Countdown to Race of Champions begins!

There’ll be no shortage of high powered machinery at the South Dakota Circuit this Sunday, that’s for sure. All the overseas bikes and cars for this weekend’s Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club(GMR&SC) Race of Champions meet are in the country and are now being spruced up in preparation for the big day.

This is according to GMR&SC President Vishok Persaud. The overseas racers have also begun arriving in the country and some are already testing their machines. Super Bike King Kevin Graham is already in Guyana and speaking to the media yesterday said while he has officially retired from competitive racing; the Guyana appeal always lures him back to these shores. “It’s the crowds man, and the way the GMR&SC seem to have their stuff together. That’s why I always come back here, I love it,” Graham said from the comfort of Le Meridien Pegasus lobby yesterday. Graham will be taking on all comers, straddling a brand new bike specially imported by his sponsors Sunburst Orange Juice who will ensure that the bike remains in Guyana to avoid the shipping hassle of every local meet. “It’s gonna be a challenge riding this bike. It’s a 1000 cc bike and 600 cc bikes are ideally suited to the South Dakota circuit. But it’s the kind of bike where if you get it right then you can go really fast,” Graham said while hinting at his own lap record of 35:53 done back in 1999. Graham said he wasn’t prepared to make any predictions even in the face of the challenge thrown down by fellow speedster Craig Atkinson, noting that the biking fraternity is a tightly knit one.

Graham has handpicked Atkinson, Steven Vieira and Dua among the main contenders in the Super Bike category. Atkinson who has more than 15 races under his belt this year has emerged as the man to beat come Sunday. Graham says he is coming off a year long layoff but will be doing his utmost to lead from the front. But Canadian Rahul Dua got past the pleasantries to sound his own ominous warning. “Elbows out man, that’s all I gotta say. And if my bike is dialed in then regardless of all the talk of Craig and his blah blah, he better watch his back,” Dua said. Meanwhile, the Canadian team manager Keith Premdass said he is particularly impressed with the local crop of youngsters this year.

“This has got to be the strongest local team of guys out there and I am really impressed and looking forward to see especially what the youngsters are going to do,” Premdass remarked. Meanwhile, the group two and three racers continue their preparations for Sunday with engine checks and body work. At the Camp Rahaman based at the J.R Burger location in Station Street, Kitty, work was in progress when Stabroek Sport visited early yesterday afternoon. Apart from the work on the cars of Jad and Ryan Rahaman, the vehicles of Jamaicans David Summerbell and Doug Gore were also on display. The GMR&SC says this meet is taking shape as the largest ever locally with record overseas participation and record crowds expected.

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