Jeffrey has C/bean title in his sights – Sport in transition
By Rawle Welch
Local motor racing champion Kevin Jeffrey speaking with Kaieteur Sport shortly after a workout in the gym on Tuesday afternoon at the Guyana Motor Racing Club disclosed that Guyana’s success in winning the Caribbean Series title was long overdue and they are focused on retaining the crown this year.
Jeffrey, who won the champion driver award at the final leg of the regional championship and whose points were pivotal in Guyana’s quest for the overall title informed this newspaper that he hopes to go a step further this year and capture the coveted individual crown.
“Foremost on my agenda is to ensure that Guyana successfully defend its title, but as you can see I’m in the gym early to ensure that physically I’m up to the task and in good shape, while in terms of the car, we’re in the Research & Development phase which is being spearheaded by Team Leader Brian Ten-Pow,” Jeffrey said.
He felt that this year’s championship will be very competitive and reckoned that the Barbadians will be coming hard at them after losing the title last year.
“They are licking their wounds right now and as you are aware when an animal is wounded it is at its most dangerous so we cannot afford to become complacent, but be very thorough with our own preparations and not take anything for granted,” the local champion stated.
He said the verbal attack on fellow countryman Mark Vieira was unwarranted and clearly shows how much they are hurting after losing the Team title.
Jeffrey, who drives a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII, said that the car performed reliably last year and the team is looking to duplicate that this year, while making some modifications and adjustments to make it more competitive with the Bajans and Jamaicans.
“I must concede that we are no where near possessing the spending capability of those two countries, they have massive assistance from the corporate community and without doubt their cars are much more technologically advanced than ours,” he noted.
However, he opined that Guyana have the better drivers, who are prepared to work with the limited resources because of the profound love they have for the sport.
Jeffrey rated the preparations for last November Meet as the best the car has underwent since he acquired it, informing that it was completely stripped following the Barbados Meet and had to be re-done for the crucial final leg which gave Guyana the title.
“We were always working over the past years on improving its reliability and I think we got it right on race day for that final encounter, but the team is still looking for ways to maximise the car’s potential.”
He revealed that his car still uses standard suspension and gear box components whereas his main rivals are running sequential transmissions and have upgraded their gear boxes as well and if he is to reach that next level he will have to consider securing substantial support from the business community to attain that competitive edge.
Jeffrey said Guyana has proven to its Caribbean rivals that they have what it takes to become regional champions and it is just a case of maintaining that momentum which would require critical support from the Government and corporate entities to do so.
He felt that for every driver on the team will have to perform at their optimum and that involves getting their respective machines in peak condition in terms of reliability and horsepower to stave off an anticipated charged up Barbados and Jamaica opposition.
Jeffrey, however, acknowledged that the sport could be cruel and unpredictable at times and this is so because the machines are always working on a knife’s edge, making it difficult to predict what will happen in a race.
He acknowledged the hard work of his team that includes Ten-Pow, Rajiv Rajaram, John Seabra, Omar Crespo and Leon Persaud.
Commenting on the growth of the sport, Jeffrey said that the recent assistance given by the Government to re-surface the track is a step in the right direction that will certainly attract more foreign competitors as well as improve the lap times and lengthen the life of tyres.
“I view this development as an all-round plus for the sport where the quality of competition will be more intense and spectators really entertained.”
The local speedster believed that presently motor racing is at a nice point, it is at a transitional stage due to the young and enthusiastic crop of drivers who’re now involved in the sport.
He also recognised the effort of the club’s executive that has seen it wise to construct a go-kart facility which helps in honing the skills of the young and upcoming drivers.
Jeffrey also mentioned that the club is in a healthy state financially and the recent flurry of infrastructural works to make it more family friendly and caring for the needs of all visitors is sure testimony to the administrative capacity of the current leadership.
He pointed out that the discussions pertaining to expanding the Circuit to reach FIA specifications is happening and if it becomes a reality then the sport could really take off further.
Jeffrey said he is extremely optimistic about the sport’s future which he sees as being bright.