Jenson Button headlines Barbados Festival of Speed

Former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button will headline the second Barbados Festival of Speed, the new date for which is confirmed as Saturday, October 14. The one-day event will run from day into night, promising an epic new experience for spectators, thanks to the full-arena lighting currently being installed at the St Philip facility. In a recorded message played at the Media Briefing on May 12, Button said: “I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be in Barbados for the 2017 Barbados Festival of Speed on October 14. I’m really looking forward to some fun driving challenges and I can’t wait to see you all. It’s going to an amazing event. Cheers!”

Winner of 15 grands prix and a podium finisher on 50 occasions, Button won his title while racing for the new Brawn GP team in 2009, but moved to McLaren the following year as team-mate to Lewis Hamilton, who has starred in two major events at Bushy Park, Top Gear Festival Barbados 2014 and last year’s BFoS. Button retired from F1 at the end of last season, but remains a McLaren-Honda Ambassador, and will stand in for Fernando Alonso at the Monaco GP on May 28, when the Spaniard makes his debut in the Indianapolis 500.

Bushy Park Circuit Inc (BPCI) Operations Manager, Amy Willis said: “We are delighted that Jenson has agreed to headline the second Festival of Speed; he knows the island well from spending family holidays here in the past and tells us he is greatly looking forward to visiting again. And we wish him well at Monaco this coming weekend. We have some exciting new overseas acts booked, some of which will make the very best use of our new lighting towers, along with some old favourites. I think we pretty much have something for everyone this year, making this first International night-time event truly memorable.”


Sol Rally Barbados 2017 final stage at Bushy Park

Two kilometres, technical and tricky! That is the final stage of Sol Rally Barbados 2017, which is scheduled to start at 4.15pm on Sunday, June 4 . . . and it will be a timed stage, included in the results, not the sort of “let your hair down” blast of previous years, so everyone will need to be on top of their game. Just check the layout carefully. At the annual Media Briefing on May 10, Sol RB17 was being touted as perhaps the toughest in the 28-year history of the Barbados Rally Club’s premier event; at 132.60km, it is the longest since 2004 and the average length of timed stages is more than six kilometres for the first time ever, so the 92 crews on the provisional entry list will be under pressure from beginning to end.

The Bushy Park pits are the new home of ‘Rally Central’, which provides a secure location for most of the international and regional crews. In addition to the traditional services provided in the past - workshop facilities, office, 24-hour security, storage and washrooms - the new location also offers the added advantage of track time being available for testing. The Geest Line freighter Benguela Stream arrived at the Bridgetown Port early on the morning of Saturday, May 6 and, by mid-week, more than 30 rally cars and two ‘service barges’ were safely tucked up in St Philip.

Both 4x4 Zones will be open for the final stage of the weekend, as well as the Clubhouse, so save some $$$ with our Early Bird offers! At the end of the Bushy Park stage, competitors and cars will head up to The Hill, to meet service crews, supporters and spectators for a well-deserved After-Party. You really don’t want to miss it!

Bailey moves ahead in BPMSI Champion Driver table

Adrian Bailey is the new leader of the Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI) Champion Driver title chase following the Glassesco John ‘Tiny’ Harrison Memorial Race Meet on May 6/7. A hat-trick of wins in Group 1/Class 2 moved him ahead of class-mate and former leader Devan McCartney, who had a weekend to forget, no points scored. With a total of 108, Bailey has a slender cushion of two points over Gp1/C1 leader Andre Walcott, with Derek Edwards, now second in Bailey’s class, third overall on 95; McCartney, who started the day with 75 points, has slipped to equal sixth with Mark Maloney, also falling behind Tremaine Forde-Catwell and Ripley Greene.

