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CIRCUIT RACING IS BIGGER THAN DOUG GORE AND DAVID SUMMERBELL JR! PARTS 1 to 4

Author : cmunroe

CIRCUIT RACING

Salubrious Mandeville is one of my favourite places on ‘The Rock’. As I ascended the Winston Jones highway on Saturday August 4th, I saw two Dover-bound machines on a wrecker. How did I know that they were going to Dover? Call it professional assumption!

I am familiar with both machines. A rather industrious segment of my brain added that some time in the past I saw the Evo being dressed for race-duty close to Manchester Shopping Center. Race-day was rapidly approaching.

I claimed superior knowledge and informed my colleague that they were possibly on their way to the track and they would travel the Spaulding route to St Ann. Obviously I had no way of knowing this – professional assumption – again! Lol.

JRDC

Prior to that weekend, things were not not looking up for neither the JRDC nor the Independence of Speed event. There were rumblings everywhere that would rival Port Royal’s jolt of 1692.

A new board was established by the membership of the club. It was felt that with the baton being passed to fresh legs, legs which boasted successful business acumen, everything would be up and successfully running in short order.

DOUG GORE

If the unexpected is expected, is it still unexpected when it materializes? Mr. Doug Gore was banned – for the remainder of the calendar year! Something was expected, but not that!

When next you see an army of ants parading purposefully, militarily aligned in a single file, soliloquizing strength in numbers, use one of your given fingers and insert a line across their path. If you are a fan of mayhem, the visible confusion which results will be devilishly satisfying.

Not by design, I hope, but, the JMMC’s ruling was the ‘finger across the path’ of the JRDC’s plan for August 6th. The subsequent chain reaction has created divisive wounds.

The recently appointed body will have to get its act together to prevent further acrimony if it intends to negotiate around the impending implosion. A word of advice – no cost attached - stay true to the mandate that was presented and be respectful of the membership.

DAVID SUMMERBELL JR

Doug Gore was banned. His participation on August 6th was reduced to zero. And if that was not enough, the JMMC reprimanded and fined Mr. David Summerbell Jr. Mr. Summerbell failed to pay the thick fine. His participation on August 6th was also reduced to zero!

This information occupied the public space prior to race-day and was vociferously entertained on anti-social media. August 6th’s Independence of Speed was revving towards colossal failure.

The Toyota Wish ambled up the marl-strewn path. Before the climb began I gathered my thoughts. I knew the parking lot would distribute the first tale. The parking areas closest to the main road did not allay my fears – were evacuation orders given?

For reasons which will cause honest petrol-heads to grapple, to derive lucid interpretation, a euphoric experience acquires velocity when proximity to Dover’s 1.6 decreases. It may be branded nervous anticipation. It is a delightful journey.

The explanation is simple though. You are blissfully aware of the turbulent, invasive, tsunami-like wave of unbridled joy which awaits you, courtesy of the cocktail of pleasure which will be served when machines, built on the premise of acute speed and driven by men who are unfamiliar with the concept of a loss, take to the track to settle all arising disputes.

Reckless endorphins trigger an explosion and your inner being fights a hopeless battle to restrain the ecstasy which threatens to drown your soul!

JRDC

So, we return to the track like addicts, demanding an extension of the ‘high’. As the Toyota Wish approached the 1.6, the parking lot was not singing a prosperous song. The light drizzle of parked cars seen was not sending the appropriate signals of the torrential downpour of cash that the JRDC requires, if financial red is to be converted to NHRA drag-slicks-wide black!

But, I was not surprised. All indicators – left and right – prior to my arrival, conveyed that what I witnessed was flung on the table when Montego Bay and elsewhere became aware that ‘Hollywood’ would not play his typical leading role.

I will admit, however, that typically, the August race-meet was never a cash cow for the club. It was always a difficult event. And the challenges multiplied with Doug and David being removed from the grid.

