Clothing/Bio-Beauty Day Spa/Glassesco/Slam 101.1FM Honda Civic third in the Group, behind local drivers Shairaz Roshandin and Chet Singh, both also in Civics and regular CMRC Gp2 contenders in recent years.
While Thompson won the opening encounter from Roshandin, he was elbowed out of race two, failing to score, then came back to finish second to Roshandin in the day’s final race. Just as for Maloney, while Roshandin was the highest points-scorer for the meet, Thompson went home with the CMRC title and his 29th CMRC race win.
The final member of Team Barbados was Tremaine Forde-Catwell, racing at South for the Dakota fourth consecutive year, but for the first time in the family’s Nissan 1200 Turbo in Gp3. Having scored points in his regular Daihatsu Charmant on each of his previous visits, hopes were high for a good performance, and he delivered: fifth-, fourth- and third-place finishes made him the highest points-scorer behind local driver Vishok Persaud (Lotus Elise), who won all three races, and elevated him to place in Gp3 at year-end, behind T&T duo Paul Vieira (RX-7) and Ronald Wortman (Civic) – both were absent on Sunday – and hat-trick winner Persaud. (BPCI)
Seaboard Marine CMRC 2017 – provisional final positions:
Group 4 (4wd): 1st Andrew King (GUY – Mazda RX-7), 123 points; 2nd Kyle Gregg (JAM – Radical RXC), 68pts; 3rd Kristian Jeffrey (GUY – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 50pts; 4th Cristian Bourne (T&T – Evo VIII), 40pts; equal 5th Doug Gore (JAM – Audi TT RS), Kevin Jeffrey (GUY – Evo IX) & David Summerbell Jnr (JAM – Evo VIII), 33pts; etc
Gp4 (2wd): 1st Mark Maloney (BAR – RX-3), 179pts; 2nd Franklyn Boodram (T&T – Renault Megane Trophy), 91pts; 3rd Peter Rae (JAM – RX-7), 78pts; 4th Barry Mayers (BAR – Suzuki SX-4), 75pts; 5th Mark Vieira (GUY – RX-8), 68pts; 6th Rameez Mohamed (GUY – Toyota Starlet), 39pts; etc
Gp3: 1st Paul Vieira (T&T – RX-7), 189.5pts; 2nd Ronald Wortman (T&T – Civic), 157pts; 3rd Vishok Persaud (GUY – Lotus Elise), 75pts; 4th Tremaine Forde-Catwell (BAR – Nissan 1200T), 67pts; 5th Rameez Mohamed (GUY – Starlet), 66pts; 6th Gary Barrett (CAY – Civic), 65pts; etc
Gp2: 1st Mark Thompson (BAR – Civic), 155.5pts; 2nd Daryl Ali (T&T – Civic), 121pts; 3rd Luke Bhola (T&T – Civic), 109pts; 4th Bridget Singh (T&T – Civic), 106pts; 5th Justin Sanguinette (T&T – Civic), 73pts; 6th Shairaz Roshandin (GUY – Civic), 68pts; etc
Superstock: 1st Bryce Prince (GUY – Yamaha R6), 225pts; 2nd Warren de Nobriga (T&T – Yamaha R6), 120pts; 3rd Nicholas Gonzales (T&T – Kawasaki ZX-6R), 106pts; 4th Jason Aguilar (GUY – Yamaha R6), 60pts; 5th Rossi Joseph (T&T – Kawasaki ZX-6R), 55pts; 6th Kevin Graham (GUY – Yamaha R6), 54pts; etc
Country Championship for Cars: 1st Trinidad & Tobago, 1278pts; 2nd Guyana, 583pts; 3rd Barbados, 580pts; 4th Jamaica, 330pts; 5th Cayman Islands, 65pts
Country Championship for Bikes: 1st Guyana, 533pts; 2nd Trinidad & Tobago, 311pts; 3rd Jamaica, 116pts; 3rd Barbados, 99pts