Suzuki Challenge Series returns this weekend

Suzuki Challenge Summer Series winners Sean Maloney (SR3 Cup) and Jamaica’s David Summerbell Jnr (Swift Cup) head for Bushy Park Barbados this weekend (January 23/24) determined to continue where they left off in October. Radical International 2016 plays host to the first two rounds of the Winter Cup, in which each Champion will face renewed challenges.

Following the six-round Summer Series, the Winter Cup is a shorter competition, with a third round scheduled for late February, after which the Winter Cup Champions will be declared, along with the overall winners of the inaugural Suzuki Challenge Series. While Summerbell’s fellow-racers this weekend are all known quantities, Maloney will face a number of newcomers on an expanded Radical SR3 grid.

A few minor rules changes will also come into effect. In the Swift Cup, drivers will be able to take the Joker Lap on the first lap of each race, previously not allowed. In the SR3 Cup, the race distance will be 15 laps, while the race two reverse grid will affect only the top 50 per cent of the finishers in race one, in line with Radical UK practice.

On Saturday, patrons will enjoy special access to the Open-Air Suites in the Automotive Art Pits Complex, a rare opportunity to view racing from the south side of the circuit. The starting grid will be moved back to the Pits Straight for that day only, providing thrilling viewing for spectators, as cars surge downhill from the start, jostling for position into the ‘Ws’, which becomes the first corner of the lap.

Competition has been intense in the Swift Cup, as drivers dig deep to focus on their driving skills to find the smallest margins of advantage. The identical Swift Sports, race-prepared in Barbados from standard production cars, more than lived up to the target of providing competitive and evenly-matched racing, as the stats show:

  • six drivers won races
  • a further four drivers finished on the podium
  • every regular contender finished in the top six at least once
  • eight drivers set fastest laps
  • in Qualifying for Round 5, the top 10 were covered by less than 1sec

Despite missing the opening round, multiple Champion Summerbell (Team Simpson Finance) soon settled to the task, claiming his first podium finish, then his first race win, in round three, before four more victories carried him to the title. He is yet to start from pole position – Q2 for round five is his best.

Daryl Clarke (Team Digicel) had taken a good look at his driving style before the day/night double-header final round in October . . . and with great results. Having finished second three times in earlier rounds, he claimed his first pole position of the year, then finally climbed the top step of the podium, twice in the last three races of the year, finishing the Summer Season just 18 points adrift of Champion Summerbell.

While those end-of-term reports speak of progress during the season, for Mark Thompson and Trinidad & Tobago’s Ryan Peyrau, very much the opposite happened. Thompson (Team Hard Rock Cement) took a commanding early lead, with pole position, two race wins and a third in round one, but it soon started to unravel, as the studious Peyrau (Team Suzuki) turned on the pressure. The other winner in round one, he went on claim a hat-trick of pole positions – that from round two stands as the Qualifying record – and three race wins to enter the final in a strong position. It wasn’t strong enough, however, particularly in the face of the invigorated Clarke, and Peyrau dropped to third at year-end, with Thompson fourth, rarely recapturing his early-season form.

Clarke’s team-mate Ryan Wood’s season was a roller-coaster, but he showed determination throughout, winning three races, including a memorable Digicel one-two with Clarke in the penultimate race to finish fifth in the Summer Series. With just nine races in three rounds to make their mark in the Winter Cup, Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) and Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals) will be keen to break their duck as winners, while Summerbell’s daughter Samantha (Team Suzuki) returns to build on her experience of the second half of last season.

The expanded grid of Suzuki-powered Radical SR3s brings newcomers from the wider Caribbean and further afield to take on the established racers of the Summer Series, led by Champion Maloney and his two brothers Mark and Stuart, who finished second and third in the points. Between them, they won 16 of the 18 races, their most determined challenger being Guyana’s Mark Vieira, who won the other two, to finish fourth. David Simpson, in his first season of racing, finished fifth, with a best result of second.

As these five return to action, the visitors introduce a mix of youth and experience, along with international flavour, drivers having travelled from England, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States. Local driver Suleman Esuf is joining the Suzuki Challenge Series for all of 2016, along with David Coelho (T&T) and Guyana’s Calvin Ming, while Jack Manchester from the UK will contest just the Winter Cup.

