An invitational race may have featured international drivers but it was local racers who stole the show.
On Sunday Breakers Speedway played host to the meet and the crowd of some 1,400 people that came out.
The crowd had been steadily increasing leading up to race day. On Friday night some 350 people showed up as racers tested and tuned their rides. Around 600 people were present on Saturday as dragsters made their qualifying runs.
The track-goers on Saturday were also witness to a scary miscue. American dragster Luis Ferrer rolled his dark-coloured Toyota Corolla as he slowed down at the end of his run.
The Corolla’s body was a wreck. However the engine was fine and Ferrer would walk away unharmed.
Nevertheless by Sunday, 81 drivers had registered for the event and brought out all the stops brandishing race-inspired imports, big-block muscle cars and nimble race bikes.
All the racers aimed to please as they pulled off consistent runs on the day, producing the kind of music only high-revving engines and long standing burnouts can make.
The crowd in return was boisterous. Many voices could be heard, from the race area down to the concession stand, howling with pleasure with every exhaust note, spooling turbo and rumbling engine that hurtled down the track.
Many men would be praised on the day. With action split into four time classes and a motorcycle section the chances were there for local racers to step up and prove their worth.
To his credit, Frank Muniz and his yellow drag-prepped Toyota Supra left a lasting impression. His huge burnouts and sizzling sprints down the asphalt straight, left onlookers in awe and in shock.
However Armando Ebanks and Kevin Johnson would forever etch their names in local folklore.
Ebanks, armed with his strawberry coloured Ford Mustang, would make the save of the year.
In the 6 second class he would battle Billy Ebanks and his green Dodge Duster.
The Duster, with its extra thick drag slicks and huge hood scoop, made their battle look every bit like a clash of the titans.
All eyes were on the two beasts as they staged at the line. When they launched the crowd would let out a collective gasp as Armando’s Mustang wheeled into the air.
With over 1000hp available to the wheels and over CI$15,000 under the hood it’s not a stretch to imagine Armando’s chassis and tires being overwhelmed in a heartbeat.
Soon his car would be seen swerving in and out of his lane. He struggled to maintain control and somehow found a way to stop the car without hitting Billy Ebanks or the wall nearby.
In an unusual display from the crowd, Armando would receive a hero’s welcome back at the starting line. Members of the crowd clapped and shouted ‘good save Armando’ while the forgotten Billy Ebanks quietly made his way off the track.
Kevin Johnson meanwhile, in his white Mitsubishi Evolution III, was under pressure. His boosted, lowered and lightened ride went up against other Evos, muscle cars and a host of lightning quick Japanese rockets in the 7 second class.
Yet Johnson would not falter. He was calm before going into action, relaxing in the shade and making last-minute tweaks. On the line he kept a cool head, a focused face and a steady hand on his shift knob.
Ultimately Johnson would make it to the finals of his class where he met up with another experienced racer. Jodi Jervis, in his silver Nissan Skyline GT-S, would give Johnson and the hyped crowd a run for the ages.
Both men are no stranger to each other. In Antigua, where both raced earlier in the year, Jervis ran a time of 11.2s at 125mph while Johnson posted a mark of 10.9s at 130mph.
Yet the odds seemed to be against Johnson. Jervis had run well on the day, vanquishing most opponents with ease. His Skyline was equipped with a GT-R motor that makes over 300hp stock.
All of that went out of the window on race day. As both cars staged at the line, an anxious crowd nervously watched as the lights went amber three times before turning green.
Both launched at the same time though Jervis’ edge in low-end power and torque had him slightly in front. As the two propelled down the 1/8 mile stretch it was neck and neck.
Johnson would dig deep, hit his shifts and just edge across the line past Jervis. The crowd went mad.
Spectators yelled wildly, holding their fingers up to the sky and grinning with glee. Some even went so far as to run onto the track and celebrate putting their bodies into all sorts of positions.
Special mention must also go to record-breaking youngster Jason Henry. The 19 year old, in a dark-coloured Nissan Sentra SE-R, broke the record for fastest front-wheel drive car with a time of 7.914s.
When it was all said and done, five men would walk away with the ultimate bragging rights.
Humberto Rives, with his red Suzuki Hayabusa, would win the motorcycle class in convincing fashion.
The likes of Ross Hydes and a contingent of Cuban racers would make Rives work for it but the Hayabusa’s power would seal the win for Rives.
In the 9 second class, Lionel Durrant in his white Evo III came away the undisputed winner.
Deandre Simpson and his white Nissan Silvia seemed to be the favourite but Durrant’s experience would be the deciding factor.
As the times got lower the amount of competitors went up. The 8 second class proved this point as a plethora of cars came out to compete including Nissan Skylines, Evos and American muscle.
Big-block power went unmatched on the day leading Tony Brown and his green Camaro to the win.
As noted earlier Kevin Johnson in his white Evo III would win the 7 second class in dramatic fashion. Of note were the abundance of competitors and cars from a Chevrolet Corvette to a Mazda RX-7.
Finally in the 6 second class the heavy hitters were out in force and meant business.
Muscle cars like the Ford Mustang were the weapon of choice. Dale Davis, in his black Mustang, proved there’s no replacement for displacement as he grabbed the win and set a new track record for local drivers.
At the end of the day, Cayman played host to a weekend of automotive bliss. With an abundance of captivating runs and amazing rides the buzz from this race will be sure to stay with spectators and enthusiasts for months to come.