Team Parker’s are Karting Champions

| 27/09/2010

(Cayman Karting): The AI Group Summer Corporate Karting League turned out to be the biggest motorsport competition held in the Cayman Islands when it came to participation. Parker’s ended top after a season where 227 different drivers raced in 20 teams representing various local companies. The competition brought together those with already well established racing reputations – be it locally from Time Attack, drag racing or the old days on the marl pit- to those with just a need for speed and a whole host of people having their first taste of motorsport. It then put them all in the same type of vehicle and let them race together. (Photo – Kelcey Huggins the the fastest female karter on island)

The competition demanded a combination of raw speed for qualifying, racing ability for the 50 lap races and a keen strategic mind to make the right pitstop calls. The result was some thrilling racing, plenty of drama, lots of emotion and the emergence of some new racing reputations.
The season consisted of 10 rounds of racing and at the end of driving 100 miles around the track Team Parker’s emerged as the clear winners. The team brought together the talents of Kelcey Huggins, Bobby Hulse, Josh Rivers and Michael Weatherford to race under the banner of the local auto parts store. Each team was required to field one female for each race and Kelcey Huggins fulfilled that role admirably for Team Parker’s, setting a new female lap record of 31.940 seconds in the process. What is perhaps most remarkable about Kelcey’s success is that she is only 16 years old and had not driven before getting involved in the corporate karting leagues.
Michael Weatherford was the raw speed in the team and helped secure a number of their points for pole position and fastest lap. Meanwhile Josh Rivers often played the key role of first driver ensuring that he kept the team out in front and more often than not building up a good lead ahead of the first round of pit stops. Bobby Hulse, the current Cayman Motorsports Association President, was Team Captain and the racing know-how he brought to the team was evident throughout the season.
Team Parker’s success is all the more impressive for the quiet and efficient way the team has conducted itself whilst racing. They ended the Spring League in a solid fifth place and whilst they began the summer season slowly retrospect shows that they were that most dangerous type of team: one that that was on a continually improving curve. They started with a third place, followed it up with two second places then found a winning formula that saw them take the chequered flag for the next seven successive races.  Bobby Hulse commented, "As Captain I could not be more proud of the Team Parker’s racers.
We started off the season slow with the intention of running as clean as we could and focusing on bettering ourselves as karters. Every race we focused on improving things a little more and those baby steps added up in the end. What can I say…we rocked out. Special thanks to Parker’s and the AI Group for giving us the chance to race." The team will now be sitting out the next league as Kelcey has exams to attend to and, with the Cayman Motorsports Association taking on responsibility for marshaling the Autumn Premier League, Bobby will be supervising the racing rather than participating.
Automotive Art pushed Team Parker’s all the way to end, but were unable to match their consistency and were left to claim a strong second place in the league. The Automotive Art team included Wayne and Tom Kirkconnell as well as a second member of the Huggins family in Kimberley Huggins. The raw speed for their team was provided by 17 year old George Manderson who is still the only person to have driven the Reverse Track in under 31 seconds.
Finishing in third was the team from Harneys who were also the highest placed law firm in the league. Harneys were league leaders during the middle of the season, but were unable to sustain the goodform which had seen them win five in a row.
TeamCaptain and Head of the Harneys Cayman Islands office Kieron O’Rourke provided some consistently strong drives and the team benefitted from Jenny Deacon’s impressive performances. The rest of the legal field was made up of two teams from Maples and Calder and one team from Walkers. Maples’ first team, Maples and Karter, also enjoyed a strong start and held the league lead for two weeks during the early part of the season. They ultimately finished in 5th with Walkers in 9th and the Maples second team, M&C Hammer, in 15th.
The league also featured four teams from the accounting world with Deloitte taking the bragging rights in that particular field. They finished 8th with KPMG 1 behind them in 10th and KPMG 2 in 16th. Further down in 18th were Ernst and Young who pursued a wide driver rotation policy and fielded 22 different team members during the season.
Automotive Art’s second team – ‘Automotive Art Too’ – brought together the driving talents of veteran racer Andy Bodden and 17 year old karting prodigy Daron Mclean. Daron is the current lap record holder for the Regular Track and the cousin of George Manderson who holds the lap record for the reverse track. Whilst Automotive Art Too finished the season in sxith place the speed of Andy and Daron meant they claimed more pole positions and more fastest lap points than any of the other teams.
One of the attractions of the league was that it brought all types of companies together. In addition to the representatives from the automotive industry and the legal and accountancy professions there were teams from companies like Cayman Airways, LIME, Z99, dms, Island Paving and Bateman Financial. Special mention goes to the RCIPS who had the most enthusiastic (read noisy) supporters and the Island Heritage Hurricane Fighters who, despite being Cayman Karting’s liability insurers, were involved in the most collisions and received the most black flags!
The league certainly provided a rigorous test of driving skill. For the middle half of the season the track was reversed so a whole new layout had to be learnt and a new racing line worked out. The most remarkable thing to come out of this process was the result of switching the league races back to the regular track for the final two rounds of the season. Suddenly almost everybody was driving faster than they had been on the regular track at the start of the season. The process of learning a new course had clearly helped the drivers with understanding how best to tackle the corners and when reapplied to the regular track personal bests tumbled.
 The organisers were fortunate with the weather and only one week of the league had to be postponed as a result of the nascent Tropical Storm Karl. Several races did, however, start in wet conditions which proved an even greater examination of driving ability. The first part of the race would involve driving very carefully on the wet track whilst the latter part of the race would allow advantage to be taken of the drying racing line. A new style of driving was required in these conditions and Deloitte in particular proved themselves very adept at managing the wet conditions.
A full breakdown of results showing how the season was won and lost has been uploaded to the Wikipedia page on Cayman Karting. Next up at Cayman Karting is an Autumn Premier League which removes many of the driver limitations during the race (no minimum laps per driver, no female requirement and a mimium of only one driver required), but does impose a sub-35 second requirement on drivers wishing to participate. New for this league will be a round of races on a deliberately wet track as well as the first chance to drive the ‘High Speed Outer Loop’ format of the track in a time trial. 
The races will continue to be held under floodlights on Monday and Tuesday evenings although in this league they will be longer at 70 laps duration. The sign-up deadline is Monday 27 September. A Winter Corporate League will begin in December. 
Cayman Karting Summer League Final Podium:
Troy Brady, George Manderson, Kimberley Huggins, Tom Kirkconnell, Bobby Hulse, Kelcey Huggins, Josh Rivers, Michael Weatherford, Kieron O’Rourke, Jenny Deacon, Steven Staatz, Nik Fox
Kelcey Huggins is the fastest female karter on island: Kelcey Huggins
Team Parker’s Win Summer League: Bobby Hulse, Kelcey Huggins, Michael Weatherford, Josh Rivers
Automotive Art Second in League: George Manderson, Troy Brady, Kimberley Huggins, Tom Kirkconnell
Tom Kirkconnell celebrates second place for Automotive Art: Tom Kirkconnell
The KPMG 2 team enjoyed karting: Mark Thumpston, Claire Griffin, Nico Mellett, Preshenden Odayar, Sarah Lowe
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