Racers kept vibes going

Local racers picked up where Beres Hammond left off as both rocked Sparky Drive over the weekend.

The Cayman Motorsports Association (CMA) held its monthly time attack race on Saturday 26 April. Starting from 8pm, some twenty drivers went to work carving up corners on the night.

The race, entitled Night Battle Three, was the fourth CMA event of the year. Jay Bodden’s property behind Progressive Distributors on Sparky Drive was the venue.

Even with the stage still in place after Beres Hammond, spectators came out in force. Some two hundred people showed up to drink, eat and delight in turbo spooling, tire chirping and booming exhausts singing their tune around the course.

The field of competitors providing the show were varied. Some were heavily modified race cars that were used to hitting an apex and sporting a tight suspension to do so. Others were street machines with all the bolt-on goodies from short-throw shifters to lowering springs to hang with the big boys.

Almost all the cars sported unique styling cues to match the power under the hood. From big rims and aggressive body kits to tall spoilers and vivid paint jobs, the crowd was treated to a vibrant display of sights and sounds.

The combination of style and power heightened the night’s intense competition. Drivers ran three preliminary runs in their respective classes as they pursued bragging rights.

Unlike last month, the front-wheel drive division fielded lots of competitors. Honda and Acura were the makes of choice as a couple of Civics and Integras were seen. With the naturally solid suspension and short gears those cars boast, it would be an uphill struggle for any other car to win.

In his first time out at a CMA event, Bryan Ebanks nearly beat the odds. In his blue Toyota Levin, Ebanks slid his way around the track in a time of 75.836s.

However, Ebanks would come up short. Gary Bromfield in his red Acura Integra emerged the winner with a time of 74.644s. Bringing up the rear in third place was last month’s winner Ivan McKain in the green Tony’s Toys Civic in a time of 76.961s.

In the rear-wheel drive section, one car was all the rage. Tom and Wayne Kirkconnell were the centres of attention with their orange Nissan 350z.

On the night, both showed they knew how to slide their ride around corners right. The crowd cheered as the brothers took turns gliding the 300hp beast on the track.

However, Sacha Tibbetts would steal the show. In his Mazda Miata, Tibbetts earned the win in a time of 74.224s. The Kirkconnell brothers were just behind with times of 75.000 and 76.230s respectively.

Just like last month, some of the fiercest racing went down in the all-wheel drive segment. Evolution IIIs were out in force and a Mitsubishi seemed bound for victory lane.

In the end, it all came down to experience. Grizzled veteran Tony Williams and his ageless red Evolution III roared to victory. In spite of power steering trouble last month, Williams laid down two solid runs and posted a time of 72.702s.

Young Alexander Connolly was right on his tail. In his black Evolution III, Connolly gave an inspired performance. His gold-rimmed monster crossed the line in a time of 73.294s. Norman Munroe came in third in his Evo III at 79.984s.

In the unlimited division, Andy Bodden’s white Mitsubishi Mirage was once again a force. However, on this occasion two of his close friends were behind the wheel.

Keith P. Tibbetts III and Peter Davies took turns with the stripped-out roadster. Both did well to keep the torque-laden machine on the track and ended up second in 74.855s and third in 78.384s respectively.

However, Chad Phillips came out the winner. He revved his Honda Civic to first place in 71.150s.

The evening concluded with the championship round. With Keith P. Tibbetts III unable to run his Impreza WRX, the race for first place was wide open.

Ten drivers slugged it out as they fought fatigue and pushed their machines to the limit.

Williams nabbed the title in his rock-solid Evo III. Williams won this month’s crown by over six seconds in a time of 110.971s. Sacha Tibbetts was second in his Miata with a time of 114.170s.

Following up on their heels was third-place finisher Wayne Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell’s 350z posted a time of 114.810s.

Head Time Attack Organiser Bobby Hulse thought the race saw many drivers run well.

‘Bryan Ebanks drove really, really well for his first time out. Also Alexander Connolly showed great improvement.

‘The rear-wheel drive section was a battle as the top three went back and forth. Also Chad Phillips in the unlimited class came back with two clean runs after starting out in a big deficit.’

This month’s winner, Tony Williams was pleased with the results.

‘Time attack is the best thing to happen to motor sports in the Cayman Islands in a long time. Time attack is the perfect way to hone your driving skills.

‘Whenever you have a ‘senior citizen’ mix it up with the youngsters and beat them soundly it has got to be fun. I would encourage everyone with a car who wants to have fun and improve their driving to join us.’

Evolution 3s sliced up corners on the track Photos: Matthew Yates

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