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In a hail of bullets an illustrious racing career was snuffed out, plunging the motor racing fraternity, indeed the sporting community, into shock.
“It is an extreme tragedy,” former president of the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club, Keith Evelyn, told Chronicle Sport.
“This is a great loss to the nation, a great loss to sports and a great lost to motor racing,” Evelyn said.
The racer said superlatives could not adequately describe the kind of man Gavin Naraine was.
“I’m one of his greatest competitors, yet he brought in tyres for me,” Evelyn related.
“He was an excellent friend, an excellent competitor, an excellent committee member and an excellent club member,” Evelyn emphasised.
Naraine was the reigning National motor racing champion, whose performance attracted sponsors. He started defending the title this year with new sponsorship for the first leg of the National series in April
The Universal Airlines logo was the latest to adorn the racer’s Mazda RX7, joining Esso and Mobil 1 that renewed sponsorship, Wieting & Richter and NuSwift, ICI Autocolor, Laparkan, Amin’s Esso, Ganesh Parts, Maraj Travel Agency and Ramroop Furniture Store.
“I personally have seen Gavin Naraine drive and he is a winner,” Universal’s vice-president Mark De Freitas said at the official ceremony.
Naraine was so good that he clinched the national championship title last year, without finding a gear in the fourth and final outing in the November International meet. He had electrical problems, but had already amassed an unassailable tally of 82 points from seven wins in the first three legs.
From the first meet last year, Naraine sent a strong signal that he was back to reclaim his top position in Group 2, though his Mazda RX machine was still recovering from a severe accident in 1999 in a Trinidad & Tobago meet.
The machine is a first generation Mazda RX7, which he bought in 1995, from whence he dominated Group 2A.
Naraine won nine Champion Driver titles, including being twice crowned National Champion, in 1997 and last year.
After winning the National Champion title in 1997, Gavin was nominated for the National Sportsman of Year award.
And in the first meet this year, Naraine again won all Group 2A races and went up to Group 3, grabbing a second and a third, to be named Overall Champion, along with his Group 2A crown.
Naraine should have gone to Trinidad & Tobago for the May meet but was ill and was just recovering. He was looking forward to the upcoming meet at the South Dakota Circuit.
Chronicle Sport extends condolences to his wife, daughter, relatives, friends and the motor racing community.