Neil Gonsalves retains Champion Driver title

By Isaiah Chappelle
Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2000

FOR the second straight year, Neil Gonsalves of Pomeroon, raced away with the Champion Driver of the Bartica Regatta Power Boat racing meet on Easter Sunday.

The boats were classified `A' and `B'. Gonsalves was crowned the `B' Champion while Monty Belle took the `A' title.

Gonsalves carried the chequered flag three times competing in the 40 HP and 75 HP category, while Belle entered the 150-200 HP races.

The Pomeroon driver won his first race in the second of the 10-event programme - the only race for 40 HP. Piloting Trouble, Neil beat Moses Gonsalves in Mighty Max. Gerald Gill, in Shalom, placed third.

In the very next race, Neil Gonsalves was again a winner. Entering the 75 HP in Miracle, he crossed the finishing line ahead of Devnarine Persaud in Jaguar 2 and Brian Pollard in CBR.

Gonsalves completed his victories racing in Miracle in the second event which was the last event for 75 HP. Gobin Boodhoo in Power Ranger placed second and Davnarine Persaud third.

Belle claimed his first points by placing third with his Carib boat in the fifth event which was for 150-200 HP. Stephen Belle in his Yamaha 36 won the race, with Vijai Ramsingh in Ganga Mata third.

Monty Belle carried the chequered flag in Event 9, which was originally for 90-115 HP. With no competitors showing up for the event, the 150-200 HP drivers agreed to compete for the same prize money up for the 90-115 so as to maintain interest in the races.

Mark Fagundes in Sonny Boy placed second, with Davnarine Persaud coming in third.

Belle finished second in the Race of Champions, the unlimited race which climaxed the day of racing. Ian Gonsalves, in a passenger boat named Angel, won the race and Fagundes came in third.

Event 7 was full of drama. It was the Ganesh Ramsingh Memorial race for all categories of boats. The race was aborted after the first lap, with Stephen Belle leading comfortably. However, some passenger boats entered the racing circuit and the drivers did not continue.

The race was restarted but Stephen Belle did not enter. Ganga Mata was leading but he took the Western turn too sharp and went down.

Sonny Boy shot ahead to win the race overall and the 90-115 HP category, the only boat in that category. Monty Belle was the only 150-200 HP boat to finish, thus winning that category.

The 75 HP category was won by Gobin Boodhoo in Power Ranger, with Davnarine Persaud in Jaguar 2 coming second and Brian Pollard in CBR third.

Racing began with an event for both the 15 HP and 25 HP Fisherman's categories. Lennox Baharally in Little 2 won the smaller engines, with Henry Da Silva, in Silva, finishing second and Patrick Singh in Torpedo third.

The 25 HP category was won by Moses Gonsalves in Incredible Kid, followed by Gerald Gill.

Gonsalves was back in winners' row in Event five for 90-115 powerboats. This time he drove Double Delight, with Mark Gonsalves, in Trouble, finishing second and Gerald Gill in Shalom third.

The event for passenger boats did not come off. Heineken Beer sponsored six events, Ming's Product and Services one and Bristol two.

Patron of the Regatta, People's National Congress (PNC) leader Hugh Desmond Hoyte, led the Lap of Honour to officially start the races.