One of the biggest annual sporting events in Trinidad and Tobago is The Carib Great Race. This powerboat race hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Powerboat Association (TTBA) covers about 115 miles from the coastal waters in the Gulf of Trinidad off Port-of-Spain to Scarborough in Tobago. Trinis flock to the sister isle to witness the finish and enjoy massive party that follows on Pigeon Point Beach called The Great Fete. As a child, I used to watch it on television (when it was The Du Maurier Great Race) and remember winners like One Zee, Mr. Solo and of course, Checkmate. I always figured that it was a spectacle but thanks to this YouTube video by Marcus G Productions called Great Race 2013 Official Movie – I know it is. Marcus Gomez and his team show us The Carib Great Race from the competitors’ point of view as they are the ones telling the story. We also see the hard work and dedication required to brave the open waters at speeds in excess of 100mph. Enjoy the video and my chat with Marcus about its production and what’s in store for 2014!
MLAS: This isn’t your first Great Race video. How did you first get involved with the series?
MG: This is my third Great Race video. The last two years were full 45 minutes to hour long movies that premiered in MovieTowne and iMax theaters. I got involved in the series as I am a powerboat racer myself. I race a boat named Elixir in the 80 mph class and have always found the Great Race coverage could have been better. Our boat was doing some major repairs in 2011 to 2013 so I was no longer racing. I told the TTPBA in 2011 to put me in a chopper and let me show them a short teaser of what I could do for the race. After seeing this video they decided to try to get me a budget and we decided to do a full movie. I took the spin on making it a documentary style film that tells the story of the race through the racers’ eyes and what their experience was like.
MLAS: How long did production take?
MG: The full length movie took approximately three months to complete. We start filming almost two months before the race and spent a month after going through hours of footage and piecing together the movie.
MLAS: Without divulging too many of your secrets how do you prepare to shoot the Carib Great Race?
MG: Preparing to shoot Great Race comes down to a lot of planning and coordination. As I know all of the racers in the racing community, I know when and where they will be working and testing and am in constant contact with them to make sure nothing is missed. Once everything is planned out the shooting tends to run quite smoothly. The story line is then the tricky part to put together. I have tried to make it a film that not only the racers could watch and enjoy but anyone worldwide.
MLAS: What is it like filming the actual race on a helicopter over open water?
MG: Filming the race on race day from the helicopter is quite an experience. You are strapped in by a small waist harness and dangling 80% of your body outside a helicopter travelling at speeds up to 140mph. The winds are so strong that it feels like it is pulling the hair out of your legs. Quite often we are flying very low over the water and the helicopter experiences a great deal of vibration and turbulence so keeping the shot steady is a task. It all happens over a time of about two hours but it feels a lot quicker, as it is very hectic and trying to cover as many boats over 115 mile course as possible is very tricky. I actually coordinate where the chopper goes and how long we stay with each boat using my judgment on the speeds of the winners as we don’t want to stay too far behind and not be able to catch the winner to see them finish.
MLAS: Your body of work also contains regattas, kite surfing, rallying and more. Do you consider yourself a fan of action sports?
MG: I do a lot of action and sport productions. This is mainly because I actively compete in many of these sports myself. With this greater understanding of each of these sports I have been able to film and capture them in different ways and am always looking for different ways to showcase the many great athletes and sports our country has to offer.
MLAS: Will you be filming this year’s race too?
MG: Right now we are planning the filming of Great Race 2014. I will be racing great race this year but my production team is still planning to cover the event. We are working on ideas right now for a different spin on the race from what we have done before but still in the very early pre-production stages.
A Final Word
You can keep up with Marcus G Productions via their website and Facebook page. The 46th Carib Great Race is scheduled to take place on August 23, 2014, while the usual Boat Parade will be on August 9th. You can keep up with the action by finding them on the web and Facebook. All the best to this year’s competitors!