BUSHY PARK, Barbados -- Next month's Digicel Williams International Race Meet (July 5/6) in Barbados has attracted a record entry of regional competitors on two and four wheels, eager to play their part in a moment of Caribbean motor sport history, as the redeveloped Bushy Park Circuit hosts the opening rounds of the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship 2014/15.
With race cars and motorcycles already in transit from Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad, the organisers have confirmed a total of 26 regional entries. Ten will face the five-car Team Barbados in the three CMRC races, which will potentially create another record for the weekend -- the biggest CMRC grid since Barbados joined the competition in 2008, the previous record being 12 in Race 1 at Bushy Park in 2011.
At a press conference, the entry list for the CMRC Group 4 races was confirmed, along with news that there will be racing on both Saturday and Sunday, a first for a modern-day International in Barbados.
Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc secretary Kurt Seabra said: "This will be a two-day event. Saturday's schedule will include practice, qualifying and the first race in each group, including the CMRC."
Organised by the BPMSI, the Digicel Williams International Race Meet is promoted by Bushy Park Circuit Inc (BPCI), whose operations director Mark Hamilton noted: "The circuit’s partnership next month with the organising club, BPMSI, will mark the fourth Club that has organised motor sport events at the facility. Bushy Park Circuit Inc is committed to the growth of motor sport and we are confident that this is possible as we develop the relationships between the facility and the respective clubs."
Detailing the CMRC Group 4 entries, Seabra said: "Guyana has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this. The team includes all of their top drivers."
The six-car team is led by Kevin Jeffrey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII), runner-up in the CMRC in 2010 (by the smallest losing margin since '08) and again last year. Jeffrey is a former race-winner at Old Bushy Park, as is his team-mate Mark Vieira, who will race his Mazda RX-8. Andrew King will be paying his seventh visit to Bushy Park, having first raced there a decade ago; he finished second in the CMRC in 2009 and highest-placed 2wd in his Mazda RX-7.
Jeffrey's son Kristian is an unknown quantity, but arrives armed with an Evo IX modelled on his father's rapid machine; successful in karts at home, he last year campaigned a Mazda in Canadian Automobile Sports Club events. Vishok Persaud will be competing in Barbados for the first time in his Subaru Impreza STi, while the team's final CMRC representative Rupie Shewjattan raced there just once, in a Toyota Starlet in 2005, and returns with an Evo V.
Jamaica will be represented by the reigning CMRC champion Doug Gore, whose Audi TT-R DTM is already in Barbados. Gore, who also won the CMRC title in 2007, is unique among the regional visitors in having driven on the new circuit, at Top Gear Festival Barbados last month. His team-mate is Peter Rae, who finished runner-up and highest-placed 2wd in CMRC 2012 in his turbocharged Mazda RX-7 and is the only regional driver who can boast a 100 per cent finishing record on his previous visits to Barbados.
Trinidad is also fielding a two-car team, a mixture of youth and experience. Kristian Boodoosingh will campaign a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.5 on his Bushy Park debut; a kart champion before switching to cars, he last year won the Trinidad Drag and Wind Championship (a mix of drag racing and dexterity) and is currently racing a BMW M3 in the US. Team-mate Ruddy Beekee, the 2012 Drag and Wind Champion, has more than 25 years' racing experience and previously visited Bushy Park in 2007, in his Mazda RX-7.
Five drivers are confirmed for Team Barbados: Roger Mayers was CMRC Champion in 2011 with five race wins in his Ford Focus, while younger brother Barry won two CMRC races at Bushy Park the previous year in his Suzuki SX4. Stuart Williams, who won more than 80 races at Old Bushy Park and will forever hold the outright lap record for the 1.3-kilometre layout, will field his Lotus Elise, while father and son Doug and Mark Maloney complete the team in Audi A4 quattro and Mazda RX-3 respectively. Long-term supporters of the CMRC, they have rarely missed a qualifying round, Doug finishing third at year-end three times (2008, '11 & '13) and Mark once (2009).
Regional competitors will also participate in CMRC Group 2 and CMRC Superbike races, along with local events, full details of which will be published once entries close. In addition to the CMRC, there will be races for the BPMSI's domestic classes, Clubman, Modified Production 1 & 2, Supersport 1 & 2 and SuperModified 1, and a Handicap Race, along with the second round of the Barbados Karting Association's (BKA) 2014 Championship. More than 30 races are anticipated over the two days.