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Button praises Bushy Park at Barbados FoS


Former F1 World Champion Jenson Button raced against cars, karts and a plane when he headed a cast of international visitors at the Barbados Festival of Speed. Despite thunderstorms beating across the island, a flood warning in place and social media rumours of postponement, the second BFoS was always planned for an afternoon start, as it could run into the night under the lights; after some early dodging of showers, the entire eight-hour programme was successfully run.

In interviews throughout the day, Button heaped praise on the venue. The 2009 World Champion and veteran of 306 Grand Prix starts told the crowd: “You guys are very lucky to have something like Bushy Park. I’ve raced all over and there is nothing else like this in the world. This place has a very special atmosphere.”

After a five-lap demonstration in a BFoS-liveried Radical SR3, Button was interviewed by former UK pro-racer turned presenter Steve Deeks, then drove Hot Laps for on-line prize draw winners Krystle Boyce and Alex Taylor. Next he raced against fellow-Brit and ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, six laps each in a Radical and Easykart 125, with a final four laps in the Radicals . . . Stevens was the winner.

For many, the highlight was Button’s race against Pete Wells in the Twister aerobatic plane, which Button was judged to have won. He described it as “the most extraordinary experience ever. The last pass going in to the hairpin, he was so low I really thought it was a car next to me. It was proper scary.”

Finally, he faced multiple BKA Champion Zane Maloney, Button again in the Radical and Maloney in the F4 single-seater. While a close battle was anticipated, Button hung back to give the rising star some lessons in downforce and tactics. Maloney said: “What an amazing day! It was great to be around so many talented drivers who all gave me great pointers and advice.”

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Thrills for all on the ground and in the air

While Jenson Button played his starring role in Barbados Festival of Speed with great enthusiasm, there was an impressive supporting cast, some of whom joined him in his various challenges. Former F1 driver Will Stevens not only raced against Button in the F1 Driver Challenge - Stevens won, thanks to being quicker in the first transition, from Radical to Easykart - but also drove some spirited demonstration laps in JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari 458 GT2, without doubt the noisiest car of the day.

Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior driver George Russell, who had clinched the GP3 Series title just a week before at Jerez in Spain, and 2014 European Le Mans Series Champion Oliver Webb were also on the roster. While Stevens drove the Ferrari, Russell and Webb lapped in the other SuperCars shipped in for the event, the Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Diablo and Porsche GT3.

The Twister Aerobatics Duo were kept busy during their first visit to the Caribbean, with outings during the week alongside Spring Garden Highway, but they saved the best ‘til last, with two superb displays at Bushy Park. While the schedule had to be shuffled to ensure they could fly – taking off or landing on a wet track is not an option – they were the ‘talk of the town’, following their stunning aerobatics, the like of which the island has never seen.

The Dreamers Banger Racing Team, back by public demand for a second visit, did not disappoint, either. Equipped with a complement of brand new purpose-built Micro Bangers decked out in a host of national flags and, with a mix of old favourites and newcomers on the driving force, there was entertainment aplenty. Once again, the ‘no-holds-barred’ approach to Banger racing was one of the highlights of BFoS and had the crowd on their feet.

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Esuf and Gale win Suzuki Challenge Series titles

In a dramatic finale to the Suzuki Challenge Series during BFoS, Sol Esuf withstood huge pressure from Stuart Maloney in the double-points final to win back-to-back SR3 Cup titles. Despite finishing only third and fourth in the last two races, Barry Gale had done enough to lift the Swift Cup crown, as the Suzuki regulars raced under the new all-arena lighting for the first time.

Esuf arrived with a 20-point cushion over Maloney, but he took the advantage in Qualifying, the only driver to start from pole twice this year, with brother Mark alongside; Ryan Gonsalves of St Vincent & The Grenadines started third, ahead of Sean Maloney and David Simpson, with Esuf last. In damp to drying conditions, Stuart Maloney led the daylight 12-lapper for all but a couple of laps and looked set to cut his deficit from 20 to seven points, until Esuf snatched third from Gonsalves on the final lap, for a gap of 10 going into the final. With 50 points for the win, 36 for second, whichever of these two won would be Champion. While Simpson challenged Esuf for the lead off the reversed grid front row, the pole-sitter stood firm; once Maloney was in second, he chipped away at the lead, but Esuf withstood the pressure to claim his ninth SR3 Cup win, and the 2017 title.

In the Swift Cup, points-leader Barry Gale and Trinidad & Tobago’s Ryan Peyrau started the day four points apart, with Justin Campbell another 26 behind. Campbell claimed his first pole position, ahead of Peyrau, Gale and Reigning Champion Ryan Wood, then led all but one lap of the daylight race. As drivers scrabbled for grip in damp conditions, Wood fought through to second, ahead of Gale and Peyrau, the 30-point spread across the three title-contenders now slashed to 20.

