Excellent weather coupled with a day of quality and exciting racing marked the opening of the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) 2009 season yesterday at the South Dakota Circuit.
The races were nothing short of breathtaking as the drivers showed that they were eagerly awaiting the day’s event dubbed as round one of the National Race of Champions.
The day belonged to Paul Vieira who taught his younger brother Mark and his rival Andrew King that he too can be in the spotlight, as he made a clean sweep of Group ‘4’ which was the marquee event of the meet.
All the media hype for the season opener was built up around Mark Vieira and Andrew King and a mammoth crowd turned up to witness what was supposed to be the big showdown.
But from the very first race, fans of both drivers were left with their mouths wide open and speechless as they witnessed some clinical and tactical driving from the older Vieira.
Andrew King bowed out in the second lap of the first race due to engine failure which also kept him off the track for the rest of the day. In that race, the pace and power of Paul’s car was too much for Mark and the other drivers to handle, as the local race king came second and Keith Evelyn was third.
By this time, Paul’s name was the talk of the track as some spectators were heard saying: “Vieira (Mark) big brother is dah boss” and when they thought that he was through, he returned in the second race and bettered his previous performance and this time his younger brother had to settle for third as Evelyn took second.
In the last race as soon as his name was announced on the PA system everyone seemed convinced that he would win the race and he did, driving solo for most of the race as Mark once again booked third and Shawn King came second.
Paul Vieira, 41, said that he ran a flawless race because his machine unlike some of his other competitors had no problems. He even went on to declare that there is a new king of the circuit but Mark and Andrew would be back since they are both quality drivers. He also thanked his sponsors, Ansa McAl Limited for their support towards his success.
Meanwhile, in another crowd pleasing event, Steven `Valentino Rossi’ Vieira sporting his brand new 2008 Suzuki GSXR600, swept through the Supper Bikes category, finishing on top of all three of his races.
“Rossi is back!” Steven declared, speaking to the media after his fantastic run on the track. He said that he had only acquired the machine last week Wednesday and he is still trying to ‘feel out’ and get to know it better and was pleased with his performance. He commended Morris Mendez and Gregory Lopes who came in third and second respectively for showing good competitiveness.
In the Group ‘3’ category, Ravi Singh of Trinidad and Tobago blistered the track to take two wins out of the three races driving his Mazda RX7. The man from the twin-island republic in his first race whipped Guyana’s motor racing wonder boy Ryan Rahaman into second place while USA-based Kem Lall was third.
He then returned to take an easy win in front of Lall after Rahaman spun on turn number one in front of the club house. But in the third and final group 3 race of the day, racing fans were kept on their feet as Rahaman and Lall drove what turned out to be one of the best races of the day.
Lall came out as winner barely edging Rahaman down the last stretch while Singh came in a distant third.
But the young Rahaman would return to rule supreme in the Group 2B class to salvage some pride after taking a beating.
The group 2A class was turning out to be a promising showdown between two veterans, Chet Singh and Jad Rahaman but that excitement could not live past the first race which was won by Singh in front of his longtime foe.
In only the second race in that category, the two drivers were involved in an accident just after the start of the race in front of the club house. Rahaman (Jad) was also disqualified for dangerous driving while the damage to Singh’s car was too extensive for him to continue participating.
Christopher McLean rode beautifully to win two out of the three 125 motor cycle races. With only three competitors in each race, McLean lost his first race to Ravi Singh (not the car driver) and returned to receive standing ovations for his antics to claim the other two victories.
Kristian Jeffrey and Stanley Ming Jr in their Go-Karts refused to stay out of the day’s limelight, both winning their respective categories.
President of the GMR&SC Vishok Persaud said that yesterday’s event was the biggest and probably the best first meet showing and lauded the drivers and riders for putting on a great show for the crowd.
The beginning of the local season came as a warm-up for Guyana’s racers as they prepare for the first race in the Caribbean Race of Champions series which revs off in Jamaica on May 24.