The trinidad Guardian / Promoter of the Llumar series of drag racing events at Wallerfield, Rishi Kanick has postponed his August 21 event, as well as other future drag racing events until the track is upgraded.
The postponement follows last Sunday’s accident when a race car went airborne and collided with the stands and spectators, injuring Kavesh Sookhan, Jynelle Maharaj, Amrika Armstrong and Tricia Persad. They are all warded in stable condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
Kanick said at the last event drivers were concerned about the dip on the track at the Frankie Boodram Racing Facility. He said they were going to ensure the dip was repaired and that an adequate number of barriers were in place. He said the main concern was the welfare of spectators and called on officials to do their jobs.
There are reports that the accident may have been caused by an oil slick from an earlier race.
This scenario was advanced by a race car builder and driver who witnessed the accident at the Caribbean Motor Racing Championships (CMRC) held under the auspices of the T&T Automobile Sports Association (TTASA) and who is also familiar with the track.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, the race car driver said, “What we saw in the videos was an accumulation of mistakes. There might have been some slight oil or a slick substance on the track which was cleaned up from the previous race. “The accident occurred in the second fastest corner on the track, if a car loses control there at high speed it becomes a projectile. “The first car, a Mazda RX-7 came in and cleared away the tyre barrier, hit the berm and then took out the bottom of the fence.”
He said the second car, a Suzuki Swift, with no tyre barrier to slow it down, a berm that had already been flattened and a section of the fence ripped down, barreled through the same gap as the Mazda RX-7 and careened into the crowd injuring four of the spectators.
The driver said the accident could have been much worse. Showing the video of the crash in slow motion to the Sunday Guardian, he pointed out that the left front wheel of the Suzuki Swift driven by David Lyons snagged the top of the fence, pulling the left side of his car downwards into the ground slowing down its forward momentum where it crashed into the bottom of the stands instead of dead centre. The driver said if the first car had not broken through the crash barriers the Suzuki Swift most likely would not have gotten all the way into the stands.
He said there were faster, heavier, more powerful cars in the race such as an Audi, Mitsubishi Evolution and Mazda RX-3, and if any one of them had lost control it probably would have gone further into the stands than the Suzuki Swift.
The driver said he did not notice any skid marks for the Suzuki Swift as there were for the Mazda RX-7 when it spun out, which led him to believe perhaps there was a traction problem.
Boodasingh: Racing procedure done differently this year
Duane Boodasingh, managing director of TriniTuner.com, T&T’s largest automotive website said in 2014 and 2015 when Robert Amar was the president of TTASA, everything was done for the CMRC events by the association such as promotions, marketing, logistics and competitions.
He said this year the procedure was a little different. The association sent out a request for proposal and the promoter who won the tender, Kanick was responsible for setting up events, marketing, infrastructure and facilities, enabling TTASA to focus more on the competition aspect.
Boodasingh said Kanick had experience running events sanctioned by TTASA and numerous drag racing events this year and last year.
He said the Ministry of Sports had contacted TTASA about putting safety protocols in place and they complied.