Dwindling sponsorship could curtail Kristian Jeffrey’s career

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By Akeem Greene

Fourteen years of phenomenal motor-racing by Kristian Jeffrey could hit the brakes in 2019 if he does not manage to garner substantial financial support from the corporate community.

“It is just a matter of sponsorship. Sponsorship is a hard thing to get these days. It is the same with Europe; I had to pull the plug because it was coming out my parents’ pocket and unless someone comes up good I can’t do it next year,” the spirited Jeffrey told News Room Sport in a recent interview.

At 29, Jeffrey has carried the Golden Arrowhead proudly throughout the multiple disciplines.

Amazingly, in 2014, his debut year at CMRC, he won the Group Four title and repeated the effort in 2015, which happens to be the last year Guyana won the country title.

Kristian and his father Kevin

Hold your breath for just a bit more in disbelief of his achievements. He first started with Cycling, entered Karate and earned a black belt, played squash, where he dominated the local youth and senior arena, in addition to being a runner-up at multiple Caribbean championships.

It is with such accolades the bewilderment of lack of sponsorship arises.

“My teammate is going to LMP3 [European Le Mans Series] next year and he offered me to do a few rides, but it is three times the price [of Radical racing], so you got to be real with yourself.”

He added, “I am 29, I got to think about making pickney (children), having a family but if a sponsor comes on board I will continue racing.”

Throughout the year, the driver has been consistent on the podium in the Radical Series in Europe, after he shifted focus from the Caribbean championships.

“I always said I started racing bit too late, but with Sedan racing and Radicals, there are guys in the field 50 years old, but Formula One and all those things are out of the picture. In racing it is a money sport and you have to be realistic with yourself to see how far your pocket can go without digging too deep. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the next level,” he reasoned.

Jeffrey (right) has been a constant on the podium in the Radical Series in Europe

Winning since day one

In 2008, Jeffrey’s rise to stardom began when he won the first shifter Kart race in the country. It was event organised by veteran racer and businessman, Stanley Ming.

Astonishingly, it was the first time he competed and according him, “as I raced my times got faster and faster.”

The introduction into the life of speed was done by Edmond Vieira, who gave him his first Go-Kart at 15, without the knowledge of Kristian’s mother Denise Jeffrey, who tried her best to limit the young enthusiast’s urge for speed and ensure his days at Mae’s Primary and Georgetown International Academy had life on cruise control but that was only a wish, a hope that never materialised.

Inevitably, he would have gotten behind the wheel, since his grandparents and father Kevin are all stalwarts of the sport.

Preparation for CMRC

At the 2017 Caribbean Motor Racing Championships at South Dakota, the hype for Group Four was centered around Jeffrey’s Mitsubishi Evolution and Barbadian Roger Mayers’ Ford Focus and he did not disappoint, winning two of the three races.

Now he returns under similar circumstances with Mark Vieira driving towards his first Caribbean title and in hot pursuit are Quinton Lall, Andrew King and Mark Maloney.  That’s in addition to the Caribbean Radical SR3 Challenge Series, which is in its maiden year.

“I was going through a whole year of racing so everything is sharp right now. I have been looking forward to driving the Evo all year. It’s two completely different type of cars [Evo & Radical], one strength of my racing ability is that I adapt to things very quickly so hopefully in between races I go from 4WD drive to rear wheel drive and get the switch going and hopefully come out on top.”

He added, “I am a strong believer in one-meg series [Radicals], you actually get to see a driver’s full potential, when you are in different horse-power cars, it comes down to reliability.”

The Radical Series is the new-found love of Kristian Jeffrey

The driver, who is applauded for his gutsy display on the track, noted there is a nostalgic feeling to compete at home.

“No matter where I go in the world, I appreciate everything, all the fans coming out and supporting me right here in Guyana and I want to see the sport grow.”

November 10-11 could be the swansong for father-son duo and their duel, and the younger Jeffrey wants to cherish that moment.

“The reason I started racing is because of my dad [Kevin], he is getting older now and I don’t know how long more I will get to race with him. That father-son battle I always look forward to and his car should be really potent this meet.”

What is certain is excitement once they both hit the track. What is uncertain is whether Kristian’s engine would remain silent after it is turned off at South Dakota.

Time will tell.

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