Record runs at Vernamfield
The hot sun was tempered by a hint of cloud cover, but action on the strip was no less blistering as Nestle Supligen Drag Racing Challenge #5 brought the curtain down on the 2015 season last Sunday.
There were 146 cars, with each driver having a point to prove, entertaining a bumper crowd at the old airstrip in the middle of the canefields of southwest Clarendon.
Highlights of the day included Xavia Murray's record run in his Honda Civic, breaking the National Drag Racing Circuit (NDRC) Front-Wheel Drive record three times. The new record is 10.048sec.
Orville Williams' record run in his Nissan Pulsar also excited the crowd. He set a new NDRC Four-Wheel Drive record of 8.944sec down the quarter-mile track.
Caymanian Jody Jervis was not to be outdone. He piloted his Nissan Skyline to set a new NDRC Rear-Wheel Drive 4, 6 & Rotary record twice. The new record is 8.903sec.
Jervis' runs were particularly exciting as he managed to shave a full half second off his time with each run. As Jervis nailed his right foot on the Skyline's accelerator, the car's deep rumble turned to a full-on growl then a roar as the front wheels lifted in the air off the start line. The car was still smoking tyres three-quarter way down the track as its rear end wiggled in protest at the power being delivered.
Jervis managed a top speed of 157.43 miles per hour in the last of his three preliminary runs.
Also providing lots of excitement was Kenneth 'Ken T' Timoll in his well-prepped all-motor Honda Civic, named Blacksheep. The car looks like a purring kitten approaching the line, but becomes a wailing banshee when Ken T hits the throttle. He managed 10.08sec on his first preliminary run, but the pressure proved too much for the Blacksheep's gearbox. Three mechanics had the box out in less than 20 minutes. They diagnosed the problem, sent for parts in Mandeville and had it back in the car in time for the last of the qualifying rounds.
Meanwhile, arch-rival Xavia Murray stole a march on Ken T with his three record runs for the front-wheel drive class.
When the cars lined up for the elimination round there was a packed field in every class except the nine seconds, where there were no qualifiers. In the eight seconds class for the first time in Vernamfield history all of four cars lined up.
There was a mixture of excitement and heartbreak as the record-setting Jervis and Williams were clearly no match for the other two qualifiers, namely, Adrian McLymont in his Ford Mustang, and Bryn Morgan in his CTP Dragster Rail.
Williams bravely squared off with the Dragster Rail, but was left standing at the start line with mechanical troubles.
Jodi Jervis made a gallant effort in his Skyline, but McLymont in the Mustang made it look like half of a contest.
Fading light saw the organisers working at a frenetic pace to complete the final races, while ruing the several instances of time lost due to technical glitches during the qualifying runs.
The drivers were no less anxious, as they wanted to get their races in before conditions became unsafe.
The organisers managed to get in the Pro Race 8 final as the light was quickly fading and visibility down to about 300 metres. By the time Bryn Morgan was throwing complimentary caps into the crowd, members of the appreciative spectators could hardly see to catch them.
As many as three finals were run with the cars using their headlights, except in the Pro Modified 10 where Timoll in the Blacksheep had no headlights and had to be guided by a flashlight at the end of the track in near total darkness. To the organisers' credit, the first third of the track benefited from well-needed floodlights.
Controversy surfaced in the Pro Modified 11 seconds class, as both drivers jumped the gun and red-lighted. In the end, neither driver was willing to run the race over and officials declared no result.
Fans left Vernamfield in the dark but with satisfied looks and good comments about the day's proceedings. Several drivers could be heard already planning for what they will bring to the 2016 Drag Racing Challenge.
Nestle Supligen Drag Racing Challenge #5 2015 Official Results
Triangle Tyres 16
Winner: Davin Virgo, 17.438sec @ 57.79mph - Toyota Hiace
Runner-Up: Omar White, 18.247 @ 70.83mph
Westlake Tyres 15
Winner: Chad Gooden, 15.404sec @ 73.26mph - VW Golf
Runner-Up: Damion Davy, 15.436sec @ 94.71mph
Superior Parts 14
Winner: Timothy Polson, 14.047sec @ 94.20mph - Subaru Impreza WRX
Runner-Up: Gerald Wilson, 13.633sec @ 108.77mph (Breakout)
Kumho Tyres 13
Winner: Ray Williams, 13.083sec @ 97.88mph - Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Runner-Up: Ricardo Harrison, 13.319sec @ 102.66mph - Honda Civic
Auto King 12
Winner: Vijay Bowla, 12.426sec @ 85.89mph - BMW 135i
Runner-up: Courtney Parish, 12.677sec @ 100.33mph - Toyota Starlet
Pro Modified 10
Winner: Xavia Murray, 10.196sec @ 140.31mph - Honda Civic
Runner-up: Kenneth Timoll, 17.143sec @ 59.26mph - Honda Civic
Pro Race 8
Winner: Adrian McLymont, 8.538sec @ 172.61mph - Ford Mustang
Runner-up: Bryn Morgan 8.431sec @ 137.65mph - Dragster Rail
- Xavia Murray, Honda Civic, set new NDRC Front-Wheel Drive record thrice, new record is 10.048sec
- Jody Jervis, Nissan Skyline (Cayman), set new NDRC Rear-Wheel Drive 4,6 & Rotary record twice, new record is 8.903sec
- Orville Williams, Nissan Pulsar, set new NDRC Four-Wheel Drive record of 8.944sec