The Cayman Motorsports Association’s Time Attack series got back underway for the 2009 season last weekend.
In the off-season the TA organizers did a complete revision of the rule book to further clarify the positions of the event to make for a more exciting series.
Among the notable changes for the year is that the Friday night registration is now mandatory. This was well received by the racers with 20 signing up for the registration at Parkers on Friday night.
Another change this year was a full championship points race with all competitors earning points based on their placing at each event towards crowning a champion in each group by year’s end.
According to CMA President and Head TA organizer Bobby Hulse the Saturday night event sponsored by Valvoline started off well with the new early 6pm start.
‘We had a few bugs to work out with the earlier start so we truly got going around 6:20pm. The first half of the field got started in the dusk while the last half of the field raced the first round in the dark.
‘We will have the timing perfected by the next event,’ Hulse said. ‘All of the racers can look forward to next month when the whole first round will get to race in the light before the darkness sets in.’
Ajoni Ambersley started the racing with his Subaru Legacy wagon in the All Wheel Drive class and set the bar at 63.676 sec. This time would not stand for long as the entrants in the AWD class were out to set good times.
Among them were two first timers: Jimel McLean and 17-year-old old Michael Weatherford. Both were driving the Stingray Battery sponsored Mitsubishi Evolution 3. McLean up to this point has been a force at the drag strip and decided he would see what all the excitement was about in turning corners.
As it turns out, he isn’t half bad at it and through the first three runs came out with a best of 57.775s and was in second overall in AWD class.
Weatherford, on the other hand, being fresh to motorsports, took it a littler slower from the start to both learn the car and the course. In the end he dropped 7.5 seconds from his first run with a respectable time of 59.115s.
However Keith ‘Speedy’ Tibbetts was not to be denied in his Valvoline sponsored Subaru Sti and hammered out a blistering 54.541s pace for the win.
The Rear Wheel Drive Class also had a new face. Ian Charlery brought out a Honda S2000 that he was working on diligently up to the close of tech inspection in order to run at TA. Charlery ran the Honda well, keeping his revs high and his corners tight.
He should be one of the drivers to watch throughout the season with the S2000 being a very competitive car.
John Godfrey was out in his silver Toyota Supra and put down a decent time but Peter Jurgens in his Toyota Altezza proved too slippery for him.
Jurgens, having worked out some gremlins in his suspension from last year, showed that while a relative newcomer he has great potential in the RWD class and put down a class winning time of 58.532s.
He would have had a 56 second time except for a couple of cones that ran out in front of him and earned him penalties on that run.
The Front Wheel Drive class was the most heavily contested with seven entrants. Included in this class were the only women of the night in Jodi Jackson and her Scion Tc and Vicki Hulse and her Mazda 3.
The guys however were not being gentlemen and showed no mercy. On top of the class was veteran Gary Bromfield in his Acura Integra.
Bromfield posted a best time of 57.265s, closely followed by future superstar Roje Williams in his Turbo Toyota Starlet with a time of 58.595s.
The Unlimited class runs were interesting as Gary Huggins did major engine work to his ’84 starlet in the off-season.
Only starting the car the day before, he still had a few minor issues to work out but otherwise the little 25-year-old machine was zinging around the track like a caffeinated teenager.
Huggins was able to win the class with a blistering 53.592s against Andy Bodden in his uncorked Mitsubishi Mirage Mivec.
Bodden claimed second place, delegating his cousin Wayne Kirkconnell to third place.
With the class runs out of the way, the newly renamed ‘Battle Run’ began. The Battle Run consists of the top 12 times with a maximum of three entrants from the unlimited class.
Like last year this run consists of a slightly modified course and the slowest of the times start first, but that’s not necessarily how they end.
John Godfrey moved up four places from 12th and Roje Williams, though he started seventh, ended up fourth overall and beat Bromfield.
Also in this run the unlimited cars (who use race rubber) are put up against all comers to prove who is fastest of the night.
Tibbetts was out to prove a point and came very close with 90.044s for second place. Andy Bodden put down a great time just edging out Tibbetts with 89.211s to take the crown as fastest driver of the night.
Huggins looked on form to beat Andy, but as it is with racing, nothing is over until it’s over and Huggins ended up limping back to the finish line with a suspension malfunction. Wayne Kirkconnell took third place with a time of 92.672s.
Hulse said: ‘The night’s events ran smoothly and it made for an excellent display, proving changes in the off-season were worth it.
‘We can’t wait to do it again next month. The racers are energized and our spectators are out here enjoying all the action and seem to be multiplying at each event.’