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Fierce competitor, helpful neighbour - Teddy Burton among drivers preparing for Carnival of Speed

Published:Sunday | March 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator

Despite not yet etching his name on the coveted Driver of the Year trophy at Dover Raceway, Tedroy 'Teddy' Burton is still being hailed as the local hero of St Elizabeth, which is known as the food basket parish of the island.

A firm believer in God, when he is not at the track competing or preparing for a race meet Burton is often busy helping his neighbours, including the less fortunate.

"If you don't love your neighbour, then how are you going to love God?" the tall, sturdy businessman asked rhetorically. "I am guided by my conscience."

Within two weeks, he will be among the scores of race drivers lining up on the grid at the island's premier circuit racing track for the 'Carnival of Speed' Easter race meet "Every time there is a race meet coming up my phone rings non-stop," said Burton, whose fan base covers the nooks and crannies of the parish.

His performance at this Carnival of Speed race meet in particular will depend on the backing of his sponsor, Derrick Johnson and Supreme Auto Parts, as Burton has effected some changes to his Honda Civic motor car, removing the turbocharger system. "My car is now all natural and I will be competing against people like Kyle Gregg in the MP 2 Class," Burton said.

Preparations are in high gear for the season opener, which gets under way on Easter Monday, April 9. It is the first of four race meets on the Jamaica Race Driver's Club (JRDC) calendar of events for 2012.

While the organisers are working feverishly to get the Dover facility ready for the event, scores of drivers are busy preparing their vehicles to do battle on the track. "I will be giving my fans a special driving treat," said Peter 'Zoom Zoom' Rae, who has been doing preseason testing with his RX7 Mazda.

There are also reports that David Summerbell's Total/Cariburst/Motorcraft sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII has been fully adjusted with a 2.3 litre AMS engine, sequential gearbox, upgraded brakes and, possibly, a new aero package. Further reports are that his arch-rival, Douglas 'Hollywood' Gore, has received a new widebody kit for his  Automotive/Petcom/Wata/Boom Energy Drink Audi TT DTM race car, as well as a new gearbox.