Gregg, Esuf and Walcott win big at Williams International

Gregg, Esuf and Walcott win big at Williams International

Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg, along with local drivers Suleman Esuf and Andre Walcott – all former Champion Drivers - were among the big winners at last weekend’s (August 31/September 1) Williams Industries International Race Meet at Bushy Park Barbados. While former Barbados Karting Association (BKA) Champion Zane Maloney claimed a hat-trick of Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup victories racing a car on his home circuit for the first time, the 17-race schedule organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI) also gave local and regional drivers a chance to shine in a varied and entertaining programme of events.

  Gregg proved unbeatable in the three Williams Solar Group 3 & 4 races, using the braking and nimble handling of his Radical RXC to out-fumble Mark Maloney in his Mazda RX-3. Maloney had snatched Pole Position in the last lap of Saturday Qualifying from Guyana’s Andrew King (RX-7), after Gregg had run off at the Ws Hairpin gravel trap, but he could not hold Gregg at bay on race day. King had mechanical issues, second in the third race his best result.

  In Gp3, Esuf (Honda Civic) won battles with Kenrick Husbands (Toyota Starlet) in the first two races, but finished third in the last race behind Danny Persaud of Guyana (Mazda Miata) and Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Daihatsu Charmant). He might have achieved a hat-trick of Gp3 wins but he visited the Ws gravel trap during the third Crane & Equipment Gps1/2 race, ending a crowd-pleasing battle with Tyrone Martindale’s Honda CRX and resulting in a steadier run in the final Gp3 race; Esuf won Gp2 twice, Martindale inheriting the win in race three.

  Mark Thompson beat Jermin Pope (Civic) to the Gp2/C2 win in the first race before his Toyota Starlet cried enough, with Pope claiming the other wins ahead of Ross Callender (Charmant). In Group 1, Andre Walcott (Suzuki Swift) won Class 1 against little opposition, with Robert Gill (Starlet) and Devan McCartney (CRX) the winners in Gp1/C2, two-one to Gill, with Stephen Elliott (Suzuki Forsa) and multiple Champion Driver Karl Waterman (Starlet) the other podium finishers.

  Sacha Soodeen won all three BimmaCup Challenge races, but had to work hard for each victory, particularly in the final race, where he and Ryan Wood swapped the lead back and forth throughout the eight laps. A couple of laps from home there was chance for Shaun Boxill to pass the battling duo, but an ill-timed stutter out of the inner hairpin lost him momentum. These races also marked the debut of Natya Soodeen, switching horsepower from equestrian events to the race track.

  The Burger King Rally King of the Track events brought a novel format to the day: invited rallyists competed on the 1.28-kilometre National Circuit, using a reverse grid format and the ‘Joker Lap’ over the Rallycross Bridge to level up the performance between the Clubman, Modified and SuperModified cars. In the first six-lapper, Josh Read debuted his revived Starlet, a total rebuild recently been completed after an accident in Sol Rally Barbados 2017. No-one could stay with him in the first race, which he won from Jason Harewood (Starlet) and Jamal Brathwaite (Civic Type-R), but he didn’t really feature in the second, which started in a bizarre way when Read and Justin Campbell (BMW M3) needed to hop out of their cars and push-start Sol RB19 winner Dane Skeete’s Peugeot 306 Maxi. Ryan O Wood (Starlet) led from the start, chased by Brathwaite and Harewood. Shaun Eversley (Swift) and Skeete demoted Harewood one lap from home, then Wood retired on the final lap, Skeete and Eversley both sweeping past Brathwaite, who completed the podium.

  Local racers got their hands on some of the Bangers, which were first seen at the Barbados Festival of Speed in 2015. Two races on a tight course over and under the Rallycross Bridge were hugely entertaining, the Nissan Micra-based Micro Bangers reaching almost impossible angles as they leaned and lurched their way around the figure-of-eight. Darren Matthews beat Guyana’s Danny Persaud and 2015 BPMSI Champion Jermin Pope to the flag in the first race, during which Pope was a hair’s-breadth off rolling his car exiting the bridge, but he mastered his ride so well that he was drifting it in the second race, beating Matthews and Justin Campbell to the flag.

  After a number of incidents caused the programme to run late, the all-arena lighting was switched on for the traditional 10-lap Hilti Handicap to close the programme. Having led for seven laps, scratch starter Spencer Hutchinson was passed by his fellow BimmaCup runners Shaun Boxill and Sacha Soodeen, then both succumbed to pressure to Mark Maloney in his Radical RS3 a lap later, while his brother Stuart and nephew also passed the BimmaCup cars for an all-Maloney podium. At least Boxill had the consolation of finishing fourth in a Radical SR3 Cup race in a BimmaCup car.

  The highlight of the venue’s 2019 circuit racing season was staged with additional backing from Digicel Barbados and the Tourism Development Corporation, along with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Ace H&B Hardware, BRC, Burger King, Crane and Equipment, Rock Hard Cement, SBRC, Structural Systems and Williams Solar.