Fri | Apr 20, 2018

Thirty-three foreigners set for CMRC opening

Published:Monday | March 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Lawrence Henriques

BOLSTERED by new additions, cars based on the BMW 318Ti platform in Group One and 'radicals' such as Barbadian Mark Maloney's Ford Focus in Group Five, the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) is set for a roaring start at the Jamwest Speedway in Negril, May 12-13.

The regional four-way championship gets under way in Negril with 33 cars confirmed from overseas competitors, including debut international participation from United States' Caribbean American Motor Sports.

Silbourne Clarke, Caribbean Motor Racing Association chairman, said he was especially excited with the prospect of BMW cars from Antigua, where he recently witnessed a race won by five-thousandth of a second.

Clarke described Group One, previously run in the United Kingdom for the 'Bimmer Cup', as a relatively economic entry point for motor racing enthusiasts, "cars that run all day with no breakdowns".

"Three of those cars are already here, owned by Jeffrey Panton and John Ralston," Clarke said, dispelling fears that local participation might wane in the face of competitors from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Cayman islands, Guyana, Antigua and the USA.

Despite no confirmed participation from the Dover-based Jamaica Race Drivers' Club, Clarke said the CMRC has waved a conciliatory white flag at the competing entity by leaving space on its schedule for Saturday. However, all drivers or motorcyclists wishing to participate in any of the six CMRC championship events on Sunday must abide by the organisation's rules.

"It will be CMRC qualifying and practice on Saturday and full racing on Sunday," Clerk of the Course Lawrence Henriques explained.

Group Five is the level at which fireworks are expected, more so if Doug 'Hollywood' Gore's recently unveiled car, dubbed 'The Beast', meets CMRC standards, which would pit the Jamaican against what is said to be 'the fastest car in the Caribbean', Maloney's Ford Focus.

Veteran Peter Rae, representing Jamaica's Reggae Racers, announced 2018 as his final year behind the wheel as a racer, "50 years of a wonderful journey".

Rae said he expected "a decent number of Jamaicans to participate, especially those with BMWs, which he described as 'the best-subscribed race on the card".