Last lap - Drivers prepare for Dover season finale
Tomorrow at the island’s premier circuit racing course, Dover Raceway, St Ann, the top drivers in their respective classes will renew rivalry in the grand finale for the 2015 season.
A lot of attention will be directed at the Thundersport II Class, where Doug Gore, David Summerbell and Peter Rae will do battle.
The 14-race programme, dubbed the Heroes of Speed race meet, is expected to attract numerous diehard fans. Anticipating a classic matchup, a number of racing enthusiasts have assessed the drivers’ chances.
“Initially, I thought Summerbell’s car was more suited for the Dover track, but recently, he has been having problems with his finish. If I am to be guided by the current form of Summerbell and Gore, I would believe that the latter has the edge,” said Errol Anderson, a former president of the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC), who made it clear that he is not a supporter of either driver.
John Ralston, another former JMMC president, observed that at the moment there are reliability challenges for Summerbell’s Mitsubishi Evolution 8.
“If he (Summerbell) can correct that, then he has a good chance of beating Gore, but if not, I think Gore will dominate the Thundersport II Class,” Ralston told Automotives. Ralston’s view was shared by race driver, Teddy Burton, who stressed that if Summerbell corrects the mechanical problems, then it is going to be a great showdown tomorrow afternoon each time the cars face the starter in the TS2 events.
Responding to the concerns relating to the reliability of his car, Summerbell said all is set for him to to turn the tables on Gore.
"We have some new mechanics joining the team. We have been working extremely hard, pulling down the car and effecting some changes. We tested it last week and it felt really good, so we are ready," said Summerbell.
Gore, who dominated the TS2 Class at the Jam West race meet in August, said since then, his car has been washed and covered down, waiting to take the track come race day.
"That is how good the Audi is," said Gore, who indicated that on the weekend, his team will be adjusting the suspension setting to suit the Dover track. In addition, the tall Montegonian told Automotives "we will be doing a lot of practising to ensure we get everything right on Monday."
While both Gore and Summerbell have been involved in intense preparations, Peter Rae (who was spotted in downtown Kingston recently, shopping for parts to complete his race readiness) looks the likely candidate to upset the apple cart. The Epping Mazda RX-7 has been well
prepared and ready for action.
Natasha Chang, the lone female competitor who will be at Heroes of Speed, promises to give her male counterparts hell on the track, especially the big guns in TS2. Another big name in the class is Chris Campbell, whose BMW is always prepared. When contacted on Friday, Campbell, in very few words, said he will be there.
Peter 'Bull' Thompson said though his car is prepared and ready for racing, he will not be there.
"I have to work. I am so sorry," said Thompson. Alan Chen will also be absent because of financial constraints. He has been unable to obtain a vital car part to complete his preparation for tomorrow's meet.
Peter Jaggan said his Honda Civic is ready for action in the Modified Production 2 Class.
"The car is good and I have a lot of confidence," he said.
Kyle Gregg, who will be using Samantha Summerbell's car to hopefully wrap up the championship in the MP 2 Class, in which he is leading his nearest rival by 20 points, promises to give a good account of himself, even as he continues to prepare for Rally Jamaica.
Urging the drivers on is a $50,000 prize for any driver who lowers the Dover track record.
A young driver who burst onto the circuit racing scene in under a year now looks set to become the youngest person ever to win the Driver of the Year at Dover. Fraser McConnell was brought home from school in Canada, just to ensure he gets his first lien on this title, which would be a dream come true for his father.