Roje’s all revved up

This will be a big weekend for motorsports and one young man will be at the centre of it.

Whether it is dodging cones or burning up asphalt don’t be surprised if Roje Williams is a familiar face on and off the track.

Williams is competing at the first Time Attack race of the year tomorrow night.

That race, put on by the Cayman Motorsports Association, will be at Jay Bodden’s property on Sparky Drive off North Sound Road from 6pm.

From there he will turn his attention to organizing and helping out on race day for a drag meet at Breakers Speedway on Sunday.

Racing, put on by Breakers Speedway Owner Robert Campbell, will kick off from 2pm and last until roughly 6pm.

Williams is no stranger to the local race scene. The 23-year-old Newlands native has been racing for the last three years.

As Williams says his involvement with racing boils down to passion.

‘I love to race. I just love the sport. Every time there’s a race on the weekend I’m on the track.’

When Williams is ready to compete he can usually be seen behind the wheel of his 1995 black and blue Toyota Starlet.

Like many racers, Williams is also an avid tuner and admits he is far from finished with his ride.

‘The car has the power already to handle both drag racing and TA. But I just ordered parts and they should be in soon.

‘In the next couple of weeks I plan to tune the car for more power.’

A staunch Toyota supporter, Williams also has a black 1995 Starlet he calls his ‘project car’.

His black and blue Starlet certainly has the looks to impress, with a body-kit, rims and paint job that often evokes images of a soft drink rather than burning rubber.

But it is his modifications and range of performance parts that makes his car a machine against competition.

A 1.4 litre turbo engine, prominent aftermarket front-mount intercooler and other turbo goodies mixed in with suspension parts are big reasons why Williams is a solid performer at TA races.

Last year Williams was a consistent top finisher in the Front Wheel Drive class. At the last event in November Williams came second in the division and placed third on the championship run.

His success in those dexterity races and affinity for hitting apexes has Williams concentrating on strictly TA races this year.

‘I’ll be using the black and blue Starlet for TA for the rest of the year,’ Williams said. ‘I’ll take a break from drag racing this year but I’m sure my team, Front Line Racing, will pick up the slack.’

Front Line racing is a racing team Williams formed last summer.

Team members include Jason Henry (purple Nissan Sentra), Deandre Simpson (white Nissan Silvia), Jason Lee (black Nissan Pulsar), Renaldo Powery (silver Nissan Primera), Michael Parsons (silver Nissan Pulsar) and Williams.

Williams, the son of Brenda Dawkins, says the team consists of young men, all no older than 23, that share a love for the race track.

‘We used to hang out at Breakers and we just decided one day to come together and form a team.

‘Funny enough most of the team race with Nissans and I’m the lone Toyota man.’

An interesting side of the team is their commitment to helping out at Breakers Speedway.

‘When we’re not racing we help out Mr Campbell at the track. From track preparation to helping organize runs we just do everything in general we can do at Breakers.’

Williams himself has been at Campbell’s side since 2006. He’s worked in the background for almost all the memorable events at Breakers, including last September’s big meet.

When he’s not focusing on motorsports Williams spends his days keeping law and order as a local police officer.

Williams has been a police constable with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service for the last two and a half years.

It might be unusual to think of an officer being involved in motorsports, but as Williams can tell you, there is a stronger police presence on the scene than at first glance.

Reflecting on his earlier days in Cayman’s school system, Williams admits his commitment to racing and enforcing the law comes from a desire to make Cayman’s roads safer and reduce car fatalities.

‘I have lost many friends (including best friend Chadwick Wood) in car accidents and if I can do anything to promote safe racing I do it.

‘My goal is to grow safe racing and motorsports in Cayman. I’ll work with anyone – CHRA, CMA, whoever, it doesn’t matter – as long as it’s to do with improving local racing.’

One of the improvements being made on the local race scene will be seen at the TA races. At the last association meeting numerous changes to the TA format were announced.

One of the more notable changes was the proposed implementation of a formal championship and points ladder from this year onwards. In essence the races will take on a sort of NASCAR format with each event being a chance for drivers to nab points.

The racer with the most overall points at the end of the year is named the TA champion. Awards will also be given out across the different divisions and for various accomplishments.

For Williams this should make a significant impact on local racing in general.

‘The changes in TA are for the better. I see motorsports as a whole going forward. Through hard work and dedication we now have a racing league to call our own. It should be a very interesting year.’

Like all confident racers, Williams feels he has a decent chance at grabbing more accolades this year.

‘I think I have a good chance to win my division at TA. But I know I will face strong competition from the likes of Terry Ballard and Gary Bromfield.

‘Those guys will be a handful and I look forward to competing with them throughout the season.’

In the meantime Williams will be in the thick of things this weekend, taking on the curves and bumps that come his way on and off the road.