Fraser McConnell’s sweet success

By Rory Daley Observer writer daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, March 31, 2016

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IT was a packed day at Carnival of Speed put on by the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) on March 28 at Dover Raceway, St Ann.


"We are happy with the meet," Monique Gibbs, president — JRDC, told
Auto.


The day saw a massive crowd turn out to watch near full grids of cars and bikes tackle Jamaica’s iconic circuit. Gibbs also thanked all the patrons and competitors that came out to support the event, especially that of the Bracket 45, which has seen its ranks swell due to the free track days hosted at Dover.


"We were able to run all races despite starting a bit late," she explained.


Gibbs and her team are now looking forward to repeating the success in May for the annual Heroes Day race meet at JamWest Speedway, Westmoreland.


"This is a round of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC)," she said.


The JDRC will attempt to hold two more track days between now and that date.


As for the event itself, it was 2015 Circuit Racing Champion Fraser McConnell who opened his title defense with triple wins, as he took maximum points from victory in all three of his Bracket 29 races, driving his new Kingston Industrial Garage-sponsored Subaru Impreza WRX STI.


"I’m pleased with the outcome," he said.


McConnell is now bullish on a title defence he thought not possible earlier in the year, as he will miss one meet this season due to educational priorities. His plan of trying to secure as big a points lead as possible to secure back-to-back titles in 2016 seemed to be working as he settled into the unfamiliar turbo-charged four-wheel drive car.


"Having to switch to all-wheel-drive was a challenge in the beginning because the braking and acceleration points are different," McConnell explained.


However, there was little doubt that the main attraction was the four-man showdown expected between David Summerbell Jr, Douglas Gore, Peter Rae and Kyle Gregg. Things got interesting for the weekend as Gregg experienced an engine failure, requiring a new one to be shipped into the island and impacting his seat time.


"I only did a half a lap before the first race as the engine arrived 4:30 in the morning," Gregg said.


With only two hours of sleep, he took the track for the first Thundersport race. Summerbell took the first race victory with a significant margin, while Peter Rae found himself out of contention through a race incident into corner one.


"It’s going to be tough for the whole season," Summerbell said.


Gregg would be victim to the aftermath of that crash at the end of the race, spinning on leftover oil during a passing manouvre on Gore. He would recover to take the second TS race with Gore on his tail. Summerbell was out after another race incident. Gore then took TS race three, handing him the points lead in the class.


"We spent the weekend working on how the newly installed traction control operates, but we’re prepping for JamWest," Gore explained.


The motorcycle races were just as action-packed as Kyle Reynolds chased Robert McDonald to the line for all three races. McShane Heslop won two motorcycle class b races, while Linton Martin took the third. Patrick Patterson and Glenroy Allen won a Bracket 45T race each, as did Nigel Wilmot and Cory Walters in Bracket 45N.

  


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