CMRC 2014 Round 2 – Wallerfield

CMRC 2014 Round 2 – Wallerfield

Wallerfield shakes up Seaboard Marine CMRC

As the region starts preparations for what has been confirmed as the final round of the 2014 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship at South Dakota in Guyana on November 15/16, we can finally bring you our report of the Return to Wallerfield. Apologies for the delay, guys, but it has taken a while to sort through all the images – there were rather a lot, as you’d expect after the first race meet for so many years – while some minor changes to the CMRC points system have also meant cross-checking results to ensure complete accuracy.

And the regional pundits were right! The Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Sports Association’s (TTASA) Return to Wallerfield certainly did shake up the CMRC. After two of three rounds, a spread of just 12 points covers the top three in the Country Championship . . . and home side Trinidad, which started the day lying fourth, leap-frogged over the opposition to take the lead, just a handful of points ahead of Guyana and Barbados! Perfectly poised for a sensational showdown in six weeks’ time.

As circuit racing returned to the island over the weekend of August 23/24 for the first time since 2006, thousands of fans lined the 1.4-kilometre track, refurbished after an all-out effort co-ordinated by TTASA and supported by individuals and organisations from across the country. Especially from President Robert Amar and Vice President Jameer Ali.

But the revival of circuit racing was not the only big story of the weekend. As the CMRC has been developing in recent years, so the machinery taking part has been upgraded, and Wallerfield was the venue for arguably the biggest debut yet . . . the Renault Megane Trophy, recently arrived from Europe, which is to be campaigned regionally by multiple Champion Franklyn Boodram. Over the CMRC weekend, however, it was driven by Dutchman Frans Verschuur, whose team has been running the car in European competition.

Boodram's Renault Megan Trophy

And Verschuur was not the only overseas driver scoring points for Trinidad, as Guyana’s Paul Vieira campaigned his former Mazda RX-7 under the home team’s flag as well. In the first CMRC Group 4 race, Kristian Jeffrey led from the start, his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX harried all the way by the Megane, as Verschuur tried to force the young Guyanese ace into an error.

Leading the Championship after a hat-trick of wins at Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados in July, Jeffrey defended well and looked set to add a fourth victory to his tally, until he ran across some debris from another race car and picked up a puncture; he was classified fifth (and last), after which gearbox problems left him side-lined for the rest of the day. Vieira ran home second, with Guyana’s pairing of Danny Persaud (Mazda Miata) and Rameez Mohammed (Toyota Starlet) third and fourth.

After the Megane ran into some difficulties with weight limits and officialdom, Vieira and Persaud shared the victories in the other two CMRC Group 4 races. Classified second in Race 2, Persaud has also moved into second place in the Driver’s Championship, 11 points behind Jeffrey, with Vieira third, ahead of Stuart Williams (Barbados, Lotus Elise) and Peter Rae (Jamaica, Mazda RX-7) neither of whom toured to Wallerfield, with Verschuur sixth.

Local drivers packed the results in those two races, including David Lyons (Suzuki Swift), Randy Mohammed (Datsun B110), Steven Hosein (Mazra RX-3), Mootie Maharaj (Honda Civic), Winston Medford (Toyota Corolla) and Jody Ali (Subaru Impreza STi). Not all contributed to Trinidad’s impressive tally in the Country Championship, however – in a recent change to the rules, a maximum of six cars from each territory must be nominated as points scorers, but only the highest-placed four count.

In CMRC Group 2, a clean sweep for Mark Thompson (Barbados, Honda Civic) moved him ahead of the absent Kyle Gregg (Jamaica, Civic) in the Driver’s Championship – his performance also a major contribution to his homeland’s points tally – with Trinidad’s Yazid Ali (Civic) adding three top four finishes to his results from round one and climbing to third in the standings.

Mark Thompson Honda Civic

Another impressive home town performance came from Marc Gill (Civic), three podium finishes bringing him into the table in fourth place, as Guyana’s Shairaz Roshandin (Civic) slipped to fifth, only scoring points for second place in the opening race, with the absent Edward Corbin (Barbados, Toyota Starlet) sixth.

In addition to the feature CMRC races, more than 30 competitors saw action in TTASA’s regular categories, with races also staged for Supercars, while drifting and karting demonstrations made for a full day of track action for the appreciative crowd.

In GT1, Haresh Nanan (Nissan Sentra B13 1.6) won race one – also the very first race on the revived Wallerfield – but could not repeat the feat, Aqeeb Ali (Honda Civic 1.6) winning the other two encounters, although Nanan was crowned GT1 Champion Driver; in GT2, honours were shared between Rameez Mohammed (Starlet), David Lyons (Suzuki Swift) and Marc Gill (Civic), with Lyons crowned GT2 Champion Driver; in GT3, Ravi Singh (RX-7) and Randy Mohammed (Datsun B110) were the winners, the latter claiming the Champion Driver title, while Frans Verschuur (Megane Trophy) copped the honours in GT4. Verschuur also set the fastest lap of the day, with a time of 41.693s.

Haresh Nanan B13

As fans look forward to South Dakota next month, TTASA and the country’s entire motor sport fraternity can reflect on a job well done. Sure, there were a few rough edges, and some lessons to be learned, but the Return to Wallerfield did exactly what it said on the tin – it brought the thrill of circuit racing back to Trinidad.

Championship – Country: 1st Trinidad & Tobago 308 points; 2nd Guyana 297pts; 3rd
Barbados 296pts; 4th Jamaica 151pts

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