Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Radical challenge - US cars coming for Heroes Day Dover meet

Published:Sunday | October 5, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Doug Gore leads the pack in a previous race at Dover. The US-based drivers expect to challenge for that top spot on Heroes Day. - File
One of the Radical race cars which will be in action at Dover on Heroes Day, October 20. - Contributed
One of the Radical race cars which will be in action at Dover on Heroes Day, October 20. - Contributed
1
2
3

Glenroy Sinclair, Gleaner Writer

Top drivers Doug Gore, Peter Rae, David Summerbell and the other Thundersport II category competitors are finalising preparations for what is expected to be an epic battle at the Dover Raceway, St Ann, on Heroes Day, October 20. However, a team out of the United States, Radical North America, intends to blow them away.

"Radical North America is affiliated to Radical in the United Kingdom, which is the parent company. The cars are SR3 Radicals and run up to 320 horsepower. They are 1,300 pounds - extremely light - and should give the Jamaicans some competition," argued Taj Alvaranga, a Jamaican living in Maryland, who will be one of two drivers competing at Dover with the cars.

Alvaranga, who is from Manchester, migrated to the US in 2000 to finish school, and now a network engineer operating his own business in Maryland. In Jamaica, he attended Belair and Manchester high schools.

A long-time avid motorsport fan, since living in the USA Alvaranga has been involved in Sport Car Club of America competitions, held in the Washington, DC, area, and says he has been making an impact.

"I have been doing pretty well. I have several podium finishes. It is really expensive, but despite all of this I am looking forward to compete in the Radical World Finals, scheduled for the USA in November. This event will attract all the Radical drivers worldwide," noted Alvaranga.

With this extensive experience, Alvaranga expects to be a force to reckon with on Heroes Day at Dover.

Rae upbeat

Although he has
not been on the winner's podium position in recent times, Peter Rae with
his Epping-sponsored Mazda RX-7 is promising to end the 2014 racing
season on a high note.

"Our preparation is still going
on. We are still sorting out the issues from the last race meet. I saw
the Radical cars in Barbados and they looked high-tech and modern. They
also looked extremely light, but so is the 'Zoom Zoom'. The Radicals
should put up a good show and I am looking forward to competing against
them," said Rae.

Charles Chen, head of the Jamaica
Race Drivers' Club, pointed out that the cars coming from the US will be
in particular categories. "Legally, the Radical cars can race in the
MP1 Class. The lowest class they can compete in is MP2. They are also
qualified to race in the Thundersport II Class. On paper, they are just
as fast as Gore's and Summerbell's cars. Their biggest challenge will be
the limited time they have to learn and manoeuvre the Dover circuit,"
said Chen, who stressed that Alvaranga was very influential in getting
the overseas team to come to Jamaica.

On Friday Chen
told Automotives that the five cars were at the port
in Florida, waiting to be shipped to Jamaica

"Two of
the cars will be driven by the drifters. They will leave by Wednesday
and are expected to arrive here in two days' time. So by the following
week we should able to clear them in time for the drivers to get enough
practice on track," said Chen.

According to the
organisation's website, Radical Sportscars is a British manufacturer and
constructor of racing cars from England. The company was founded in
January 1997 by amateur drivers and engineers Mick Hyde and Phil Abbott,
who built open cockpit sports cars which could be registered for road
use and run on a track without modification.

Although
most of Radical's sportscars are road-legal, they also construct some
purpose-built racing cars, such as the SR9 Le Mans
prototype.

The company's first car, the Radical 1100
Clubsport, was based on a Kawasaki motorcycle engine placed inside a
small open-cockpit chassis. The cars were intended to run in the 750
Motor Club's races in the Sports 2000 category, with co-founder Hyde
driving.

By 1999, Radical had built enough 1100
Clubsports for them to decide to create a single make race series, based
around the car. Backed by the British Racing and Sports Car Club, the
series featured identical cars, with entry open to anyone who owned an
1100
Clubsport.