Each season in the various motorsports disciplines conceives a family of possibilities. Teams and drivers, during the off-season spend many sleepless nights wrenching and coordinating their activities to ensure that when the green flag unfurls, signalling the beginning of Race 1, of hopefully, their championship-claiming year, they will be thoroughly prepared and appropriately equipped for the difficult road (racetrack) ahead.
As the 2013 circuit racing season came to a close, I was approached by a close friend of mine who conveyed that he wanted to assist a Team/driver to prepare for the 2014 season. My friend is a proud ‘Honda-man’. This is an individual who by his words and his deeds recognises Honda as God’s gift to the automotive world.
I will hasten to inform you though that there is a massive number of females who share this view as well! Disheartened by the lack of reliable and consistent performance displayed by one of his idols (Honda Civic Type R), he indicated that he wanted to play an active role in the preparation of the machine. I contacted the owner/driver of the Type R. He welcomed the idea because as he said sometimes he simply does not have the help he needs to prepare the machine. I have been present on numerous occasions at the shop where the machine was being built and I am fully aware of all that was done to prepare the machine for the 2014 season.
So I speak from a seat of knowledge when I say the fact that a machine is present on race-day is an accomplishment. The opening round of the JRDC’s 2014 circuit racing season was as highly anticipated as the verdict in Kartel’s trial! The off-season saw heightened activity in camps across the ‘rock’, as teams made modifications of one form or another inorder to ensure that their machine had a harmonious meeting with the 2014-2016 technical regulations.
Carnival of Speed
As I stated in an earlier blog, the drivers meeting at Liguanea Club had a few tense moments but, it was evident then, that despite their concerns, the drivers were committed to the process. Qualifying on Sunday at Dover Raceway saw the paddock busy as teams/drivers completed final checks before the machines welcomed the track.
There were several glitches throughout the day and during the drivers briefing at the end of the day’s activities, Chief Clerk of the Course, Larry Henriques, did not mince his words. He apologised for the various issues which arose but indicated that he would play his role in ensuring that the best meet possible would be available to the fans and even though it was not said, the pensive poise of the drivers confirmed that they were all unified and supported Larry’s position.
Larry continued the briefing and outlined the activities for race-day. He confirmed that Thundersport Qualifying would be on the track in the morning (Monday).
We got to the track early, a few minutes after 7 am and Dover was buzzing with activity. Machines were on-track, vendors exchanging food for currency, fans in the queue for tickets and entry. Doug Gore was absent but apparently interest in the sport was still at a Blue Mountain high!
Doug Gore’s machine (2012)
We settled in quickly and when I went in search of a tasty Jamaican breakfast the Thundersport machines greeted the Dover faithful for their qualifying session. The vendors, thanks to improvements over time, occupy upgraded, customer-friendly mini-restaurants. I sat, got my breakfast and was in the process of familiarizing myself with my rural treat and then it happened.
From my vantage point I could see a group of men dressed in blue and red shirts, distributing high -fives recklessly. My pupils, despite assisting in identifying Stephen Gunter as one of the individuals in the celebrating-group, had a difficult time tracking him – his rapid movements resembled those of a practicing Olympic gymnast! It was evident, even to the vendor who was complaining earlier that it would not be the same because Doug Gore was absent – David Summerbell Jr broke the lap record!
Summerbell’s machine (2012)
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer