Magnificent Paige Mendonca shines at wet Georgetown Grand Prix
By Akeem Greene
Dark clouds and even constant rain interruptions could not stop Paige Mendonca from producing a blazing performance to be crowned champion driver of the 125cc Juniors at the second round of the Georgetown Grand Prix at GT Motorsports Saturday.
Mendonca would have started the day at the bottom of the championship standings with just 18 points, 43 points off leader Nathan Rahaman. Finishing top of the podium is of optimum importance for all these junior karters since they want to win the Motul-sponsored all-inclusive package of a karting challenge in Florida in January 2020.
The 11-year made serious headway in the battle via sublime driving, which earned her a first and two second place finishes. She dashed the through the pools of water on the track and kept constant pressure in any chase for the leader.
It was that pressure which made the difference on a slippery afternoon.
In race one, she got second behind Zachary Persaud, but clocked the fastest time (38.361s). Rahaman, who was at his scintillating best in the first round in May, got third.
Race two was where she most impressed and for the first time in a 125cc Juniors race she got the chequered flag which sent her biggest supporters, parents Carlos Mendonca and Tammy Quail, into a frenzy. The potential she displayed since in the 60cc Kids Cup has now materialised. Rahaman and Jeremy TenPow finished second and third respectively.
In the final race, Persaud was under pressure from TenPow, but spun out on the final turn to give the latter the win and Mendonca another second place finish. Rahaman finished third.
After the sublime performance, Mendonca reflected that her participation in the Caribbean Junior Karting Academy Trophy in Barbados earlier this year gave her a better understanding of how to compete on a wet track.
Over in the 125cc Seniors, championship leader Steven Nobrega unfortunately faced issues from both the weather and kart. Fans were not disappointed since the Phang brothers produced some smooth driving.
Matthew, with two first places and a second, took the champion driver title ahead of brother John. Elan Rahaman was a consistent third place finisher.
Meanwhile, Shan Seejattan returned after missing the first round and won all three races ahead of Vishal Sawh and Raj Boodhoo.
As expected, Justin TenPow drove away with the 60cc Kids Cup champion driver title, however, there was great improvement from challengers Nicholas Sawh, Mattew Daby and Ben Phang.
In the Easy Cup Rookie, Ackeem ‘Flat Top’ Thomas won the first race, but fizzed out afterwards, mainly due to conditions. Trinidadian Rylie Ramroop proved to be the standout driver for the night in the category, notwithstanding some impressive performances from Jorge Luid Rameiz and Naresh Alves.
The final round of the Grand Prix is expected to be held in October.