LOCAL race car driver Tommi Gore says winning at the Radical Cup UK Championship on Sunday is testament to the development of Jamaica's racing programme.
Gore won the third of his three races at the four-day event at Donington Park Circuit in Derby, England, on Sunday. He drove a Radical SR3 — prepared by the Raw Motorsports team in England — in the Radical PRO SR3 class.
Gore won in wet conditions after qualifying fifth on the grid.
"Just prior to the first race we saw the heavens opening and we saw the clouds setting up," Gore told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday. "We had little drizzles but no one had called it a wet race yet. All of a sudden everyone brought out the wet tyres and the slicks — waiting until the last minute to make the right choice. Luckily, I thought everyone made the right choice on the grid, went with the wets, went out on the track, had a couple of warm-up laps, and the rain just kept getting heavier and heavier.
"Personally, I do like the wet. I've driven in the wet in Jamaica before but I've never driven a Radical SR3 in the wet, nor have I driven at Donington in the wet — only once, briefly over the weekend. I knew I had a big task ahead of me to do my best and see what I could come away with. After the first lap I was called in for the mandatory pit stop in race three. I pitted before the two competitors ahead of me and did a very good out lap, after a very good pit in lap. I managed to get the jump on them and get the lead and just start extending that gap, putting in lap after lap. I made the best of it, stretching that gap as long as I could. After having an eight-second gap I eased off, made sure to keep consistent, bring it home."
Gore's biggest challenge was 16-year-old Haydn Chance, of Great Britain, who had finished on the podium in his previous races.
"The guy behind me in second place was on a very big push trying to recollect his first place, where he started," Gore said. "He had won the first race of the weekend and came second in the second race so he was definitely on a charge to get two out of three wins. Coming into the last lap I saw him right behind me, bearing down, trying everything he could. And unfortunately for him (fortunately for me) I managed to hold onto it, maintain that gap, and take it home for Jamaica."
Gore previously qualified 11th then finished fourth in the first race, and finished fifth after qualifying sixth in the second.
He says he is proud to have flown the Jamaican flag high.
"Overall it was an amazing experience for me, personally," Gore said. "I'm very proud to have shown to the world that here in Jamaica we have a very good motorsports programme and very good progression put in place for motorsports drivers.
"Just to prepare drivers like myself to go away and perform at such a high level internationally — with little to no experience of the car, or the track, or the conditions they're going to be competing in — just shows that what we have locally is very strong, and we need to make use of that. I think it's possible that in the future we're going to see more Jamaicans abroad competing at a very high level."
Gore also praised fellow local drivers Sara Misir and Fraser McConnell, who also competed at Donington this weekend. Misir finished fifth in the GT4 Lotus Class while McConnell had a win in round eight of the Extreme E series with team X44, owned by Formula One star Lewis Hamilton. Gore was also complimentary about Alex Powell, who has been doing well in the international karting circuit with the Prema team.