Simply put the Cayman Motorsports Association’s first-ever drag racing event this past Saturday was a huge success.
There was highly organised, non-stop racing action with a high degree of safety and the 400-odd spectators were kept informed throughout the event.
Last Saturday welcomed the first event in a race series dubbed Full Throttle drag racing. The event rules and guidelines align with that of the US National Hot Rod Association and International Hot Rod Association making this a truly professional event for people who are serious about drag racing.
Being the association’s first drag event, some may have expected the evening to be a punctuated with delays and chaos since the association is known for its circuit and dexterity racing heritage.
However, drivers and spectators alike were pleasantly surprised at the efficiency of the event and how smoothly everything operated, with the only true failure of the night being equipment failure.
The Pre-stage lights on the right lane of the track were inoperable and in the interest of fairness the Pre-stage lights on the left lane were removed so that both competitors had an equal chance of red-lighting.
The evening began with a mandatory drivers meeting to re-emphasise the rules, explain the process for the evening and remind everyone of safety.
As soon as the meeting was concluded the qualifying runs began with officials recording the times so competitors could be paired up for the first round.
The cars were divided into three classes: Street, Pro Street and Pro Race. The basic distinction of the classes was that the Street class included all naturally aspirated cars with no power adders like forced induction or nitrous and no drag race specific tires.
Pro Street allows the use of one power adder only (no combination of the same) and the use of tires approved for street use by the Department of Transport. Pro Race, for simplicity, was for the fully prepped race cars.
Further details and a more comprehensive breakdown of the classes can be found at the association’s website, www.cma.ky.
The Street class had an expected heavy turn-out of Honda Civics and Integra Type Rs. The most notable of that crew was Jimel McLean with his gold Integra Type R, a crowd favourite.
In amongst the VTEC waging machines was Karyn Bodden in her pearl white Porsche Cayman S.
This class would prove to be the crowd pleaser as it saw a battle between Honda tuning and exotic power. After a series of eliminations the street class battle came down to Karyn in her Cayman S versus Jimel in his Integra Type R.
The anticipation could be felt in the crowd with banter about who was going to win.
As the amber lights dropped to green both cars were quick off the line, the Type R exhibiting some wheel spin as Jimel tried to control the traction while Karyn’s Cayman hunkered down on the black top comfortably with a smooth but quick acceleration to the finish line.
Unfortunately Jimel missed shifting into second gear, giving Karyn a comfortable win and the distinction of being the first woman to win a class.
Jimel stated, ‘I have never seen a Breakers event go so well: staging area, lane choices, qualifying, parking, the whole shebang.
‘[I’m] glad that it was almost flawless the first time around. [I] hope it gives [the association] encouragement to continue forward with drag and Time Attack.’
The Pro Street class presented a good variety of vehicles from import to domestic featuring two Supras, three Subarus, two Mitsubishi Evolutions, a Chevy Corvette, a GMC Denali Truck, a Ford Mustang and a Nissan Silvia Spec R.
As eliminations commenced the crowd was thoroughly entertained by the higher horsepower, bigger burnouts and louder engines those cars.
One of the most entertaining displays was Johnny Solas’ black Toyota Supra which exhumed large amounts of tire smoke from his burnouts before sling-shooting the car down the track.
However the evening provided an insight into complexities of drag racing and proved that pure power does not always guarantee a win.
After the series of eliminations the Pro Street victory would be decided by Sammy Jackson in the GMC Denali and Ian Tibbetts in his high horsepower, Nitrous-equipped Chevy Corvette.
The Denali displayed a lot of power in earlier eliminations but it was a combination of its power and Jackson’s driving skill that allowed Sammy to make it to the finals.
Nothing less was expected of Ian Tibbetts throughout the eliminations, racking up win after win and easily securing him a place in the Pro Street Finals.
With Ian being a perennially strong competitor, Sammy’s only hope was for Ian to red-light, Ian however would make no such mistake and drove cleanly to the Pro-Street win.
The Pro Race class was action packed to say the least. Three competitors brought out their fully race prepped V8 machines in a bid to claim victory over one another.
Dail Davis set the stage with a new track record for cars on his first qualifying run in his Ford Mustang with a time of 6.18 seconds.
However Dail was a casualty of his second qualifying run when the car became a little squirrelly and he had to come off the throttle in the interest of safety.
He was commended by organizers and drivers alike for his actions in backing off rather than pushing forward to stay in the competition and possibly losing control of the car.
Dail commented, ‘I think the event was well organized and ran smoothly with no major hiccups that were glaringly obvious.
‘The staging of the cars and crowd control were particularly noteworthy. The action was pretty much non-stop the entire night, which in itself, is fairly challenging to accomplish but is absolutely necessary for spectator satisfaction. So I say job well done.’
However it seemed that in that last run Dail damaged something so that left the Pro Race Class to Junior Hydes and Delroy Forbes. As the big V8s rumbled to life and crept to the line the crowd watched attentively as the last of the night’s big race was about to unfold.
As the staging lights lit and the revs came up the amber lights started to tick down. At the green it was Junior that got the jump and, try as he might, Delroy could not reel back the Mustang with his Camaro.
In the end it was Junior that took home the $200 prize for the Pro Race class.
This month’s Full Throttle has set the standard for drag racing in Cayman as a safe, enjoyable experience for all and is set to attract many more spectators and competitors alike.
Next month’s Full Throttle event should see some exciting battles and the general public are invited to attend, support and participate in a truly enjoyable experience.
The association would like to thank Automotive Art for their generous support and Robert Campbell (owner of the Breaker’s Speedway Facility) for providing a facility for the sport.
Please email [email protected] for an up-to-date schedule of events, race locations, results and links to videos.