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SoloDex II - 25th March 2001

Article by Duane Boodasingh
Photography byDuane Boodasingh, Rawle Francis, Daren Dhoray and Nebert Marin

Driving up to Arima Race Club's car park for Solodex can sometimes make you wonder how big the crowd will be, if any at all. Solodex has definitely proven itself to be the little event that could, as Creative Auto Recreational Sports (CARS) has been pulling out all the stops to make autocross a major motorsport event in Trinidad. But over the past year the amount of spectators has been few, amounting to competitors themselves and their close friends who support them. This was not the case for Solodex II 2001, which pulled the largest crowd of spectators so far.

The event was well put together, apart from a few understandable bumps. This event in particular was in memory of Greame Hutchinson (may God rest his soul) who passed away a few weeks ago. Greame was last years' overall champion and would have been proud of this event.

This event's course was notably faster than usual but it was also a longer course with times averaging 1 minute for a good run.

Competition was fierce in the ESP class but especially so in the EP class where Cristian Bourne in his Civic Type-R, fought off the oncoming attacks from the likes of Peter Morris in his fully prepped EVO VI. Cristian managed the best times of the day but they were beaten by Morris every time, until finally Morris managed an amazing 54.245secs as he negotiated the course with four-wheel drifts and masterful handling. Cristian was not about to put that in his pipe and smoke it. He raced out of the starting grid and showed exactly how nimble the street version of his Type-R was. Added to the already high revving VTEC engine, Cristian introduced some nitrous to the car's intake just for this event for that added punch. By the time he came to a stop in the finish box the clock read 54.060secs. edging past Morris. He had managed again to bring down the reign of the fire-breathing EVO with Honda power.

The competition went on all day as contenders slipped from first to third and then back to first again. Just point-something of a second separated the bulk of the ESP class but William "SiR Bill" Barrow fought his way to the top of the pack past Barry Mykoo's SiR clocking in a best time of 58.265secs. in yet another Honda Civic.

Hondas seemed to rule the day as Andy Ali, also in a Civic dominated the ES class with a best time of 62.182secs. Clayton Jobity took second place in his Corolla with a time of 63.096secs.

Gerry Dial could be the best salesman for Chevy Joy's in Trinidad as he consistently displays the nimble handling and small bursts of speed characteristic of a small hatch. He dominated HS class with a time of 63.546secs. just edging out Robert Bates' best time of 64.277secs. also in a Chevy Joy.

Best female driver Alicia McKenzie who usually dominates GS class with her Lancer has secured a best time of 65.900secs. But alas, along came Anson Eccles in his Bluebird SSS crushing her glory with a time of 65.009. Just goes to show how fierce the competition can be.

The fun runs after went on as planned, but without the help of many marshals who also wanted to get their fun runs in as well. I tried my hand at it and I must agree, this is the most fun you can have with your car with out damaging it. It also helps you out on the road in real life situations teaching you what your car will do under extreme cornering, braking and acceration, so its definitely worth a try. CARS could maybe look at holding some more instructive events for persons wanting to improve driving skills around a course without the stress of competition or the fear factor that spectators are watching. Maybe that may encourage more competitors and hopefully draw even bigger crowds.

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