Bailey claimed his three wins in his Peugeot 205, although he inherited the first when race-winner Robert Gill (Toyota Starlet) was handed a 10-second jump-start penalty. After starting at the back of the grid in race one, having missed Qualifying, McCartney (Honda CRX) retired on lap two, following contact, then pulled off during race two, before failing to start the third. As was the case at BPMSI March fixture, Gp1/C1 was not fully subscribed, so three-time winner Walcott (Suzuki Swift) again suffered reduced points. Edwards (BMW 318ti Compact) has finished lower than third in class only once in his first full season, in the first race on May 7, run in tricky damp conditions.

Kevin Wiggins (Toyota Starlet) enjoyed an unchallenged run to victory in the Hilti Handicap for Cars, to give him a share of the championship lead on 25 points with Kyle King (Toyota Starlet), who won in March. Edwards and Bailey, the only two drivers to have scored points in both races, are third and fourth, with 21 and 20 points respectively.


Record-breaking start for Suzuki Challenge Series

The third Suzuki Challenge Series got off to a record-breaking start at the Glassesco John ‘Tiny’ Harrison Memorial Race Meet on May 6/7. Early leader of the SR3 Cup, reigning Champion Suleman Esuf, set new Qualifying and Race Lap Records, while Josh Read edged ahead in the Swift Cup, the first time he has led the post-event standings.

Ryan Wood was quickest in Swift Cup Practice but it was Trinidad & Tobago’s Ryan Peyrau who claimed his eighth Swift Cup pole. In the rain-affected opening race, Read looked set to claim his second Swift Cup win, but came under pressure from Wood, then Barry Gale, who both passed, to finish in that order. In race two, on a dry track, Read’s timing of the Joker Lap worked perfectly and he drove off to win by 4secs; initially placed second, newcomer Justin Campbell was penalised for unnecessary contact to finish seventh, his fortunes improved in the lively third race. With everyone trying to occupy the same piece of track as they left the grid, Peyrau and Read emerged ahead. Campbell and Wood took their Jokers on lap one and eased up the order, Campbell finishing third behind Peyrau and Read.

Esuf’s new Qualifying record (58.407s) bettered Sean Maloney’s 58.416s of last March, but Maloney looked set for victory in the opening race, until a spin handed the lead to Mark Maloney, with brother Stuart and Esuf in close company; the order remained the same to the flag. Ryan Gonsalves (St Vincent & The Grenadines) was on pole for the reverse grid race, but soon lost the advantage to Sean Maloney, with Esuf second, until contact with Mark Maloney spun them down the field. Esuf fought back to finish second, sandwiched between Stuart and Sean Maloney. In the final race, a quick getaway enabled Esuf to take an early lead and, with a clear track, he lowered the lap record twice, to leave it at 58.236s. Mark and Sean Maloney completed the podium.
Records tumble at second BADD Launch Control
Competition was tight at round 2 of the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD) Launch Control on May 6/7, with all three of the Club’s key one-eighth records broken, in FWD, RWD and 4WD. Having earlier claimed a hat-trick of class wins in Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc’s (BPMSI) circuit racing programme in his Suzuki Swift, Andre Walcott took top honours in the 10-second class. He now leads BADD’s Champion Driver title chase by six points from Nicholas Pinto, who topped the 9-second group in his nitrous-fed Mitsubishi Colt. Devon Holder (Mitsubishi Lancer), runner-up in his class in March, went one better to win the 9.5-second class.

Shawn Eversley won the 8.5-second group in his Suzuki Swift GTi, while his workmate Kevin Griffith, also in a Swift GTi, not only made off with honours in the 8-second group, but also set a new FWD record of 8.098s. Reco Barrow (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI) won the 7.5-second class, and Corey Stanford (Toyota Corolla) topped the 7-second class. Robert Bishop, sharing Jimmy Small’s Evo VII, managed to do a better time than Small to take the 6-second class. Driving his electric-powered Westfield, Dan Johnson lowered his previous RWD record to 6.462s.

