BKA Championship Round 1

Gill tops BKA table, but rookies star on the day

Reigning Barbados Karting Association (BKA) Champion Nick Gill started his title defence in the best possible style, a clean sweep in the 310 Yamaha class rewarded with the maximum 100 points . . . but it was a busy field of karting rookies who provided some of the day’s most competitive action.

The arrival in the island last month of the first batch of Easykarts – to contest the 60cc, 100cc and 125cc classes – has resulted in a huge boost in numbers, almost 30 drivers lining up on February 8 for their four races in round one of the Frutee-Chefette BKA Championship, sponsored by Surf Shak.

The biggest class, which produced close racing and three different winners, was the 60cc ‘Cadets’, who had earlier benefitted from a second training session with Easykart UK’s Andy Cox. He focused on preparing for race day, a new experience for them all, with a refresher on the flags and pit lights used to control the race; after he explained the rolling start procedure, the rookies did some practice starts, which all passed without incident.

Come race day, Kayleigh Catwell, Kyffin Simpson and Sebastian Thompson were all Cadet race-winners, with Thompson ahead on points, thanks to two wins and two second places. Cousins Joshua and Zane Maloney had no competition in the Easykart 100s, sharing race wins equally to end the day tied on points. In the Easykart 125s, Mark Thompson enjoyed a successful return to the sport, winning all four races; despite demotion to third place in the final encounter following an accident, he was still 23 points ahead of his closest rival, Jim Mark, the day’s largest winning margin.

Gill enjoyed healthy competition in the 310 class, under pressure from Kyle Proverbs and his own brother Reggie, returning to competition, but ended the day 16 points ahead. With two wins apiece, Ricky Kirton and Christian Hinds fought wheel-to-wheel in the X30 class, Kirton edging his opponent by just one point, while Sean Maloney collected 50 points as the sole driver in the Shifter class.
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Tourism partners check out ‘the Fast Lane’

As part of a rolling programme to attract overseas visitors to the facility, Bushy Park Barbados recently hosted a group of nearly 20 key players in the tourism sector to enjoy a morning of ‘Experiences in the Fast Lane’. The invitees were drawn from hotels, including the Coral Reef Club, Little Good Harbour and The Crane, villa rental agencies such as Altman Barbados and Realtors Ltd and providers of concierge services, including Goddards Shipping Group, Platinum Port Agency and the Sun Group of Companies.

After a welcome in the Conference Room, followed by a Q & A session with Bushy Park Barbados Executive Chairman Mark Maloney, the group enjoyed light refreshments before venturing out for a tour of the facility. During a golf kart ride around the circuit, they were shown the recently-completed Luxury Car Suites, the VIP Suite overlooking the start-line straight and a Corporate Suite in the Pit Lane.

Down in the Pit Lane, Instructor Orry Hunte explained the new Bushy Park Driving Experiences to the group, with the Radical SR3 RS sports-racer, a Suzuki Swift Sport and Karts on display. Michelle Watson from the Coral Reef Club won the draw for a first-hand feel of the Driving Experiences; while Michelle enjoyed her fast laps around the circuit, the rest of the group moved to the Open-air Suites above the offices to view.

After the visit, Business Development Manager Zoe Manning said: “We had a very successful day. They were totally surprised by what we showed them as they didn’t know how much we have to offer. We look forward to working with them in building the right packages for their businesses and their clients.”

Bushy Park start for Sol Rally Barbados 2015

Sol Rally Barbados 2015 will start at Bushy Park on the evening of Friday, May 29, as the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its first International All-Stage Rally. While organisers are currently fine-tuning the format, competitors and spectators alike can look forward to a unique evening of motor sport entertainment.

As last year, when Sol RB14 also kicked off at Bushy Park, drivers will launch straight into competition against the clock, not once, but twice, with two timed stages on the agenda . . . and that promises a feast of rallying fireworks! Starting at 6.30pm, crews will run in reverse order of seeding – from the Clubman classes up to the World Rally Cars – and, with two cars on track at the same time, tension and excitement will build throughout the evening.

As the event moves away from St Philip, Saturday’s programme will start later than in recent years – currently, the target is 10.00am – with 11 stages at three venues; one will be used three times during daylight, while the fourth and final run of the other two will be after nightfall. Nine further stages at three different venues will run on Sunday, bringing the total stage distance to around 115 kilometres.

From small beginnings in 1990, the BRC’s premier event has grown into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international and a key player in the country’s sports-tourism product; with overseas interest at an all-time high, the Club expects to push the number of regional and international participants hosted by the event over the years past the 400 mark in 2015.

With more than two months to go before close, the total is approaching 90, more than half from overseas, with a host of first-timers queuing up to complete in the island.

Partners and Sponsors updated on plans

Bushy Park Barbados hosted a briefing meeting and open discussion with invitees from all the facility’s Partners and Sponsors in the third week of February. There was an excellent turn-out and all listened keenly to presentations from Executive Chairman Mark Maloney and Business Development Manager Zoe Manning.

After an overview of 2014, the delegates were introduced to Bushy Park’s 2015 calendar and the major International events for the year, Sol Rally Barbados (May 29-31), the Digicel Williams International Race Meet (September 12/13) and Red Bull Global Rallycross (October 3/4). Key to the discussion was the involvement of partners and sponsors, ways in which they could maximise their brand visibility before and during events, also ideas for co-branding and cross-promotion to the benefit of all.

The facility’s 2015 Goals were also explained, prime among which is to have the facility operating as a Monday-to-Sunday business. Progress has already been made in this direction: in addition to the calendar of weekend race meeting and track day activity, the circuit is available for hire by drivers or teams wishing to test their machines, overseas instructors are paying regular visits to train Radical drivers and new young kart racers, while the Bushy Park Driving Experiences are now getting under way.

In terms of community activities, a growing number of people are enjoying the weekday afternoon access to the facility – joggers, runners, walkers, kids on tricycles, mums with prams are all enjoying exercise in a safe and controlled environment, while a die-hard group of cyclists is using the track for more serious training.

Future plans were also outlined to the group, including the proposed Defensive Driving School, the Kids Fun Zone and the Museum, to be built on the site of the old Plantation House to the west, which is set to become another key sports-tourism attraction.

Zoe Manning said: “It was an excellent meeting, which ended with a discussion and Q & A session. They all acknowledged what had worked well, what we can improve on and how best to go forward, working together as a team. Coming out of this meeting was the decision to form a Bushy Park Committee – there was a great show of hands for that idea, so we are looking forward to working even more closely with our partners and sponsors.”

Radical Test & Development Driver visits Bushy Park

Official Radical Support Team, led by James Abbot - Radical's official test and development driver, was over for the recently held Radical Invitational.

They were over to perform testing with the new 2015 Dunlop Slicks as well as to work with the various series drivers on coaching and car set up in preparation for the Suzuki Challenge Series which kicks off on March 28th and 29th..

During their visit , James set a track fastest lap time of 59.5 seconds  followed closely by other drivers , signifying an exciting start to the series and development of the cars and drivers.

GRC tickets to go on sale online in March. Stay tuned

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