Caterham Caribbean Cup titles settled over 500 laps

Caterham Caribbean Cup titles settled over 500 laps

After more than 500 racing laps in 15 Sprint and Enduro events at Bushy Park Barbados last weekend (November 25/26), British sports car manufacturer Caterham marked the end of its 50th Anniversary year by naming the Champions in three categories of the first Caterham Caribbean Cup (CCC23). James Emson and son Tom won the Caterham Seven 270R title, Tom Cockerill and Taylor O’Flanagan prevailed in 310R, while Barry Benham and Stephen Lyall were the rather surprised winners of 420R.
Supported by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), Bushy Park Motorsports Inc (BPMSI) hosted more than 40 race car drivers from the UK on the 2.01-kilometre International Circuit, including eight past or present Caterham Champions. CCC23 was enabled by the biggest-ever single shipment of racing cars from the UK to Barbados, 27 in all, which arrived on a Geest Line freighter in five specially adapted containers.
More than 1300 drivers have started their racing careers through the Caterham Academy, the first of five steps on the Caterham Motorsport ladder, and six former Academy Champions were in action this weekend, including Cockerill and O’Flanagan, who pooled their talents to win the Seven 310R title. After 20-minute Sprint races for the three categories, each day ended with two one-hour Enduros – under floodlights on Saturday evening - in which around half of the cars were shared by two drivers.
Reflecting on the weekend, Caterham Motorsport Director Simon Lambert said: “It’s been an incredible weekend here in the Caribbean. The drivers have raved about how fantastic the circuit is for a Caterham and the racing has been clean, competitive and entertaining. The Joker Lap added a new tactical aspect to our racing, while Saturday’s Floodlit Enduro stands out as the highlight. Feedback has been nothing but positive with calls for a repeat next year. I cannot thank the team at Bushy Park enough for their help in making this possible and I look forward to being joined by more series from the UK in the future.”
In 270R, 2023 Champion Freddie Chiddicks and runner-up Charlie Lower, who had won 18 of the 21 races at UK circuits between them, looked set to be the front runners. But it was clear from early that James Emson and son Tom, who was making his Caterham debut, might shake things up. With each category split into two Groups to allow for the shared cars, Lower topped Qualifying in the first, just 0.2secs ahead of James Emson, while son Tom topped the Group B times by 0.5secs from Chiddicks.
Saturday went well for the Emsons. James finished second to Lower’s brother Zach in the first Sprint Race, Tom won the second then father and son won the Floodlit Enduro, racking up extra points for two fastest laps and the Enduro pole position. Their Sunday results were the same, although James finished second to Tom McEwing in the day’s first race and there was a hat-trick of fastest laps, including one establishing the lap record for the class, so there was little the opposition could do.
O’Flanagan and Cockerill were respectively fastest in Qualifying in the two 310R Groups. Already a three-time Caterham Champion, O’Flanagan won his Sprint Race both days and Cockerill finished in the top four in each of his, while they nailed the Enduros to claim the title. The other two Sprint Races were won by Geoff Price and Matt Shepherd, two drivers not sharing their cars, which means they each drove more than 170 race laps single-handed over the weekend. Shepherd also established the lap record for the Caterham Seven 310R class.
While the entry in 420R was smaller, there was no lack of quality. Lewis Thompson, who won the 2023 Caterham Seven Championship UK, the company’s sole National-level title, headed the list sharing with 2023 Academy Champion Nick Highton, with Stephen Lyall and Jake Swann, who finished second and fifth respectively in CSC UK, adding spice to the competition. Swann and Lyall were respectively fastest in Qualifying, the first Sprint Race won by Thompson, establishing the lap record for the class along the way, and the second by Swann.
The Floodlit Enduro provided one of the shock upsets of the weekend, when Thomson and Swann both spun at the W’s Hairpin on the penultimate lap, with Swann earning a 10secs penalty for causing a collision, handing the victory to Lyall and Barry Benham. While Swann claimed two more victories on Sunday, when only one Sprint Race was run, second place in both the Sprint and the Daylight Enduro was enough for Benham and Lyall to secure the title.

Caterham Caribbean Cup 2023
Caterham Seven 270R: 1st James Emson/Tom Emson, 82 points; 2nd Scott Graham/Freddie Chiddicks, 52pts; 3rd Tom McEwing, 45pts; etc
Caterham Seven 310R: 1st Taylor O’Flanagan/Tom Cockerill, 75pts; 2nd Matt Sheppard, 63pts; 3rd Geoff Price, 48pts; etc
Caterham Seven 420R: 1st Barry Benham/Stephen Lyall, 53pts; 2nd Jake Swann, 63pts; 3rd Geoff Price, 48pts; etc

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