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Region’s speedsters for ROC

Trevor Thorpe

Region’s speedsters for ROC

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Regional unity could be in for a major boost with the staging of the Race of Champions (ROC) at Bushy Park on December 13 and 14.

President of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), Andrew Mallalieu said the federation is pleased that in conjunction with Race Of Champions and the Bushy Park Circuit Inc. (BPCI) that they are able to provide a showcase for Caribbean champions at such a prestigious event.

“We believe that events like this will strengthen our regional unity, and will be a stepping stone to creating a true Caribbean championship at all levels and in many disciplines,” the BMF president said.

Two-driver teams have been confirmed to represent Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in the inaugural ROC Caribbean during the event.

Regional drivers have been invited by the BMF, after consultation with each territory’s motorsport ASN – the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC), Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC) and Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Sports Association (TTASA).

Team Guyana will be a mix of youth and experience with veteran driver Mark Vieira, who has won multiple GMR&SC championships titles, joined by Kristian Jeffrey, a former GMR&SC kart and superbike champion.

Vieira has also won karting titles in North America, along with the Canadian Automobile Sports Club Rookie Of The Year 2013 on his car racing debut.

Jamaica’s team will comprise Doug “Hollywood” Gore and Jeffrey “Fudgie” Panton, a pair with numerous titles.

Gore, the defending Caribbean Motor Racing champion, has won more than 20 championship titles.

He was the Caribbean Rally champion in 1997 and won Rally Mexico in 2000, while Panton is an eight-time winner of Rally Jamaica and a former JMMC champion driver. Panton holds the distinction of having won the region’s ‘Big Three’ – Rally Barbados on tarmac, and Rally Jamaica and Rally Trinidad on gravel.

An impressive team has also been named for Trinidad and Tobago and includes Franklyn Boodram, son of the legendary Frankie Boodram, a seven-time TTASA national champion. He is joined by David Coelho, a former Trinidad & Tobago Karting Association champion, who was Rally Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club Rookie of the Year in 2010.

Internationally, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch, reigning ROC Champion of Champions and FIA Rallycross champion Petter Solberg, have already been confirmed, along with Lotus Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean. Also confirmed are nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen; World Touring Car champion José Maria “Pechito” López; Indy500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay; V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and Williams F1 test driver Suzie Wolff.

They will race head-to-head against the host nation at Bushy Park on Saturday, December 13, for the honour of being crowned ROC Caribbean champion.

One driver from Barbados and one from the wider Caribbean will then qualify for Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions, where they will race against champions from across the world.

In the Group Stage, the four national teams will race against each other in a series of heats, each comprising two identical cars over one complete lap of the parallel track.

The final, between the two best teams from the Group Stage, will comprise three heats, with the first team to win two heats being crowned ROC Caribbean champion.

In addition, the driver from Barbados with the fastest heat time in the Group Stage (in a car both have driven) and the one driver from the other national teams with the fastest heat time in the Group Stage (in a car all have driven) will qualify for Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions.

The Suzuki ROC Barbados Challenge – Suzuki Rocks – to select Team Barbados, is already under way, and will end with The Final/JDM Squared Street Champions at Bushy Park on Sunday.