Coelho, who won Group N in the Barbados Rally Club Championship last year, returns to racing, in which he has won titles in karts and cars; Esuf is embarking on his first season of circuit racing, having enjoyed success in drag racing and karting; former Guyana Shifter Kart Champion Ming will be combining a Radical race programme with karting in the US and the NACAM Formula 4 Championship in Mexico.

Standing at 6ft 7ins, teenage newcomer Manchester will become one of the tallest drivers on the Radical circuit, when he starts qualifying on Saturday. The 17-year-old’s Bushy Park races will be his very first, although he has been testing since last August. He will race the latest specification SR3 RSX, one of the four cars built for Race Of Champions 2015 in London.

In addition, England’s Brian Caudwell, David Frankland and Bill Henderson will compete in this weekend’s Radical International, along with Jim Parr from the USA, who enjoyed his first-ever outing in a race car at Bushy Park last March, in the opening round of the SR3 Cup Summer Series.

Caudwell has raced a Radical in Britain and Europe for the past two seasons, finishing fourth in the UK Sprint Championship last year, former motorcycle racer Frankland, who is in his 11th season racing Radicals, was the Invitation Class Champion in 2011, while ex-karter Henderson has also raced Radicals since 2006, with a good record of wins and podium finishes, not only in Radical events, but also in other Championships where Radicals are eligible.

Youth and experience expands grid for Radical SR3 Cup

 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.

Radical International launches new Bushy Park season

 Bushy Park Barbados will launch the new motor sport season on Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, with an innovative new fixture, Radical International 2016. The St Philip facility will host drivers from the wider Caribbean and further afield as part of its on-going programme to promote the venue and the island as the hub of motor sport in the region.

  Organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), the weekend will play host to the first two rounds of the Suzuki Challenge Series Winter Cup, with three races each for the Radical SR3s and Swift Sports on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning; Saturday’s programme will run from noon to 4.00pm, with Sunday’s action planned from 9.00 to 1.00pm. Newcomers are joining the entry list in both series, while demonstrations of other models from the Radical Sportscars range are also included in the programme.

  BPCI Business Development & Marketing Manager Zoe Manning said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming some fresh faces to race at Bushy Park through this new initiative. We have drivers from Britain and the United States signed up and a container is on its way across the Atlantic to the Bridgetown Port.

  “Working with our friends at Radical in the UK, we intend to grow this into an annual fixture, as it is ideally timed for Radical racers overseas to travel here with their cars before their own local season starts. This is very much a trial event, but the response has been encouraging, so we’re looking to build on this for the future.”

  Suzuki Challenge Summer Series winners Sean Maloney (SR3 Cup) and Jamaica’s David Summerbell Jnr (Swift Cup) will each be hoping to kick off the second part of his campaign by reaching Winner’s Row. Following the six-round Summer Series, the Winter Cup is a shorter competition, with a third and final round scheduled for late February, after which the Winter Cup Champions will be declared, along with the overall winners of the inaugural Suzuki Challenge Series.

  Since it was established in 1997 – the original Clubsport model was an immediate success – Radical has sold more than 1,900 cars, which are enjoyed by club racers and trackday enthusiasts the world over. The range of cars and power units has expanded steadily, more advanced models now a regular sight in the higher echelons of motor sport, including the Le Mans 24 Hours and other international endurance events on both sides of the Atlantic.

  Radical’s most popular model is the SR3, as campaigned in the Suzuki Challenge Series at Bushy Park; the 1,000th chassis has recently been completed and is on display this week at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Radical’s stand at Autosport International (January 14-17), the annual show which brings together the world of motor sport under one roof, from Karting to Formula 1.

  When Bushy Park Barbados hosted Race Of Champions 2014 last December, some of the local Radicals were used on the Saturday during ROC Caribbean, won by the Team Barbados pairing of Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson. This was a first involvement for Radical in ROC, which developed this year, when the factory was asked to build four of the latest specification RSX models for ROC 2015, which was staged in London’s Olympic Park in November. The cars featured in multiple heats throughout the weekend, as well as 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.

  One of these cars is being shipped to Barbados, along with the race cars for visiting British drivers; also in the shipment, for demonstration use, are a 1340cc Suzuki-engined Radical SR1 Cup car and an RXC V8 Coupé, powered by Radical’s in-house designed and manufactured RP-V8 series engine. In continuous development since 2004, with more than 300 manufactured to date, the RP unit’s many successes include powering a Radical SR8LM to the Nürburgring Nordschleife Production Car Lap Record in 2009 . . . breaking the previous record from 2005, set in a Radical SR8. Both still top the fastest laps table, ahead of more recently-established times from a Porsche 918 Spyder, Lamborghini Aventador LP and Nissan GT-R Nismo.

