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Mixed emotions for June 24 circuit racing in Wallerfield

THERE are mixed feelings about the second leg of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championships (CMRC) taking place on June 24 in Wallerfield, following the death of a drag racer a week ago. Some of the members of the racing fraternity believe it is a selfish move to hold the championships still, but others think it may be too late to turn back as competing drivers from abroad have already shipped their cars.

On May 27, Sangre Grande native Darren Sirjoo, 28, died after crashing his Lexus Altezza into a steel platform on the popular race track on the final day of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship at the Frankie Boodram International Raceway in Wallerfield. Just one day before, driver Ryan Garcia was involved in a major accident at the same site, but fortunately survived.

Following the incident, the TT Automobile Sports Association made the decision to close the drag strip in Wallerfield, and also shorten the course from a quarter mile to one-eighth of a mile.

A local circuit driver, who chose to remain anonymous, said yesterday competitors from Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana will compete at the event, and with the championships less than three weeks away, cars are already on the way to Trinidad.

“The reason why it is going to happen in my opinion is that Guyana, Jamaica etcetera have already sent their vehicles via boat to Trinidad, so I don’t know exactly what will be the situation if they were to postpone the event. I know many people may think it is a selfish thing (to have the event), and it is in a sense for them to put on the CMRC event still, but it is a technical situation knowing that a lot of people send their cars already,” he said.

The source said it is not the most ideal situation to host the championships after Sirjoo’s passing. “We all acknowledge the loss and it is very saddening. It happened so close to this event that cars are already on the way, that management tried to deal with it in a good way, but a lot of people upset that CMRC still going to happen and we just had a loss on the track. If they didn’t have cars coming from other countries, they would have pushed it back for sure,” he believes.

The popular driver said it is also difficult for him to compete, but he has sponsorship obligations to meet.

“I basically have to meet the demand of my sponsors which is get my car out there as much as possible for it to be seen to advertise for them. I am basically stuck in the middle,” he said.

The source said, however, it is still not a guarantee that the Championships will occur, as a meeting is scheduled to take place within the next two weeks to discuss concerns within the local racing fraternity.

Dragging is not part of the line up at the upcoming Championships, but some of the drag racers are thinking of boycotting the event out of respect for their deceased colleague.

The source yesterday pointed out that the Wallerfield track is not conducive to drag racing but is being made a multi-purpose facility as there is no other venue for the drag racers.

He said safety measures need to be revamped at Wallerfield – especially for drag racing. “The (fatal) incident did occur and obviously the track needs to be revised in certain aspects to ensure safety for all sorts of racing that takes place at the track, because it is not only circuit racing and drag racing – there is also drifting. All safety measures need to be revised and probably improved on.”

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