Team Barbados Champions head for CMRC action at Wallerfield
Reigning Group Champions Mark Maloney and Mark Thompson will see action at the Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway in Trinidad & Tobago next weekend (July 29/30). They will contest round two of the 2017 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC), which then heads to Bushy Park Barbados for its third round on September 2/3.
Maloney won the Group 4 2wd title last year, his first after more than a decade contesting the regional series; eight group wins brought his total to 12 since Barbados first joined the CMRC in 2008, Maloney having missed only three of 28 CMRC race meets during that period, a record that no-one can match. He has also won or claimed podium finishes at each of the venues visited by the series.
Wallerfield will be Maloney’s second CMRC appearance of 2017, having opened his account at the Jamwest Raceway in Jamaica in May, since when his familiar Mazda RX-3 has been to the paint shop, returning with a striking new Rock Hard Cement/Sign Station livery. After running off at the first corner of race one at Jamwest with brake failure, Maloney won Group 4 2wd in the second race, before the third was abandoned following a rolling start incident involving Doug Gore and David Summerbell Jnr.
With 18 points scored, Maloney lies third behind T&T’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy) and Jamaica’s Peter Rae (RX-7), who are joint Group 4 2wd leaders on 30 points apiece. Although no official entry lists have yet been issued by the Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Sports Association (TTASA), which will organise the Wallerfield weekend, it is understood that Rae’s car has been shipped from Jamaica, while Boodram is unlikely to miss his home round.
Thompson has an even more impressive record in his six years contesting Group 2, winning the title three times (2012, ‘14 & ‘16) and finishing second (to brother Kurt) in 2013 – he was also the highest-placed driver in the 1600cc class - and 2015 (to T&T’s Marc Gill); in a total of 57 races, he has won 23 times and finished second or third four times each.
He will campaign his Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Slam 101.1FM/Bio Beauty Honda Civic at Wallerfield, where he has finished in eight of the nine races since the venue returned to the CMRC in 2014. He won all three Gp2 races that year on the way to his second title, victory in race one and a third-place finish in race three sandwiching his only non-finish at Wallerfield in 2015; last year, he had three top five finishes.
Having missed this year’s opening round in Jamaica, Thompson is only now starting his title defence, so is playing catch-up. Group 2, in which T&T has traditionally fielded strong competitors, is currently led by that country’s Daryl Ali, who scored 61 points in the opening round, one more than fellow-countryman Luke Bhola, both driving Honda Civics. Jamaicans Peter Jaggon (Civic) and Charles Chen (Mazda Miata) are third and fourth, although Jaggon is not expected to travel south.
In 2016, Barbados finished second in the Country Championship for Cars to Trinidad & Tobago, which is currently leading the 2017 title chase with 358 points; Jamaica is second with 264, the only other territory to have scored more than 100 points. After T&T’s second round, the CMRC heads north for Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc’s (BPMSI) third round on September 2/3, before the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC) stage the final on November 11/12.
Image courtesy: Corey Reece/Image Vault