An expanded grid of Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS sports racers will contest the first two rounds of the Suzuki Challenge Series Winter Cup during Radical International at Bushy Park Barbados this weekend (January 23/24). Newcomers from the wider Caribbean and further afield have arrived in the island to take on the established racers in the SR3 Cup, which offers the fastest racing in the region.
The visitors introduce a mix of youth and experience, which promises some action-packed racing. Two regional drivers will race on the 2.01km International Circuit for the first time, as will four from the UK – one of them will even be racing for the first time ever – while a local driver is embarking on his first season of circuit racing, after achieving success in drag racing and karting.
Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI) will stage four hours of action each day; Saturday’s programme will run from noon, with practice, qualifying and three races each for the SR3 Cup and Swift Cup, with a similar schedule on Sunday from 9.00am.
Guyana’s Calvin Ming arrived in the island today (Monday) from Florida, where he has been studying, ready to embark on a punishing schedule of racing. In addition to a US karting programme – the 19-year-old claimed his first Stateside race win in karts last year – the former Guyana Shifter Kart Champion is also competing in the NACAM Formula 4 Championship, to which he is now adding the Suzuki Challenge Series.
Before moving into F4, he finished on the podium in his first weekend racing a single-seater, in the US FF1600 finals, last October, then finished fourth in the pre-season F4 demo race at the Mexican GP. After the opening round of the Championship proper in December, he lies ninth, with the second round one week after Radical International.
Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho is best known in the island as a rally driver, having won the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Group N Championship last year in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. His record also includes winning titles in motocross, bike and car racing – the Carib Stock Car series in 2005 – and karts, with a record number of pole positions, race wins and fastest laps and a hat-trick of T&T Rotax 125cc titles. Since his switch to rallying in 2010, he has done no racing: “I definitely need seat time and to become reacquainted with wheel-to-wheel competition and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. I have always loved circuit racing and this is probably the most hi-tech sophisticated car that I will ever be fortunate enough to race.”
As he prepares for his first season of circuit racing, Suleman ‘Sol’ Esuf is just as enthusiastic about the Radical SR3 as Coelho; after testing in December, he said he was “absolutely blown away by its capabilities.” Esuf first competed with the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD), clocking fastest quarter-mile times in his Evo IX at Thicketts in 2013 & ’14, then finished third in the Barbados Karting Association BKA 125 Shifter Class last year.
Three stalwart British Radical campaigners of recent years will race at Bushy Park for the first time, although Brian Caudwell, who has a holiday home in the island, tested there last winter in the car which was driven in the SR3 Cup Summer Series by Ryan Gonsalves of St Vincent & The Grenandines. Caudwell has raced in Britain and Europe for the past two seasons, finishing fourth in the UK Sprint Championship last year; a regular qualifier on the front two rows of the grid, he claimed a memorable victory from seventh on the grid in damp conditions at Donington Park last April.
Driving his Double Six Racing Radical, Caudwell will be in familiar company, as the UK contingent also includes David Frankland (Double D Racing) and Bill Henderson (Air Images Racing), who both have Radical racing careers dating back many years.
Finally, standing at 6ft 7ins, teenage newcomer Jack Manchester will become one of the tallest drivers on the Radical circuit, when he starts qualifying on Saturday. Based in the English Home Counties, the 17-year-old’s Bushy Park races will be his very first, although he has been testing since last August; he says his focus will be to continue learning, and he will “take each race as it comes”. Former F1 racer and Le Mans winner Mark Blundell and ex-Formula Renault Champion Kieren Clark have already been instrumental in Jack’s driver development programme. He will race the latest specification SR3 RSX, one of the four cars built up for ROC 2015 and raced in the first leg of the final, in which four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel beat nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen to the title Champion of Champions.