Subbing for Josh Read, Rhett Watson was never challenged in the reversed grid race. Although Campbell and Peyrau crossed the line second and fourth, with Wood the meat in the sandwich, a last-lap incident prompted amended results, with Wood second, Campbell third and Peyrau last, thanks to a jump-start penalty. Even without those penalties, Gale’s second and fourth-place finishes would still have given him the title, while Campbell passed Peyrau to finish second at year-end.

http://suzukichallengeseries.com/news/2017/10/16/esuf-and-gale-win-suzuki-challenge-series-titles/

BADD & BPMSI members showcased at BFoS

Local motor sport clubs shared the limelight with the international visitors to BFoS, as members of the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD) and Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI) showcased their separate disciplines under the new all-arena lighting. BADD staged a dozen demonstration runs with a variety of match-ups to illustrate its broad cross-section of categories - normally-aspirated, NOS, fwd, rwd & 4wd. Dan Johnson set the fastest time of the evening at 6.795s in the electric Westfield Megawatt in a run against Matthew ‘DMZ’ Forde (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III), who set the second-best time of 7.066s.

In the season’s biggest and best round of BPMSI’s Hilti Handicap Championship for Cars, 20 cars were led away by Kevin Wiggins (Toyota Starlet), who was fourth in the standings with 35 points after four rounds, three behind leader and Reigning Champion Tremaine Forde-Catwell. TF-C started (and finished) near the back in the family Nissan Turbo, after his Daihatsu Charmant developed issues, while second-placed Kyle King’s Starlet was also out of action; although third-placed Andre Corbin (Toyota Corolla) started the race, he finished last.

Wiggins led comfortably early on, with Samuel Mayers (Corolla) leading the chasing pack. All eyes were on Stuart Maloney (Radical SR3), however, who had started almost three minutes and more than a lap behind Wiggins; he moved on to the same lap mid-way through the 10-lap race, then chased Wiggins down for a second time, passing him for victory on the last lap. Second place was good enough for Wiggins to secure the Hilti Handicap title, however, ahead of Forde-Catwell and King.

After just one round of the Hilti Handicap for Bikes, Ronnie Cooke (Yamaha R6) had a seven-point lead over Kevin Bynoe (Suzuki GSX-R600), with Reigning Champion Terrance ‘Repsol’ Ollivierre (Suzuki GSX-R600) third, another three points adrift. Cooke retired mid-way through the six-lap race, however, which Ollivierre won from Shirley Scantlebury (Suzuki GSX-R600), earning him back-to-back titles.

http://www.baddmotorsports.com/

 

Simpson wins star-studded BKA Handicap at BFoS

When the Barbados Karting Association (BKA) members lined up for their 15-lap encounter on the anti-clockwise north-western circuit during BFoS, Blake and Jayden Thompson and Daniel Ullyett were at the front in their 60cc Easykarts. Jenson Button, Zane Maloney – fresh from finishing fifth in the CIK-FIA World OK-Junior Championship in the UK - and former F1 driver Will Stevens started at the back driving 125cc Easykart Lights, held by lengthy handicaps. The track was abuzz with action as the faster karts started to move through the field.

Having started 12th, double Easykart Cadet Champion Kyffin Simpson made steady progress, shadowed by Adam Mallalieu, these two both in 100cc Easykarts, up to sixth and seventh by half-distance; Simpson hit the front with three laps to go, Mallalieu tucked in behind him. Maloney snatched third on the final lap from three-time Trinidad & Tobago Karting Champion Ryan Peyrau, who was also racing in the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup, with Button and Benjamin Moore completing the top six.

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Half-time show and Hot laps spice up BFoS

Caribbean Soca Queen Alison Hinds was the headline act in a fast-paced half-time show at Barbados Festival of Speed, which had the crowd dancing along. Shortly after the Dreamers Banger Racing Team had ended the first part of the on-track entertainment, AJA’s half-time show was set up on the start-line in front of the crowd on The Hill and ready to rock. As well as Hinds, who had also given a stirring rendition of the National Anthem at the start of the day’s proceedings, the show included Nikita and Marz Ville, along with the Mosaic Steelpan Band, a fire-eater, dancers and stilt walkers.

Earlier in the day, two lucky prize-winners enjoyed Hot Laps around the full 2.01-kilometre circuit with star guest Jenson Button in a Radical SR3. All that Krystle Boyce and Alex Taylor had done to win their prize was to buy their BFoS tickets on-line early, something worth remembering for everyone in the future. Not only did they meet – and get driven by – the 2009 World Champion, but they became the stars of a short on-line video following their day, from signing-on, spoofing to see who would go first, the helmet fitting and, finally, the ride itself.

After her experience, and through tears of excitement, Krystle told Belle Holder (and the crowd) how she had screamed out at work when she got the call telling her she had won. Describing her trip round Bushy Park as “awesome”, she said there was really no way of describing to others what it was like . . . they just needed to experience it themselves. Alex’s story was even more unlikely, as she was a first-time visitor to Barbados on holiday and received the call about being a winner while waiting at the airport with husband Mike to fly out. She said: “It was an amazing experience, my heart was pumping. It will take a lot for next year’s holiday to beat this one!”

