A host of new names join the roster as the winds of change blow through the Suzuki Challenge Series, with driver and sponsor changes confirmed ahead of the second season, which starts Bushy Park Barbados during this weekend’s Glassesco Valvoline John ‘Tiny’ Harrison Memorial Race Meet.
Organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), the weekend will feature a total of 17 races, with a double-header on both days (Saturday & Monday, March 26 & 28) for the Swift Cup and the single opening round of the SR3 Cup on Monday. Saturday’s races will start from the Southern Grid, right in front of pit lane, with spectator viewing from the Open-Air Suites accessed via the Pit Gate. Monday will run from the Northern Grid.
Reigning Champion, Trinidad & Tobago’s Ryan Peyrau (Team Suzuki), returns to defend his title, but will face some new challenges. Also returning for this weekend’s curtain-raiser to the second season are Ryan Wood (Team Digicel) and Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol), who finished fourth and fifth last year, along with fellow top 10 finishers Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) and Kenrick Husbands (Team Williams Industries).
Daryl Clarke, who finished third last year, is unavailable this weekend, with an announcement due shortly to confirm a replacement driver. The father and son duo of Freddie and Barry Gale in the Team Gale’s Agro Products entry will also return to the series, with Freddie racing on Monday and Barry yet to be confirmed for Saturday.
The list of experienced newcomers is headed by Dane Skeete (Team Simpson Finance), standing in for last year’s runner-up David Summerbell Jnr; along with Rhett Watson, Skeete won the right to represent Barbados in ROC Caribbean during the Race Of Champions in 2014, so is no stranger to a Suzuki Swift Sport.
On Wednesday this week, Bushy Park hosted a Swift Cup Drive Off to fill the vacant seats at Team ICBL and Team Rock Hard Cement. Paul Bourne has chosen not to return, while Mark Thompson has been handed a 12-month suspension from BPMSI race meetings following an incident involving Summerbell at the Swift Cup final last month. He was excluded on the day and the incident referred to the Club Stewards for further investigation; the penalty was awarded on safety grounds, also breaches of BPMSI by-laws and code of conduct on the basis that it was a premeditated and deliberate act that compromised the safety of another competitor.
Kyle Catwell will now represent Team ICBL, returning to Bushy Park, where he had raced before the redevelopment; Team Rock Hard Cement’s colours – along with a striking new livery – will be carried by Carlos Edwards, who has won titles in both circuit racing and stage rallying.
The Team Suzuki Swift Sport campaigned for the second half of last season by Jamaica’s Samantha Summerbell, will now be driven by 2015 Martinique Hillclimb Champion Pascal Calvel, bringing the French Caribbean island back into the competition; it was formerly represented by Jean-Philippe Mongaillard, but only for last year’s opening round.
The final change is of both sponsor and driver, with RBC and Arron Parris joining forces. Parris won 20 races at Old Bushy Park and the Group 2A title in 2003, and has returned recently, in Easykart 125, in which he was runner-up last season.
In the Radical SR3 Cup, a clashing commitment will keep Guyana’s Calvin Ming away this weekend, but the excellent form of Mark Maloney in the final round of the SR3 Winter Cup and the continuing progress of Suleman Esuf will still give Reigning Champion Sean Maloney some food for thought on Monday.
Suzuki Challenge Series
Swift Cup, round 1, Saturday: 11.00am – Practice; 12.00pm – Qualifying
12.45pm – Race 1 (8 laps); 1.45pm – Race 2 (8 laps); 2.40pm – Race 3 (8 laps)
Swift Cup, round 2, Monday: 11.40am – Race 1 (8 laps); 1.20pm – Race 2 (8 laps); 3.40pm – Race 3 (8 laps)
SR3 Cup, round 1, Monday: 10.30am – Practice; 11.00am – Qualifying
12.20pm – Race 1 (12 laps); 2.00pm – Race 2 (12 laps); 4.20pm – Race 3 (12 laps)
Suzuki Challenge Series – Swift Cup, rounds 1 & 2
1 Ryan Peyrau – T&T (Team Suzuki)
2 Derek Edwards (Team Digicel)
3 Ryan Wood (Team Digicel)
4 Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals/Sol)
5 Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance)
6 Kenrick Husbands (Team Williams Industries)
7 Freddie Gale (Team Gale’s Agro Products)
8 Pascal Calvel – MTQ (Team Suzuki)
9 Carlos Edwards (Team Rock Hard Cement)
10 Kyle Catwell (Team ICBL)
11 Arron Parris (Team RBC)
12 Dane Skeete (Team Simpson Finance)
Suzuki Challenge Series – SR3 Cup, round 1
5 David Coelho – T&T
7 David Simpson
14 Suleman Esuf
16 Stuart Maloney
22 Sean Maloney
86 Mark Maloney