(PRESS RELEASE) — Reigning Group Champions Mark Maloney and Mark Thompson head for the final round of the 2018 Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at South Dakota in Guyana this weekend (November 10/11) determined to keep Team Barbados in the fight for Country Championship points.
Champion in 2016 & ’17, Maloney will compete in Group 4, while four-time title-winner Thompson will race in Gp2, accompanied by brother Kurt, who won the Gp2 crown in 2013.
Top points-scorer at the Williams Digicel International Race Meet at Bushy Park in September, Team Barbados moved from fourth to second in the Country standings with 618 points; while there is no chance of catching Trinidad & Tobago – with 1,299 points, the twin island state is a shoo-in for a third consecutive title – there is a realistic chance of staying second, ahead of Jamaica (526).
Barbados also reached last year’s final in second place, but the home team overhauled their total to finish second to T&T by just three points; while fourth-placed Guyana will again aim to build on its current total, however, Barbados has a significantly higher cushion in the standings this time round, with an advantage of 422 points over the host nation, compared with 274 last year, while Jamaica is fielding a limited team.
In individual terms, Maloney (Rock Hard Cement/Sign Station/CA Autobody Repairs Mazda RX-3) is currently fourth in Gp4, 52 points behind leader Mark Vieira of Guyana (RX-8), with Vieira’s fellow-countryman Andrew King and Quinian Lall of Team CAMS (Mazda Miata) between them. While Maloney, who was the round three Champion Driver in CMRC Group 4 at Bushy Park, certainly faces an uphill struggle to unseat Vieira in Gp4, he should still win the new Gp5 title, following five races run in Jamaica and T&T, as there are no races for the group planned for Guyana.
Maloney trails Vieira by 52 points, with 75 on offer for three race wins, but the Guyanese would need to suffer catastrophic bad luck for the Bajan to claim a third consecutive title; moving up the order, however, is certainly possibly, with Lall and King respectively 19 and 24 points ahead.
Vieira was the highest points-scorer of the day at South Dakota last year; Maloney won the opening race, but failed to finish the second outing when his engine kill switched developed a mind of its own, then finished second in race three. It is almost certain that the field this weekend will also include Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX in which he won back-to-back CMRC titles in 2014-‘15, returning home from his second season racing in the UK-based Radical Challenge Championship.
Although Mark Thompson (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/Slam 101.1FM/Automotive Art/Berger Paint/King Ocean Honda Civic) also has an outside chance of claiming the Gp2 crown, it would need even worse luck for points leader, T&T’s Marc Gill (Civic). The only non-Bajan to have won Gp2 – he was Champion in 2015 – Gill does not have the strongest of records in Guyana but, for Thompson to succeed, it would need Gill to retire from all three races and Thompson to win them. There is, however, a good chance of him moving up the standings, possibly to fourth, as the other T&T Civics of Justin Sanguinette and Luke Bhola, respectively 54 and 12 points ahead, are absent. Having brother Kurt (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio-Beauty/King Ocean/Berger Paints/Slam 101.1FM Civic) on side as ‘wing man’ might prove advantageous.
Organised by the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC), this year’s two-day International Race of Champions has been dubbed ‘Ignite’; the 27-race programme also features the final round of the Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup, alongside the GMR&SC’s National classes. After Qualifying on Saturday, the first Gp2 race is scheduled for 11.20am on Sunday, followed immediately by the first Gp4 encounter.