Relying on the Radical
In Grammy Award winner Jimmy Cliff's song The Harder They Come, which is also the title of the 1972 movie Cliff stars in, he sings "the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all."
That is exactly what Jamaica's Kyle Gregg is hoping will happen at the Jamwest Speedway, Westmoreland, today. He will be bombarded by the aggression of the Trinidad, Barbados and Guyanese drivers in the first leg of the 2016 Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC).
With David Summerbell and his Mitsubishi Evolution 8 remaining a non-starter because of a mechanical problem and Peter Rae's Mazda RX-7 and Doug Gore's Audi not 100 per cent ready this race meet, Gregg and his new Radical RXC race car will be like the Usain Bolt of the Jamaican team. The local boys must amass a huge lead at the end of the day if they are to give themselves any serious chance of winning the regional titles.
Despite bearing the weight of Jamaica's hopes, Gregg is undaunted. "The car feels extremely good and the plan is to get a clean start then assume the lead while negotiating corner one and let them catch me," Gregg told Automotives on Friday.
His confidence was further boosted after establishing an impressive 106.2 seconds lap time, which the fans have described as unofficial new record at Jamwest.
"I know the foreigners are going to be very testy, people like Kristian Jeffery and Mark Maloney, but the plan is to go out there and get the job done," said Gregg, who will be competing in the Group 4 Class of the CMRC series.
Rameez Mohamed, one of the Guyanese drivers, said although his teammates had some challenges during the early stages of their preparation things have since been sorted out. "This is a totally different track. It is in the opposite direction compared to ours, so we had to make some adjustments to the suspensions. As for (Kristian) Jeffery, his car is expected to be faster than before," said Mohamed.
Battle for supremacy
This means that the battle for supremacy in the Group 4 CMRC Class should be among Jamaica's Gregg, Barbados' Mark Maloney and Guyana's Kristian Jeffery. Still, although his car is not a 100 per cent race ready, Doug Gore is considered to have an outside chance of winning.
After running several tests, in consultation with experts in the United Kingdom, Gore said some problems with the engine were detected. A decision was taken not to race the car, but how could he disappoint the large home crowd?
"We did some more tests, took another look at the engine and then decided that we will compete today. The plan is get a comfortable position on the grid, avoid the bumping and stay out of trouble. Then whatever happens, happens," Gore said.
David Summerbell, who will be on the sideline cheering on Team Jamaica, promises to give his support wherever it is needed. A vital part of his car was damaged while the team was preparing the car for today's race meet. They were unable to source the piece of parts in time to compete today.
President of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC), Monique Gibbs, said the field will be packed. "The CMRC and local championship races will run together. So there are going to be times when will have about 35 cars in one race. That should make things exciting," said Gibbs.
The Jamaican team includes Gore, Gregg, Rae, Chris Campbell, George Bayley and Peter 'Bull' Thompson, among others.