By Rawle Welch
Despite experiencing some challenges, local motor racing enjoyed another flourishing year which culminated with Guyana winning the overall title at the Caribbean Championship that ended in November, at the South Dakota Circuit.
The Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC), the Body responsible for organising the sport here in Guyana, had to endure an initial challenge by a breakaway faction that eventually dissipated after dialogue, while a number of other issues that could have knocked off balance the year’s scheduled events were settled in due course.
The club was able to run off its Drag and Endurance events, while the local Meets, though they experienced a somewhat below par attendance, saw most of the top competitors compete, an essential prerequisite for preserving interest in the sport.
Guyana signalled its intention to wrest the Caribbean title after some encouraging performances during the first leg of the Series in Jamaica when Kevin Jeffrey and Afraz Allie showed some fight against their regional counterparts.
The two returned home and immediately went into full scale preparations to combat the anticipated showdown against the Barbadians and Jamaicans, the two countries that posed the most serious threat to their ambitions to win the overall crown.
Both Jeffrey and Allie proceeded to dominate the local scene, beating their rivals comfortably, but more importantly took the opportunity to assess their respective machines ability to compete with success against the impending opposition from the rest of the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
Encouraged by their dominant performances, Jeffrey and Allie along with Mark Vieira, Shairaz Roshandin, Andrew King and Stephen Vieira went into overdrive in their preparations, all aimed at doing well before their home support, while also seeking to halt the dominance of Jamaican Doug Gore’s Audi TT whose reputation as the fastest car in regional motor racing leading up to the November Meet was undisputed after winning all three Caribbean races in his homeland.
However, Jeffrey and company seemed determined to bring to an end the Jamaican supremacy and countless hours were spent preparing their respective cars.
Though costly, it proved to be the right decision as Gore shattered the previously existing lap record during qualification, but Jeffrey and Vieira had other plans on race day as they totally dominated the Jamaican in an impressive display, before an extremely large turnout, perhaps the largest anywhere in the Region for 2013.
Motor racing has the potential to take off in Guyana not only as a spectator sport, but a sports tourism product as well and if administered properly could generate huge economic revenue for this country.
The visit by FIA President Jean Todt also served to put Guyana on the map as a motor racing country and while we may not be able at this point in time to host or even attract some of the more established racers to come and compete here, the imminent support promised by the FIA to upgrade the South Dakota Circuit to international standards could see us in the very near future become a regional destination for much bigger motor racing events.
The GMR&SC, despite its shortcomings, must be proud of the work done this year in being able to sustain the momentum gained over the previous years of hosting the final leg of the Caribbean Championship.
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