  Based in the English Midlands city of Peterborough, roughly 100 miles north of London, Radical has a worldwide network of more than 20 distributors, including six in North America and spread as far afield as Australia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Summerbell and Maloney inaugural Suzuki Champions

David Summerbell Jnr and Sean Maloney are Champions of the Swift Cup and SR3 Cup respectively. Each left the best until last, having sat in third place going into the final double-header at Bushy Park Barbados on Saturday (October 17), as the Summer Season of the inaugural Suzuki Challenge Series came to a dramatic floodlit conclusion.

Multiple Jamaican Champion Summerbell (Team Simpson Finance) added two Swift Cup race wins to his three from earlier rounds, one each before and after nightfall, placing second in two more of the day’s six races, to amass sufficient points to claim the title, despite his first zero score for the season, in round six, race two. Meanwhile, his finish one place behind teenage daughter Samantha (Team Suzuki) in round five, race two, will surely be a topic of discussion at family gatherings for some years to come.

Ryan Peyrau (Team Suzuki) and Mark Thompson (Team Rock Hard Cement) were each ahead of Summerbell in the standings before the final, but endured a race day to forget. Series leader since round two, Trinidad & Tobago’s Peyrau, had three race wins and three consecutive pole positions to his credit; he qualified only fifth on Saturday, the start of a disappointing day, with third place in round five, race one, his best result.

From first-round leader Thompson’s perspective, things were even worse, losing fourth place in round five, race one, to a penalty, then struggling to find his form for the rest of the day. Peyrau and Thompson slipped to third and fourth in the final reckoning behind an inspired Daryl Clarke. The Team Digicel driver claimed his first Swift Cup pole position on the final lap of qualifying, then logged five podium finishes out of six, including two race wins (it would have been three, but for a penalty in round five, race one) to leapfrog into second place, 18 points behind Summerbell, while bringing the total of race-winners to six in the 18 races.

Two wins went to Clarke’s team-mate Ryan Wood, bringing his total for the season to three, while Clarke followed him over the Joker Lap on the last lap of round six, race two, for a Team Digicel one-two. Others to shine included: Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals), whose solid results lifted him to seventh; Paul Bourne (Team ICBL), who scored points in all six races, including a fine second in round five, race two; Samantha Summerbell, who put the experience gained in round four to good use, finishing five of the day’s six races in the points, with a best result of sixth, having run in a confident third place until just after half-distance.

In the SR3 Cup for Suzuki-powered Radical sports racers, qualifying and race lap record-holder Sean Maloney was in unbeatable form, at least in the first four races of the day. Having qualified second to brother Mark for round five, race one, he rocketed into a lead he was not to lose, closing the gap in the title chase. Series leader pre-weekend, Stuart Maloney looked set to reassert himself in round five, race two, until a mistake two corners from home handed Sean a second victory, with David Simpson claiming a career-best second place.

By now leading the Series standings, Sean sealed the deal, leading every lap of the first two races run under floodlights, putting him more than 20 points ahead of Mark, who had also moved ahead of Stuart, thanks to two seconds and two thirds. Stuart won round six, race two, briefly moving ahead of Mark in the points, but slipped back to third after the final race, a determined Mark Maloney snatching victory on the last lap on a day in which the shortened race distances for the SR3 Cup created some of the closest competition of the season, particularly once night had fallen.

Experienced Guyanese racer Mark Vieira, who had enjoyed his best weekend of a steadily improving season at the previous round, was not in luck on Saturday, two podium finishes in six races a disappointing end to the year, fourth in the standings. Simpson added a further podium finish to his second place in round five, race two, to move into fifth in the year-end points table, ahead of Ryan Gonsalves of St Vincent & The Grenadines.

