Drivers in the Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup will face a new challenge this Saturday (July 7), when they race for the first time on the recently unveiled 1.28-kilometre/0.79-mile national circuit at Bushy Park during the night.
The second round of the regional series follows just two weeks after the season-opener at the Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway in Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), where Stuart Maloney of Barbados and local teenage rising star Isa Deen shared the race wins.
Maloney is the early points leader, his two victories and a third place giving him a total of 65 points, while Deen and Mark Maloney are tied on 51, the 15-year-old T&T driver placed second in the standings by virtue of his race win, compared with Maloney’s best result of second (twice) in the opening round. Suleman Esuf is fourth with 36, ahead of Sean Maloney (25) and Guyana’s Mark Vieira (10).
While the national circuit closely follows the footprint of the original 1970s layout, albeit a few metres shorter, the new link is tighter, so will not flow in quite the same way, giving drivers food for thought. After the exit of Shak-Shak, the track swings north, leading into the Dipper and Bullet, the new section based on a short link created for Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2014.
Bushy Park’s chief instructor Orry Hunte has clocked up hundreds of miles in the Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS. After a few exploratory laps of the new layout last week, the multiple Barbados Karting Association (BKA) champion said: “The new link adds a new interesting challenge to the lap, with the right-hander after Shak Shak tightening up to lead over a slight brow into the Dipper. Getting the right combination of line and corner speed for the tightening right-hander will be vital, as it can be very easily over-driven.”
The final outright lap record for old Bushy Park, set in April 2012 by Stuart Williams in his Lotus Elise, was 40.866s (114.480kmh/71.135mph), which improved on the mark set five years earlier by Roger Mayers in his CMRC title-winning Ford Focus (40.996s, 114.117kmh/70.909mph), although Mayers retains the four-wheel-drive record. While the Radicals did not race on the previous circuit – so direct comparison is not possible – it is anticipated that the national circuit lap times will be very similar.
Saturday’s three 15-lap SR3 Cup races will run alongside the second round of Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc.’s (BPMSI) 2018 Championship. The programme will run from day into night, with the first practice session scheduled for 4.15 p.m. and the final race of the day, the traditional Hilti Handicap, slated for 9.30 p.m.
Deen’s victory in Trinidad brought the number of race-winners since the SR3 Cup was launched in 2015 to 11 from 64 races, nine of the drivers from the region. Barbados, where the series was created, has a strong record, with the Maloney brothers having amassed a total of 38 wins between them, with Esuf (12) and David Simpson (one) adding to the total. Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey has won six times, with fellow-countrymen Calvin Ming and Vieira twice each.
Run to the rules that have applied since 2015, the series only caters for the Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS and not for the Radicals of different specifications now being raced in the region by drivers such as Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg and David Summerbell Jnr. Round three will also be hosted by BPMSI, returning to the International Circuit at the CMRC round in September, while round four will be at the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club’s (GMR&SC) traditional CMRC finale at South Dakota in November.