But the record-breaking action was not confined to the Eliminations. Small had already established a new 4WD record in Saturday Qualifying, his fastest time clocked at 6.283s, compared with Suleman ‘Sol’ Esuf’s 6.288s from February . . . and the record would change hands again, when BPMSI drivers were invited to the Grudge Matches, among them Esuf, who came out to add to the Qualifying and Race Lap Records he had set on track in his Radical SR3. Driving his brother Ahmed’s Evo IX, he and Small had one of the closest and fastest races on record - Esuf did 6.226s, but Small won with a time of 6.224s, just two-thousandths quicker. Bishop then lowered the record to 6.136s, before Esuf ended the evening on 6.131s. A truly memorable day!

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

• reigning Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Group 4 2wd Champion Mark Maloney was in action at JamWest in Jamaica last weekend in the opening round of the 2017 series. After running off at the first corner of race one with brake failure, Maloney won Group 4 2wd in the second race, before the third was abandoned following a rolling start incident involving Doug Gore and David Summerbell Jnr. We wish Gore, who suffered a fractured vertebra in the impact, and the track marshals who were injured rapid and full recoveries . . .

• good luck to all those with Bushy Park connections in the upcoming Flow King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados. Senior Driving Instructor Orry Hunte and co-driver Chris Haywood are entered in a Mitsubishi Lancer in Modified 2, where the competition will include the Honda Civics of reigning Barbados Rally Club Champion (BRC) Driver Daryl Clarke and Bushy Park Motorsports Inc Treasurer Kurt Thompson, who campaigned his rally car at the last BPMSI meeting here in May. Facilities Co-ordinator Kurt Seabra will again co-drive for Thompson’s brother Mark in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX; they are already ahead in the points, after winning the class at the Automotive Art Shakedown Stages in April. Finally, we hope that our Operations Co-ordinator Shannon Kirton is not too busy over those two weekends, as she is the BRC Safety Officer. Good luck to all, and safe rallying!

• while on the topic of Bushy Park connections, congratulations to Guyana’s Calvin Ming, a race-winner here in the Suzuki Challenge SR3 Cup. Following last weekend’s penultimate round of the NACAM Formula 4 Championhip, he leads the series by 55 points ahead of the final at the Autodromo Hermano Rodrigues in Mexico City on June 17-18. He has won seven of the 21 races since the series started at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last September and claimed six pole positions, more than any other driver . . .

• the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Soca Royale will staged at Bushy Park for the fourth consecutive year, the date being Sunday, July 30. Track users are advised that the full International Circuit will be unavailable for testing for the three weeks from Monday, July 17, to allow for the build and subsequent break-down of the Soca Royale infrastructure. Bushy Park Karting Experiences will, however, operate as normal, as the south side of the facility is not affected . . .

• Royal Bank of Canada is among the latest of a growing number of local businesses to organise a Corporate Day at Bushy Park. Whether it is a way of rewarding employees for their hard work, a team-building event to bring the workforce closer together . . . or even a family fun day, which involves a far wider range of people, we can help create it. The options are seemingly endless: Driving Experiences in Karts – on-track and off-road - Suzuki Swifts or Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 sports cars, with a wide range of event formats. The opportunities for entertaining are as extensive, from simple to grand – with the Clubhouse, Club Members Lounge, Corporate Suites and the Open Air Suites, there’s an offering to suit all budgets. The Driving Experiences are managed by a team of professionals and safety is of prime importance. All participants are given a safety briefing and the appropriate safety gear for the activity of their choice. Go Pro cameras can be rented for those who wish to make their best friends jealous of the fun day they had, and time sheets are available to confirm how well things went . . . or not! Please call us on 537-1360 to discuss your needs . . .


Upcoming events

June 4 – Sol Rally Barbados Final Stage & Rally Finish

June 18 – BKA SDRR Motorsports/Chefette Championship, round 5

June 25 – Open Track Day

July 1 – BPMSI 2017 Championship, round 3

July 9 – BKA SDRR Motorsports/Chefette Championship, round 6

July 30 – Soca Royale

October 14 – Barbados Festival of Speed 2017

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