Nathan Rahaman, continuing a family tradition in motorsport
By Akeem Greene
The title Rahaman is quite synonymous with motorsport in Guyana; the prominent family has produced four generations of racers. The limelight on this occasion is young Nathan Rahaman.
Nathan is the son of Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) Group Two driver Ryan Rahaman and grandson of another Caribbean motor racing stalwart Jad Rahaman, whose brother Ray, was also champion in his prime.
A junior 125cc Karter, Nathan is fresh from a valuable stint of three weekends of racing and karting development, spread over a three-month period at the inaugural Caribbean Junior Karting Academy Trophy in Barbados.
The series ended on Sunday (March 3), and Rahaman finished in the lower end of the overall standing just like his countrymen, but he impressed with a desire to improve with every race.
The six-round series, which had four races per round, was a rude-awakening to the rigours of what top flight karting entails, given the tournament was conducted under FIA guidelines.
Wins did not come Nathan’s way, but he occasionally produced some silky smooth driving which caught the attention of those at the Bushy Park race track.
There was one moment of joy in Race Two last weekend when the 12 year-old ignited the loudest of cheers by his family when he took the lead for about eight laps against high quality opposition from Barbados and Jamaica.
Unfortunately, some errors meant he succumbed the pressure and finished sixth. It was such a performance that begins to script a tale that there’s greater things to come from the young Guyanese.
“It felt good being in first, but I think it slipped away when I overshot the corner and went too wide which allowed three karts to pass me then the lap after two other karts went pass me at the end of the race,” he reflected on the thrilling drive.
The Guyanese were exposed to faster speeds and a track, which take a toll on fitness. The average time of a lap was 53 seconds and that is for a race of 10 to 15 laps as compared to the average 31 seconds when in Guyana given on a shorter track.
Apart from affording increased seat time, the Barbadian track is no easy task with a contour that takes a toll on the body. Some took to the high speeds battling sore ribs and wrists, and sweltering heat, a gutsy performance from those still in the elementary stages of a blossoming career.
“I learnt that everybody has gotten better and it will be tougher to go against the Guyanese because all of us have come here and gained so much knowledge on the sport…so all of this will be a key thing when we go back to Guyana.”
“It makes a difference when you drive on a small track and then come to drive on a big track and expect good results. You need to practice on a longer track if you want to come and practice on a bigger track and expect good results. That is why we went up to South Dakota before the February meet and practiced. Those are the two main things I learned, the competition is really tough and you need to be on a big track and know what you are doing to expect good results,” the Bishops’ High student added.
Though slightly unsure on the direction of this academic career, the avid F1 fan, who also has an interest in squash and football, said he always seeks to soak in the knowledge of his elders.
“Mainly my father, he helps with everything, he tells me the lines of the track, where I should go, where I am making mistakes. He helps fix the kart and they did quite well.”
Sponsored by Valvoline and Atlantic Marine Supplies, Nathan is eyeing training stints in Canada as he seeks to become the best he can be behind the wheels at high speeds.