Title-fighters Jones and Pope prepare for Bushy Park
Locked in battle for Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc’s (BPMSI) first Champion Driver title, class-leaders Quincy Jones and Jermin Pope are preparing for round three, which features on a 23-race programme at the Williams Industries Digicel International Race Meet next weekend (September 12/13). Fewer than 30 points cover the top five drivers at the half-way stage, with six races to go and a potential 150 points still up for grabs.
Three races for each of the BPMSI Championship classes on two and four wheels are featured alongside the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) and the Suzuki Challenge Series. Once the circuit sessions have come to an end each day, the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD) will take to the 1/8th-mile drag strip and run into darkness to stage round three of Drag Warz 2015.
Jones is among 12 local drivers already confirmed to race in more than one category at the weekend, as they score points in CMRC races as well as the local championship. None will be as busy as Kenrick ‘Snappa’ Husbands and Mark Thompson, however, as they race for BPMSI, CMRC Group 2 and Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup points . . . if either elects to contest the end-of-day Hilti Handicap, that’s a cool 10 races for the day!
Former class Champion Ripley Greene (Toyota Corolla) and Philip Cummins (Nissan Sentra) return to the St Philip facility for the first time since its redevelopment, while two drivers better known for their rallying exploits are among other first-timers: Marc-Lee Bascombe joins the ever-growing bike contingent, contesting Class B on a Yamaha R6, while multiple Barbados Rally Club (BRC) class Champion and former shifter kart racer Brett Clarke makes his car racing debut in his Citroen C2.
The opposition for points-leader Jones (Toyota Starlet) in Recovery Modified Production 1, among the best-subscribed and most competitive classes, includes Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Daihatsu Charmant), another who will also race in CMRC Gp2 next week; Jones has four wins to Forde-Catwell’s two over the March and May race meets, with Nicholas St Hill (Nissan) and Robert Gill (Starlet) the other consistent points-scorers.
In his front-wheel drive Starlet, Pope had to play second fiddle in Ionics Clubman 1 to Andre Walcott’s Suzuki Swift in March, then fought back with a hat-trick of victories in May, demoting Walcott to second in class and third in the Champion Driver title chase. Rookie Darren Lashley (Peugeot 205) has looked solid, too, in this class, while another former Champion Shaun Boxill is again entered in Ben Graham’s venerable Hillman Imp.
In SBRC SuperSport 1, Steve King (Starlet) has been doing all the winning but, with the class not always fully-subscribed – that means a lower scale of points is awarded – plus a dnf in the third race in May, he has slipped back in the overall title chase to fourth, 19 points behind Jones, three ahead of fifth-placed Forde-Catwell. He is still comfortably in charge of the class, however, where the opposition has included the familiar Starlets of Eddie Corbin, Andre Forde and ‘Snappa’.
As winners of the first two races, Stuart Maloney (Peugeot 306 Maxi) and Mark Thompson (Honda Civic) jointly lead the Hilti Handicap Championship. They have a slender three-point advantage over Forde-Catwell, with Lashley one further point adrift.
On two wheels, the man to beat has been Kris Brathwaite, who leads Terrance Ollivierre and Devan McCartney, all aboard Suzuki GSX-R600s. The Championship is attracting the largest two-wheel grids seen for a local race meet at Bushy Park in recent years, with the bikes divided into two classes, Brathwaite leading Class A. Rommel Walton (Honda CRF 450R) and Kevin Wickham (Honda 600) have battled in class B, Walton leading by just three points.
In the Hilti Handicap, former double Champion Ryan Beckles (Yamaha R6) and Class B rider Jason Griffin (Yamaha R6) have claimed the wins, but Walton leads the standings by just one point, one of only two riders to score in both races.