Sparsely populated would be adequate to describe the parking lot. I was a bit perturbed. I hurriedly arrested my despair though, grabbed an armband and proceeded to ground zero – the paddock.

In Part 1, I mentioned expecting the unexpected. On August 6th, the unexpected slapped me silly!

My four eyes were not required to discern that the paddock was a bee-hive of motorized activity. It was a palpable, audible orchestra of jocular exchanges among anxious competitors and satisfied patrons. I heard probing and curious questions, racing to resolve race-car issues. I listened to progress reports re the performance of the machines and was interrupted by Monique’s directives, summoning machines to the grid.

The atmosphere was bustling with bodies in motion – a F1 grid before the start of the race! The scenes were a jubilant, distant cry from the message the parking lot sent. Inner peace paid me a visit!

Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore’s pit-bay, constructed during the ‘ATL era’, was open – a race-car was inside!

When we refer to the ‘good old days’, the ‘glory days’ or ‘back in the day’ we are in no position to deter the refreshing atmosphere of heightened contentment attached to the stories. Some may not be old enough to refer to the good old days, but, experiences from the past which deliver a gratifying kick from pleasure’s left foot must be in an account in your memory bank!

Doug Gore’s ATL-era-built pit-bay triggers the aforementioned sensation. TA 1 was Thor’s anvil for the ‘King’. TA 1′s crunching blows led to Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore losing his star status – unacceptable to an individual who is married to success.

With first-man, Adam’s assistance, Europe was plundered, a DTM machine snatched and Dover Raceway was flung into an adrenaline-frenzy! When the grid assembled for the gladiatorial encounters between TA 1 and the DTM TT-R the ground shook with seismic anticipation – bucket-list ish!

KIA-BEAST

I approached Doug Gore’s pit bay with reserved anticipation. The Kia-BEAST was not nestled in its lair, but a pleasant surprise sat in its space – Jamie James’ Evo. Jamie James is no newcomer to Dover Raceway, but the significance of what I saw cannot be overstated.

Windsor Young, the Jamwest family and the Westmoreland click were all in Doug Gore’s ATL-era-built pit bay! Space will not allow the love-hate Jamwest-JRDC-Dover tale to be chronicled here, so trust me when I tell you that an accomplishment of immeasurable proportion was evidenced by the presence of this team. There is more though – Alan Gordon – the essence of JAMWEST was also at Dover Raceway – rocking the ex-Doug Gore Evo X.

At a time when circuit racing’s resilience was being tested, my faith was renewed by the team from the West. Hailings Westmoreland!

It must have been by design. A day which began with distinct unease, one which intimated gloom, thanks to a discouraging parking lot, was bitten by rejuvenation as soon as I entered the paddock. Vibrant, productive, reassuring colours appeared throughout my paddock tour.

Kyle’s machine sat on its pompous perch, vainly displaying its gold heat shield – giving that McLaren F1 feel! Team ‘Turbo’ Anderson brought two Nismo hitmen to the Smokin’ Aces. One was in fine fettle – doing the damage on the 1.6 – but investigative duties were assigned to the other, it was wrestling a mechanical malady.

DARYL KING

Sebastian Rae’s Honda was being readied for boost duties by the late Daryl King’s co-driver. We spoke briefly. I saw the Honda on track some time after – MACHINE!

Bmw’s M4 was in the building dressed in race attire! I quizzed the owner/driver – Richie. He had plans to harass the S55B3OTO and spread Bavaria’s love to the hillside. But, he was forced to revisit his not so carefully laid plans – denied – he had no competition license!

KFC

I skipped over to KFC for a Big Deal. Everyone knows that Wings’ machine is the sole purview of the Moodie clan. Correct? So why was Cory Walters busy in his usual vocal, hurried way, below the machine?

But, that is Cory for you – a competitor, a rival, but an available mechanic to everyone! Lol! Two of the Moodie brothers were doubling efforts to rescue Colin Daley’s machine.

