By Latrishka Thomas
Family, friends and members of the drag racing fraternity say they are taking solace in the fact that Marcus Williams, who died at a racing event on Saturday, left the world “doing something that he loved and was passionate about”.
Those are the words of Jason Gilead, country manager of the Unicomer Courts store where Guyana-born Williams worked for over a decade, first as a technician and later as an independent contractor.
Gilead extended condolences to Williams’ family on behalf of the Courts team.
“No one can believe that he’s no longer with us,” he told Observer. “Marcus was valued by our team. He was an amazing person; always going above and beyond, dedicated, and he will long be remembered as one of the calmest persons you’ll ever meet.
“I just like to extend our sincerest condolences to Marcus’ family, his wife and children, and his extended circle of family and friends.”
Gilead said “the team is not taking it very well at all” and, as a result, counsellors will be enlisted to help them cope.
Williams’ wife Nicola told Observer she was “still trying to come to grips with the loss and just take it easy.”
While speaking with Nicola, who is also from Guyana, the sound of grieving visitors could be heard in the background.
The life of the 45-year-old Cassada Gardens resident was honoured with a moment of silence yesterday at the ‘Champion of Champions’ event at North Sound International Raceway where his life was taken.
Social media posts by Team Spartans Racing and Antigua Streetz stated that the two-day event would continue as planned on Sunday, in honour of both Williams and Brian Kelsick, a skilled mechanic and veteran racer, who died in August after a stroke.
Following Kelsick’s death, Williams was said to be one of the first to suggest that the show must go on.
“Champion of Champions honoured you with a post while you were alive and you were very proud to be featured,” Team Spartans Racing group wrote of Williams on its Facebook page.
It added, “the love and passion you had for it was known by the entire fraternity. Some may know of you while others may just be reading about you. Together we’ll all remember you. After Brian’s death our spirits were down and the thought of cancelling Brand Explosion came to mind. You said, Brian wouldn’t want that.”
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Drag Racing Association, Gene Mason, said cancelling the event had been considered, however, Antigua and Barbuda was hosting a number of guests from other countries who had travelled to take part.
On Saturday night, the Association issued a statement extending condolences to Williams’ family.
“The fatal accident occurred about 7.45pm at the end of the race track beyond the designated Shut Down area where there is adequate distance for any racer to slow down to a complete stop,” it said.
It was also noted that all safety precautions with regards to the raceway were followed and the ambulance and Fire Department were present on the compound.
The Association added that the purple Honda Civic which Williams was driving “passed all safety precautions and scrutineering procedures prior to the participation in the event”.
According to the police force’s communications department, the father-of-three was racing another driver when his Honda crashed into a bank at the end of the track.
The vehicle is said to have burst into flames shortly afterwards.
Police said the jaws of life were used to pull Williams’ body from the wreckage. He was pronounced dead at around 9.19pm last night.
Williams’ death is the first fatal road accident recorded in the country this year.