Suzuki ROC Barbados Challenge Launches

Suzuki ROC Barbados Challenge Launches

Two drivers from the Caribbean will enjoy the chance of a lifetime to prove their worth against champions from across the world in the Race Of Champions at Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados on December 13/14. The stellar cast already confirmed includes reigning ROC Champion of Champions, Lotus Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, the 2014 Indy500 winner and 2012 IndyCar Ryan Hunter-Reay and V8 Supercar Champion Jamie Whincup, with more stars to follow in the coming weeks.

The Suzuki ROC Barbados Challenge - Suzuki Rocks! - launched today (October 6) is the quest for the best in the island, to find two drivers to represent Team Barbados in the ROC Nations Cup, the team event staged on the Saturday of Race Of Champions weekend . . . but that is some way off.

Compiled from across the motor sport disciplines run under the umbrella of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), the short list comprises 20 drivers, who have won approaching 100 local and regional Championship titles between them in recent years. The final two will be decided after a rigorous selection process, combining an on-line poll, which opens today on, with on-track challenges against the clock at Bushy Park Circuit. The results of both on-line voting and on-track performance will be taken into consideration in the final decision.

In addition to its inclusion in the ROC Nations Cup, Team Barbados will also contest ROC Caribbean, a head-to-head competition on the same Saturday (December 13) against teams from Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Details of the regional selection process will be confirmed next week.

There will be three winners from ROC Caribbean: one country will be crowned ROC Caribbean Champion, while the fastest driver from Barbados and the fastest from the region will go through to face an all-star cast in the individual competition on Sunday to decide the ROC Champion of Champions for 2014.

The on-track selection process for Team Barbados starts at Bushy Park Circuit during the BMF Club Meet over the weekend of October 18/19. While the details are still being fine-tuned, the first Driver Challenge will be a low-speed, autocross-style event, with drivers at the wheel of identical 1.2-litre Suzuki Swift saloons. There will be no head-to-head racing, but performance will be measured against the clock.

From this first Driver Challenge, a select number of drivers will go through to the second stage, this time contested in a variety of vehicles, details of which will be confirmed in a forthcoming announcement, although the location will again be Bushy Park Circuit. The final selection of Team Barbados will be made and announced after this second event.

BMF President Andrew Mallalieu said: "As an island rich in motor sport history, we're delighted that the Race Of Champions has invited us to showcase some of our best talent, and that of the region, in front of a global audience. Being a part of this great weekend is a further boost to the growing stature of the sport in the Caribbean and I am told that there has been a hugely positive response from the drivers in Barbados, who are excited and honoured by the invitation to join the selection process."

ROC organiser Fredrik Johnsson added: "We are very much looking forward to ROC Caribbean, as we know how competitive the rivalry between the territories has been over the past 50 years. While Saturday's competition will allow only one country bragging rights, I hope that the two drivers who qualify for Sunday's individual Race Of Champions truly enjoy the experience."

Provisional Team Barbados candidates (in alphabetical order)
Neil Armstrong: five-time BRC Class Champion
Jamal Braithwaite: double BRC Class Champion; BRC Autocross Champion
Daryl Clarke: BRC Class Champion
Edward Corbin: CMRC Group 2 Champion 2010; double BARL Group Champion; five-time BRC Class Champion; MCBI Champion Driver
Sammy Cumberbatch: BARL Group Champion; MCBI Champion Driver
Kenrick Husbands: CMRC Group 2 Champion 2011; three-time BARL Group Champion (Overall Champion 2004)
Andrew Jones: double BRC Class Champion
Steve King: three-time BARL Group Champion
Stuart Maloney: CMRC Champion 2008; multiple BKA Champion
Trevor Manning: three-time BRC Class Champion; Rally Barbados winner 2003
Roger Mayers: CMRC Champion 2011; Rally Barbados winner 2005; three-time BKA Champion
Philip Moe: three-time BARL Group Champion
Josh Read: five-time BRC Class Champion (Champion Driver 2007)
Dane Skeete: BRC Class Champion; multiple BKA Champion
Roger Skeete: double BRC Champion Driver; 13-time winner of Rally Barbados
Mark Thompson: CMRC Group 2 Champion 2012; three-time BARL Group Champion (Overall Champion 2013)
Geoffrey Ullyett: BARL Group Champion; BRC Class Champion; MCBI Class Champion; BKA Champion
Karl Waterman: four-time BARL Group Champion (three-time Overall Champion)
Rhett Watson: double BRC Class Champion
Stuart Williams: seven-time BARL Group Champion (Overall Champion 2003); multiple BKA Champion

Vote for your favorite drivers - now!

Key: BARL - Barbados Auto Racing League; BKA - Barbados Karting Association; BRC - Barbados Rally Club; CMRC - Caribbean Motor Racing Championship; MCBI - Motoring Club of Barbados Inc