-Graham goes out with a bang
Motor racing fans and dignitaries occupying some of the country’s highest offices, including President Bharrat Jagdeo came out to witness this year’s first edition of the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) season opener yesterday at the South Dakota Circuit.
The exhilarating bumper-to-bumper races in the various categories were primarily incident free, even though some drivers were still familiarizing themselves with the new surface at the South Dakota track.
However, a few spills occured as drivers fought competitively to get the upper hand but none of the incidents was as startling as a collision on the last lap of the day’s second to last race that left Superbike rider, Carlos Rodrigues on a stretcher being whisked away at the back of an ambulance to the Club House for medical attention.
Rodrigues sustained injuries to his leg after being struck from behind by a wobbling Kevin Graham, who lost control of his superbike on the second turn, approaching the back stretch as he battled for second position with Rodrigues.
The Canadian, Graham, narrowly escaped serious injury after his bike burst into flames upon hitting the hot surface of the track and he went flying head over heels onto the circuit.
In the aftermath of the accident that left spectators rushing to the fences to observe what had occured, both bikes remained on their sides along with Rodrigues until the flames engulfing Graham’s gas tank was extinguished and Rodrigues was assisted by the ambulance personnel.
Prior to the incident Graham delivered a flawless show of superbike skill as he won the first two of the three superbike races with Rodrigues trailing in second on both occasions.
Steven Vieira was the winner of the final super bike race that took out Graham and Rodrigues with Maurice Menezes and Joel Neblett trailing in second and third positions respectively.
Meanwhile, with Vieira sitting out the Group Four races and Andrew King apparently having mechanical problems for the entire day, Kevin Jeffrey dominated the Group Four category without much of a challenge, except for a few threats from Paul Vieira, who ran up on Jeffrey’s rear wheels on a few occasions during the two races in the category.
Fans missed the opportunity to see a classic three-way showdown among Jeffrey, King and Vieira but also got their monies worth with Jeffrey’s dominance.
Jeffrey in his red Mitsubishi Evolution took the chequered flag in both of the Group Four races with Paul Vieira in hot pursuit to take the runner up positions.
Jeffrey did no participate in the Group Four and Three combined race which was comfortably won by Paul Vieira with Andrew King second and Keith Evelyn taking third place.
Trinidadian racer Ravi Singh was unstoppable in the Group Three category when the Group Three cars battled among themselves in three races in the day’s events.
Singh won all three Group Three races but not before facing strong challenges from Mahendra Boodhoo and Kamal Seebarran in the third and final race.
Fierce sibling rivalry between brothers Raj and Chet Singh for first positon ensured that the pair finished one-two in all three of the Group 2A races as they placed a choke hold on the category.
Chet Singh got the upper hand on his brother in the first two races as he beat him to the chequered flag on the final stretch, but Raj Singh exacted his revenge in the final Group 2A race when he was the first across the finish line.
Other notable drivers in group 2A were Aaron Bethune, who finished third in the first and final race of the category and Rafeek Khan, who took the third spot in the second race.
Raymond Mohamed ruled the circuit in the final two races of Group 2B after the first was won by Marcel Profitt.
The rookie drivers also made a name for themselves and proved that they deserved the same attention as the more experienced drivers and the faster cars.
Rookie Roshan Ali was the pro of his category as he raced ahead of his counterparts in all three rookie races. Other rookies such as Mohamed Ali and Christopher Young tried but couldn’t get past Ali and were restricted to second and third in each of the three races with Young ahead in the first and third race while Mohamed Ali bettered Young in the second
Meanwhile, when the lightning speed Go-Karts took to the circuit, Nikhail Seenaram came away with wins in the first two races while Stanley Ming junior won the third race to add to his second place finish in the first and second race.