Tibbetts finds extra edge again

Local racers had the speed and style to create automotive art on Sparky Drive over the weekend.

huggins

Huggins raced brilliantly as well as Tibbetts.
Photo: Matthew Yates

The Cayman Motorsports Association held its monthly time attack race on Saturday. Starting from 8pm, a record 21 drivers rolled to the starting line ready to showcase form and function.

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

It seems the increased media coverage paid dividends as spectators came out in force. The hundreds of people in attendance made their voices heard as they roared and cheered with every tire burned, blow off valve fired and each ride that redlined.

Like the previous time attacks, the competitors were a mixed bag. Some were grizzled veterans of the racing scene while the rest were newbie racers who were feeling out the race and their cars.

However the cars were the real highlights of the show. With new, bolder paint jobs, more aggressive body kits and interesting models the crowd certainly loved the flavour of the competition.

Among the crowd favourites was a lowered blue mid-Nineties Mazda Miata with chrome-lipped black rims and blue under body neon.

If the crowd had any doubt as to whether the cars belonged on the track then the rigid suspensions, spooling turbos and short-throw shifting would have laid their qualms to rest.

The truth is the spectators were treated to lots of tire chirping and booming exhausts on the night. Drivers ran three preliminary runs in their respective classes as they pursued bragging rights.

In the front-wheel drive division there were some nine competitors. Surprisingly, Toyota was the make of choice as a couple of Nineties Starlets took centre stage. In previous races, Honda Civics and Acura Integras were a dime a dozen.

With the powerful turbos and power-to-weight ratios Starlets possess it would be hard for any other car to come out on top.

As it would turn out, experience would be the deciding factor. The ageless Gary Bromfield, sporting a blacked-out Starlet, used his knowledge of the track well.

A Time Attack regular, his ability to hit the apex and speed out of the corners would launch him to victory in a time of 121.44 seconds.

However, Roje Williams made it a tight race. His eye-catching blue and black Starlet was a close second with a time of 122.49s. Jerad Ebanks was third with a time of 128.38s.

In the rear-wheel drive section, Toyota again dominated as the car maker had rides in the top three positions.

In spite of crowd favourite Wayne Kirkconnell bringing out his orange Nissan 350z, newbie Andrew Ngyou would steal the show in his black Altezza. His clean, consistent runs nabbed him the win in a time of 134.79s.

John Godfrey, armed with his torque-heavy red Supra, was second at 136.406s while Peter Jurgens and his white Altezza was just behind him at 136.410s.

As usual, some of the toughest racing went down in the all-wheel drive segment. Mitsubishi Evolution IIIs have become the weapon of choice though its arch-rival the Subaru Impreza Sti has won the majority of races.

Though both are turbocharged 300hp beasts driver familiarity with the track would be the decisive factor.

Keith P. Tibbetts III proved that as his new-look blue Impreza claimed the win in 119.086s which was the quickest time on the night. Tom Kirkconnell slid his gold-rimmed Evo III into second in 121.61s.

Rookie Craig Burke and his silver Evo III had claimed third place on his first run. However power steering problems put him out of commission the rest of the night.

Third place would instead go to another newcomer in Australian Sean O’Neil. O’Neil pushed his silver-winged blue Impreza to a time of 123.65s.

Unfortunately there wasn’t any competition in the unlimited division. Karyll Iton was the sole racer behind the wheel of a heavily modified Evo III.

To compensate organizers gave newcomers Nikko Miller and Marcus Huggins a chance to battle each other head-to-head.

Though the cars weren’t fast (Miller drove a white Corolla handed down from his grandmother while Huggins had a white Hyundai Accent) the drivers were given a quick introduction to racing.

In spite of Huggins’s pedigree as the son of local racer Gary Huggins, Miller would emerge the victor.

Miller’s final run, in which he shaved 15 seconds off his time, would prove to be the difference.

Even though he didn’t win Marcus achieved what he wanted from the race.

‘I was happy with my performance. My times got better every time I went out and that’s what I came to do.’

The evening concluded with the championship round. Drive train was thrown out the window as drivers competed for a first place prize courtesy of sponsors Automotive Art.

Ten drivers were put to the test as organizers created a tighter, faster course that would test their reactions and their fatigue.

Tibbetts III would emerge the winner in his Impreza. Tibbetts III barely won the crown at 64.79s. His time just beat an impressive run of 66.46s by Roje Williams.

Following up on their heels was third-place finisher Sean O’Neil. His Impreza posted a time of 68.89s.

Head Time Attack organiser Bobby Hulse said the event saw record participation.

‘We are always pleased with the turnouts of both spectators and racers but this time we had a record number of both.’

Wayne Kirkconnell, managing director of Automotive Art was pleased with the results.

‘As the sponsor we were very encouraged to see the level of participation, competition and patronage. We will continue to support CMA in any way we can to help build Motorsports in Cayman.’

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