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Massy United Insurance Driving Academy on the way

Massy United Insurance has partnered with Bushy Park Barbados in an attempt to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents on our island roads. The Massy United Insurance Driving Skills Academy will deliver practical, life-saving, high performance skills, while providing a better understanding of the mechanics of a vehicle. The courses will specialise in overall driver development, accident reduction, vehicle-specific operational environments and comprehensive theory.

There will be three packages available, which will cater to young adults learning to drive, existing everyday drivers, also companies that wish to improve the driving skills of their employees. All packages will include a comprehensive theoretical classroom briefing and a full assessment and accreditation process upon successful completion.

The Clubman package will be a part-day professional driver development course, with modules on the highway and on the Bushy Park track, in which the delegate will drive his or her own vehicle (subject to technical inspection). The Pro Drive package will offer a half-day professional driver development course, with modules on the highway and the Bushy Park track, skid area and finesse stage using Bushy Park vehicles. The Fleet Pro Package is a bespoke professional driver development course, aimed at fleet and commercial operators and drivers. It will include modules on the highway and the Bushy Park track, skid area and finesse stage using a mixture Bushy Park and the operator’s own vehicles. Additional modules will be developed to service each client’s own operational challenges.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

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‘De Focus’ joins Team Barbados for CMRC final

Mark Maloney and Mark Thompson are each targeting back-to-back Group titles when they head to Guyana for the final round of the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) on November 11/12. And former Champion Roger Mayers is making the trip, too, taking ‘De Focus’ to South Dakota for the first time since he clinched the CMRC title there in 2011’s last race.

Following round three at Bushy Park in September, Maloney (Mazda RX-3) leads Group 4 (2wd) by 25 points from Trinidad & Tobago’s Franklin Boodram (Renault Megane Trophy), with Jamaica’s Peter Rae (RX-7) third on 78. Although the other regional entries have not yet been confirmed, work to cure some technical issues with Maloney’s Mazda have brought the car back to peak fitness, so he is expected to be a strong challenger in Guyana. While Mayers has scored only once this year – victory in the opening round at Bushy Park earned him 25 points – he still has a mathematical chance of taking the Group 4 (4wd) title, although that would depend on some bad luck for the opposition.

In Group 2, Thompson (Honda Civic) faces a tougher challenge, with just 11 points spread across the top four drivers: thanks to a half-points allocation for a shortened race at Wallerfield in T&T, Thompson has 112.5 points, with the T&T trio of Daryl Ali (112pts), Luke Bhola (109) and Bridget Singh (102), all in Honda Civics, snapping at his heels.

With a total of 1,275 points, Trinidad & Tobago looks set to win back-to-back Country titles, but the battle for the places is still on. Barbados has 457 points, ahead of Jamaica (330pts) and Guyana (181pts), which can be expected to field a strong home team for the final round to boost its total.

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Our monthly update on other goings-on behind the scenes at Bushy Park Barbados:

 
• although the 2017 season is starting to wind down, there will still be plenty on offer at Bushy Park Barbados. Throughout the coming months, patrons can enjoy the Karting, Kidz Karting, Off-road Karting, Suzuki Swift and Radical SR3 Driving Experiences. For Karting, Bushy Park can tailor the activity to suit your needs – a birthday party, a corporate outing, or perhaps a Christmas Special! Talking of the Festive Season, our Christmas Vouchers are now available, and there are already some functions and parties booked in our Clubhouse and VIP facility. If you want to do something special over the holiday period, call us on 537-1360 (Mon-Fri, 8.00am – 5.00pm) . . .

• our all-arena lighting is now fully operational! After many weeks of frenetic activity as local contractors worked alongside the American firm Musco Lighting, the installation was completed in time for the Festival of Speed, adding a whole new dimension to the event. The system is designed so that only the required area is lit when in use – for instance, the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters will run their final race meet of the year under lights on the drag strip in the north. We will also be offering our popular Driving Experiences to patrons after the sun has gone down – keep an eye out on social media for more information . . .

• the Karting Experience track has undergone a makeover, so a new lap record will soon be set, and there’s a fantastic prize up for grabs – check out our Facebook page. If you want to see your name on the brand new Leader Board, then contact us on either of these numbers: 537-1360 (Mon-Fri, 8.00am – 5.00pm) or 256-0114 (Sat-Sun 8.00am – 4.00pm) . . .

• congratulations to Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey, who finished fifth in the Radical Challenge Championship, crowning his first season racing in the UK with the Driver of the Day Award at the Snetterton finals in early October, where he finished third, fourth and second in the weekend’s three races. He will be one of a handful of Radical SR3 drivers who will drive demonstration laps at the Seaboard Marine CMRC final at his home track of South Dakota on November 11/12 . . .

Upcoming events

November 11 – Open Track Day

November 19 – BKA SDRR Motorsports/Chefette Championship, round 10

November 26 – BADD Launch Control, round 4

December 10 – Open Track Day
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