No Foo-ling around
He came, saw and is now hoping to conquer. United States-based Roger Foo, driving a borrowed Mitsubishi Evolution 4, takes on the challenging Dover circuit tomorrow in the Easter Monday Carnival of Speed race meet.
Foo, who turns 50 years old in September next year, came to Jamaica as a spectator a few weeks ago to experience motor racing first-hand. He was spotted at the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship race meet, held recently at the Jamwest Speedway, Old Hope, Westmoreland.
After president of the Jamaica Race Drivers' Club, Charles Chen, spoke about the challenging 1.6-mile long Dover Raceway, built in 1989 and which drivers navigate anti-clockwise, he expressed an interest in taking on the Jamaicans.
"We were having a conversation, that nobody has ever come to race at Dover for the first time and learnt the track in under 10 laps. He (Foo) took up the challenge and I gave him my private car and we went around the track. After about three laps, I was convinced that he could manage, so we extended an invitation for him to compete in Monday's (tomorrow's) meet," said Chen, who anticipates a grand showdown in the Thundersport II event.
Foo, who is one of eight driving coaches currently employed to AMG Mercedes in the United States, has been racing professionally in North America since 1985. He made his debut in the Sports Car Club of America championships in his home city of San Francisco, California. He later competed in autocross and endurance events.
"It is every driver's dream to take the chequered flag," said Foo, responding to questions about his chances of winning the Thundersport II event.
According to Chen, while crowd favourite Doug Gore will be absent this race meet, Montego Bay will be well represented by a new generation of drivers. These are Chris-John Addison, Nicholas Barnes and Ameer Johnson. Addison and Barnes are currently students of Cornwall College and are sons of former Dover Raceway competitors. Johnson, who is associated with rally expert Richie Rearie, has been making a name in the ongoing dexterity series.
The youngsters will be supported by the experienced Matthew Gore, Jordon Powell, Ian Banks and Owen Campbell, making for a team strong enough to stave off the Kingston-based drivers.
On Thursday, David Summerbell told Automotives, "We had a real good day today while testing the car at Dover. We are hoping to once again dominate the meet." Summerbell is one of three drivers with whom Total Lubricants has renewed a three-year contract. The other two are Kyle Gregg and Andre Anderson.
While acknowledging that Foo is a talented driver, Summerbell does not believe the Mitsubishi Evolution 4 will be fast enough to upset the apple cart. Apart from Summerbell, Foo will also have to contend with Heath Causewell, Peter Rae and Chris Campbell, among other racers who will be driving cars with bigger engines than the Evolution.
One popular driver has experienced some setbacks, but is determined to press on. "We are still recovering from the impact of the fire at the last race meet held at Jamwest. This has caused us to do some additional work to get the car ready for the meet," said Peter Rae, demonstrating a never-say-die attitude.