Sat | May 27, 2017

Summerbell in B'dos Suzuki Challenge

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2015 | 5:00 AM
David Summerbell
A rally-ready Suzuki Swift Sport.
The Suzuki Swift
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Mark Thompson and Sean Maloney headed into the second round of the Suzuki Challenge Series at Bushy Park, Barbados, this weekend, looking to extend their early-season advantage in the Swift Cup and SR3 Cup respectively.

However, they could not have expected easy going, not with an expanded Swift Sport grid and the drivers more familiar with their cars following the season-opener in March.

New ingredients for the weekend include the arrival of three new competitors: adding to the regional interest, Jamaican multiple circuit racing and rally champion David Summerbell Jr (Team Simpson Finance) joins the field, while local fans will be keen to support two multiple race-winners from Old Bushy Park, Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals) and Freddie Gale, sharing the Team Gale's Agro Products entry with son Barry.

The Swift Cup is for identical production-based Suzuki Swift Sports, race-prepared in Barbados, so the emphasis on skill, not budget. The SR3 Cup, for Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS open-topped sports racers, offers the fastest racing in the region.

Thompson, with two race wins and third place, had a 14-point cushion over Trinidad & Tobago's Ryan Peyrau (Team Suzuki), who won the middle race at the Valvoline Glassesco John 'Tiny' Harrison Memorial Race Meet and collected another podium finish. With two third-place finishes to his credit, Kenrick 'Snappa' Husbands (Team Williams Industries) entered this weekend in third and Barry Gale (Team Gale's Agro Products) fourth.

While Thompson had claimed the first Swift Cup pole position (1m 17.869s) and Peyrau clocked fastest lap in the first two races, it was elder brother Kurt Thompson (Team Glassesco) who set the class lap record (1:18.061) on his way to eighth in the third race. After race one was run on a damp track and the second encounter was fraught with incidents.

Once drivers had settled to their task in race three, just six-tenths of a second separated Thompson's best lap and the slowest lap time, a clear indication of the sort of door handle-to-door handle on the 2.01-kilometre circuit.