Rivalries always add intrigue and there is a budding battle between two motorsports veterans in the Cayman Islands.
Jimel McLean and Tom Kirkconnell have been jostling for position on and off the track in local autocross. Both have raced in the Cayman Motorsports Association Time Attack series, which has staged most meets at the Progressive Loop in George Town.
Two weeks ago the series came to an unexpected end for 2011 due to inclement weather. For McLean that cancellation hampered what would have been an epic showdown between his Honda Civic and Kirkconnell’s Mazda RX-7.
“Tom was 30 points behind me in the standings,” McLean said. “Bobby Hulse and Keith Tibbetts III were tied in the Unlimited class and the winner was to be decided. I was upset. I had my Baygon spray in full force to kill the roach. To be clear ‘roach’ is a nickname for RX-7s. Anyway, it was so hyped up and I’m very disappointed.
“Everyone was ready. I understand the organizers were trying to push for another one before the memorial race. But that is not what’s on now.”
Rain halted the year’s last Time Attack race in October. Inclement weather was also a concern for last Sunday’s Cayman Islands Drag Racing Association ‘Monster Dash’ drag race. Slated for Breakers Speedway, that meet was expected to feature racers like Kirkconnell, who holds the current Front Wheel Drive record at 6.8 seconds down the 1/8 mile track in a Honda Civic hatchback.
Heading into the final race for the 2011 Time Attack season, McLean topped the Two Wheel Drive and Street Battle classes. In both categories he had a lead of less than 60 points (he was up 525-500 in 2WD and 510-455 in Street). Some 14 competitors were behind McLean and Kirkconnell in those segments, among the notables were Ian Charlery and Ajoni Ambersley (in his Nissan Primera).
McLean states the key to his success is focusing on handling.
“My ‘94 hatchback is strictly for autocross and I’m focused on Time Attack. Drag racing is my first love and I keep up with that. To me the car is stock with a stock Type-R motor. You don’t need power for autocross, you need handling.
“The car has a lot of suspension work. I have Toyo tires on to stay in the Street class. It has (Acura) NSX brakes in the front with struts, sway bars and coilovers. I’m also putting in a roll cage.”
The Unlimited division was a tight race between Hulse (in his Toyota Altezza) and Tibbetts III (in his Valvoline Impreza). Both were tied at 600 points with Tibbetts III having a big 640-525 points edge in the Unlimited Battle run.
While Time Attack is over and final standings are being decided, autocross will continue. This year’s last dexterity race is slated to be the Al and Jay Memorial on 27 November. As usual the Progressive Loop will host the action, which starts from 8am and lasts all day. Competitors will be required to have run in at least two Time Attack races this season.