Victor Brown was pensive, but ensured that Nigel Wilmot’s machine was ready. Nicholas ‘Tazz’ Barnes was still reliving his off-road excursion – absolute brake failure – not what he ordered at the drive through!

Using the West’s casual, humorous vernacular, he told the tale. Puzzled, I asked if the machine was not equipped with a hydraulic hand brake. He admitted that that was his saviour! I asked the team-member who was stationed at the right front wheel if the braking issue was addressed. Amidst the audible compliance of the cordless Dewalt impact wrench, he responded in the affirmative.

Monique’s voice disrupted the proceedings – IP machines were summoned to the grid.

Prior to August 6th, I confidently stated NO DOUG, NO PROBLEM. Obviously I had no way of knowing what was in store for race-day, but, again – professional assumption - led me to no other conclusion.

Monique’s orders spurred instant response. Machines sprung to life everywhere, revving motors engaged their battle songs. Nicholas decided that a restroom break was necessary before the war – smart chap.

I made my way to the grid. Some time ago it was decided that to heighten the fan-experience, the machines would assume their start-positions along the brief straight leading to Pinky’s Bluff – before the grand stand (this is how it was years ago).

When the IP machines assembled, an IPhone could not have provided a more accurate picture of the profound commitment and unwavering support that the participating drivers displayed. I spoke to Patrick ‘Flecky’ Ricketts who sat at the front of the grid. I left him alone to focus on his race strategy.

As I walked the grid, I spoke briefly with a few drivers including Nigel Wilmot and Ricardo Scott. But, what struck me and left me more positive-minded than the leader of an optimist cult was the fact that despite all the smoke signals which conveyed that the race-meet was destined for callous failure, the drivers were not swayed – they rolled out en masse!

DEMAR LEE

The IP grid was packed with serious firepower – Sebastian Rae, Matthew Lee, Demar Lee, Senna Summerbell, Sheldon Morgan, Alan Gordon and Nicholas Barnes – to name a few.

And the IP grid was not just a group of numbers. The racing? When the starter was pleased and allowed the green flag to fly, The Purge began! It was a vicious onslaught of man and machine, combustion motors exploring the limits of their valve trains, seeking to advance the interests of their one-track-minded, victory-on-the-brain masters.

The IP races are still the subject of discussion today because passionate battles were fought, beating and banging were explored, it was a door to door affair blended with a tad bit of bump and run, but the episodes were devoid of malicious intent. Essentially, dexterous youngsters at play delivering quality driving which exceeded their years. It was a mesmerizing show for the fans who were present at circuit racing’s hallowed halls – Dover Raceway.

But, it did not end there. Kyle ‘Speedy’ Gregg, with the absence of David Summerbell Jr. and Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore, who he publicly threatened – shortly after his Radical arrived – should have had an effortless canter to victory.

ANDRE ANDERSON

Apparently neither Andre Anderson nor his TOTAL sponsored Evo received the e-mail. According to all of the reports, Andre Anderson gave Kyle Gregg the ultimate scare. The Evo apparently blazed a ridiculously fast trail that threatened to incinerate the Radical’s reflective heat tape!

Andre went in defiant pursuit of victory, but, the Achilles heel of so many high-powered Evos intervened – reliability. Kyle was eventually able to successfully arrest defeat and triumph. The estimated 2000 fans were provided with more excitement than that which T20 provides when 4 balls remain, chasing 12 runs!

Circuit racing has had many ‘name-brand’ players and it will have many more. On August 6th, 2018, loyal fans of the sport and a contingent of more than 50 drivers took to the grid and proved with an irrepressible voice that Circuit racing is bigger than Doug Gore and David Summerbell Jr. And that is exactly how it should be!

DOVER RACEWAY – OCTOBER 14 and 15 ! You would be foolish if you missed it! Are you foolish?

Heroes of Speed

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