Barbadian Stuart Maloney has won the 2018 Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup. This is a title success for the only driver to have contested all 73 SR3 Cup races since March 2014.
Despite finishing only one of last Sunday’s three races at South Dakota in Guyana, he had a sufficient advantage to hold off his brother Mark and Trinidad & Tobago teenager Isa Deen in the three-way showdown to become the first regional champion.
The race wins were shared by Guyana’s Calvin Ming, racing a car for the first time at his home circuit – he is a three-time Shifter Kart champion there – and Kristian Jeffrey, back home after his second season in the UK-based Radical Challenge Championship, in which he finished fourth this year. Two victories raised Ming’s total of SR3 Cup wins to four and won him US$750 as highest SR3 Cup points-scorer of the weekend from Suzuki Guyana, which had also provided the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC) with a Suzuki Baleno as a pace car for all of the weekend’s race programme.
In Saturday qualifying, Mark Maloney upped to eight his record number of SR3 Cup pole positions with a stunning 32.978-second lap of the 0.78-mile circuit, beating Ming by just 8/1000ths of a second. Although he did not know it at the time, this would be the fastest SR3 lap of the weekend, a new outright fastest lap for South Dakota and one which would earn Maloney a US$250 prize from Suzuki Guyana. All nine cars were within a second of the pole time. Points leader Stuart Maloney lined up on row two alongside Jeffrey, with Guyana’s Mark Vieira on row three with Sean Maloney. The T&T trio of Deen, Kristian Boodoosingh and Luke Bhola completed the grid.
Ming made a commanding start from the outside of the front row in Sunday’s first race – postponed from Saturday afternoon because of fading light – to lead throughout. Pole-sitter Maloney held second place until four laps from home, when Jeffrey eased past, these three covered by just 5.5secs at the chequered flag. A paddle-shift problem left points-leader Stuart Maloney a non-finisher, his series lead cut from 13 to nine points over Deen, who finished only eighth, with brother Mark now only 12 points off the lead, compared with 27 earlier at the start of the weekend. Close, indeed.
In the reverse-grid second race, Bhola, Boodoosingh and Deen held the podium places early on, Bhola losing the lead just before half-distance to Ming, who had climbed through the field, followed by his compatriot Jeffrey. As these two battled for supremacy, an unusual outbreak of attrition occurred. Stuart Maloney retired again, his rear air jack coming loose causing a violent spin off the circuit exiting the Gooseneck. His brother Mark suffered a battery-charging problem. And Vieira and Deen collided. Jeffrey found his way past on the final lap, leading Ming home by a quarter-second, with Boodoosingh completing the podium. Bhola’s fourth place was his best SR3 Cup result to date, with Sean Maloney the only other finisher.
With the day’s final grid based on points scored, Ming and Jeffrey started on the front row, equal on 43 points, but with Ming on pole, thanks to his better qualifying result. Boodoosingh and Sean Maloney were on row two, Bhola and Mark Maloney on row three, the grid completed by Vieira, Deen and Stuart Maloney, who had so far failed to score. There was still all to play for, as the top three had all retired from the second race.
Ming and Jeffrey ran in first and second places throughout, Boodoosingh losing third place to a fast-starting Mark Maloney on lap three. Had his brother Stuart remained at the back of the field, that would have been sufficient for Mark to claim his first SR3 Cup title, but it was not to be. Stuart finished fifth, with Deen ninth, so the title went to Stuart, by seven points from Mark, with Deen a further 10 behind, a worthy contest between two SR3 Cup veterans and a youngster who has proved, along with Boodoosingh, that those veterans are not unbeatable.
Run to the rules that have applied in Barbados since 2015, the regional series only caters for the Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS and not for Radicals of different specifications being raced in the region by drivers such as Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg and David Summerbell Jnr.