Suzuki Challenge Series, round 5 (October 17)

Swift Cup Race 1: 1st David Summerbell Jnr – JAM (Team Simpson Finance); 2nd Daryl Clarke (Team Digicel); 3rd Ryan Peyrau – T&T (Team Suzuki); 4th Jason Parkinson (Team Infra Rentals); 5th Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance); 6th Kurt Thompson (Team Glassesco); 7th Kenrick Husbands (Team Williams Industries); 8th Samantha Summerbell – JAM (Team Suzuki); 9th Mark Thompson (Team Rock Hard Cement); 10th Paul Bourne (Team ICBL); 11th Ryan Wood (Team Digicel) Race 2: 1st Wood; 2nd Bourne; 3rd Parkinson; 4th Read; 5th Clarke; 6th S Summerbell; 7th D Summerbell; 8th M Thompson; 9th Peyrau; 10th K Thompson; 11th Husbands Race 3: 1st D Summerbell; 2nd Parkinson; 3rd Clarke; 4th Wood; 5th Read; 6th Peyrau; 7th Bourne; 8th Husbands; 9th S Summerbell; 10th K Thompson; 11th M Thompson

SR3 Cup Race 1: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd Mark Vieira – GUY; 3rd Mark Maloney; 4th David Simpson; 5th Stuart Maloney; 6th Doug Maloney; 7th Ryan Gonsalves – SVG Race 2: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd Simpson; 3rd M Maloney; 4th Gonsalves; 5th Vieira; 6th Stuart Maloney; 7th D Maloney Race 3: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd M Maloney; 3rd Vieira; 4th Stuart Maloney; 5th Simpson; 6th Gonsalves; 7th D Maloney

Suzuki Challenge Series, round 6 (October 17)

Swift Cup Race 1: 1st Clarke; 2nd D Summerbell; 3rd Husbands; 4th M Thompson; 5th Read; 6th Peyrau; 7th Parkinson; 8th K Thompson; 9th Bourne; 10th S Summerbell; 11th Wood Race 2: 1st Wood; 2nd Clarke; 3rd Read; 4th Parkinson; 5th Peyrau; 6th Husbands; 7th Bourne; 8th M Thompson; 9th K Thompson; 10th S Summerbell; 11th D Summerbell Race 3: 1st Clarke; 2nd D Summerbell; 3rd Read; 4th Wood; 5th M Thompson; 6th Husbands; 7th Parkinson; 8th Bourne; 9th K Thompson; 10th Peyrau; 11th S Summerbell

SR3 Cup Race 1: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd M Maloney; 3rd Simpson; 4th Orry Hunte; 5th Vieira; 6th Gonsalves; 7th Stuart Maloney Race 2: 1st Stuart Maloney; 2nd M Maloney; 3rd Hunte; 4th Simpson; 5th Vieira; 6th Sean Maloney; 7th Gonsalves Race 3: 1st M Maloney; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Hunte; 5th Gonsalves; 6th Vieira; 7th Simpson

Suzuki Challenge Series – Final Positions

Swift Cup: Champion D Summerbell 228 points; 2nd Clarke 210pts (*233pts); 3rd Peyrau 203pts (*222pts); 4th M Thompson 183pts (*189pts); 5th Wood 174pts (*194pts); 6th Read 163pts (*181pts); 7th Parkinson 142pts; 8th Husbands 108pts; 9th Barry Gale (Team Gale’s Agro Products) 92pts; 10th K Thompson 66pts (*74pts); 11th Sean Gill (Team Suzuki) 46pts; 12th Bourne 41pts; 13th Karl Waterman (Team Williams Industries) 25pts; 14th S Summerbell 16pts; 15th Mark Kinch (Team ICBL) 12pts; 16th Jean-Philippe Mongaillard – FRA (Team Suzuki) 10pts

* lowest score discarded

SR3 Cup: Champion Sean Maloney 319 points; 2nd M Maloney 313pts; 3rd Stuart Maloney 303pts; 4th Vieira 244pts; 5th Simpson 167pts; 6th Gonsalves 149pts; 7th Allan Kinch 56pts; 8th Hunte 39pts; 9th K Thompson 26pts; 10th D Maloney 20pts; equal 11th Bradley Ellis – ENG & Simon Jean-Joseph – FRA 18pts; equal 13th Barry Gale & Jim Parr – USA 14pts

 

For more information on the Suzuki Challenge Series:
Web site: www.suzukichallengeseries.com
Facebook.com/suzukichallengeseries
e-mail: suzukichallenge@itcbgi.com

For further media information, contact: Suzuki Caribbean
e-mail: suzukichallenge@itcbgi.com