“I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game”- Jeffrey
By Avenash Ramzan
Leading race car driver Kristian Jeffrey said he knew from the inception he had to bring his ‘A’ game if he wanted to conquer the Suzuki Challenge Series SR3 in Barbados last weekend. The Guyanese turned in an excellent performance over the two days and was crowned the Winter Cup champion.
In an exclusive interview with News Room Sport on Wednesday, Jeffrey said he was cognisant of the need to be in peak condition, as top drivers from England, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the host nation Barbados were all gunning for top honours.
While he ended top of the competition, Jeffrey revealed that it wasn’t all smooth sailing, as his newly acquired Suzuki Radical encountered some glitches in the lead-up to the two-day event.
“It’s a new car that I’ve bought couple months prior to the race meet, so we had to get the suspension dialled in right, and after a day of testing I knew I was on pace, and I knew I had enough to finish in the top three,” Jeffrey related.
He continued, “Luckily, I got everything right by race day and managed to qualify in the top two, because the race, if you check the time sheet, from one to 10 we were like within milliseconds of each other. I knew qualifying was vital.”
Because of the high level of competition, Jeffrey related that there was literally no room for errors. He also pointed to some challenges he faced on the final day with two of the Bajan drivers.
“What happens in the Radical Series, after the first race no matter where you start there is a reverse grid, so I didn’t actually had to start all the way at the back, but it was a 12-car field. I started sixth and got up to fourth and was challenging Sean Maloney for third, and I was sandwiched between the two Maloney brothers- Sean and Stuart. It was real wheel-to-wheel racing, and I tried to go in on the last lap on Sean, was almost about to pass him and he ‘closed the door’ on me. I spun out and finished that race eighth,” Jeffrey recalled.
At that stage of the competition, Jeffrey was still ahead on the leaderboard by a solitary point, and he knew it was make or break on the final race of the event, which would ultimately determine the Winter Cup champion.
“Sean Maloney was one point behind me, so dependent on who finished in front they would have won, and I ran within the 58-second range from lap one to 15 so that could tell you how fast that race ran, and I managed again to come out on top,” Jeffrey said.
Coming off what he termed an “unlucky” 2016, Jeffrey has now started the new season in the best possible fashion, by finishing on the top podium spot. Looking forward to the rest of 2017, he said the aim is to continue with the momentum from Barbados, as he seeks to rake in more success.
“I’ve worked a lot on my fitness preparation since November, and since then the momentum carried on. I’ve won five of the seven Radical races over the two seasons, and my plan for the future is to race a bit more in the UK with the Radicals. I think me doing well in front of the Radical guys [in Barbados] kind of opened the doors for me. They’ve invited me to race some races in Silverstone, Spa and other regional races in England,” Jeffrey pointed out.
The 2015 National Sport Commission’s Senior Sportsman-of-the-Year is now fully pumped up and ready for whatever competition is thrown at him this season. And if he continues with the outstanding form from last weekend, the other drivers should really be contemplating and vying for the runner-up spot on the podium.