Lewis plans “a brilliant day out” at Festival of Speed

Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to “a brilliant day out” at the inaugural Barbados Festival of Speed on Sunday, May 8. He will be a busy man as he takes on challenges from former British Superbike Champion Tommy Hill, island rallying legend Roger Skeete . . . and the 2.01-kilometre Bushy Park circuit itself, all at the wheel of a Petronas AMG Mercedes F1 W04.

Even before he gets ‘to the office’ in his F1 car on Sunday morning, Hamilton will have enjoyed an evening of island culture and cuisine at Dinner with Lewis in the circuit’s VIP Suite. The earlier part of Saturday will be spent re-acquainting himself with the venue he first visited two years ago at Top Gear Festival Barbados, which launched the facility to a global audience . . . and the infrastructure has evolved significantly.

Fiercely proud of being the only current grand prix driver with Caribbean roots, Hamilton’s fondness for Barbados has been reflected in his social media output since then and, last year, in a more concrete way when he returned for Crop Over.

Looking forward to the trip, Hamilton said: “I am excited to be heading to Bushy Park Barbados, so thank you for inviting me back. There is a very special atmosphere at Bushy Park so the Barbados Festival of Speed will certainly be a brilliant day out, I can’t wait to be a part of it. It is great to see such enthusiasm for motorsports in the region.”

Hamilton is making an almost 10,000-mile round trip to be in the Caribbean between rounds four and five of the 2016 World Championship. This Sunday (May 1), he will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the Russian GP at Sochi, while the weekend after, he will be hoping to repeat his 2014 win in the Spanish GP at Barcelona (May 15).

Dinner with Lewis auction to help Karting Scholarship

As Bushy Park works to encourage the youth of the island to develop through motor sport, the Barbados Festival of Speed will make a direct contribution to that aim through a fund-raising auction during Dinner with Lewis on Saturday. The lots will include the Radical SR3 RS, originally built for last year’s Race Of Champions in London, which will be driven by Lewis Hamilton at Bushy Park on the Sunday . . . and autographed by him. Proceeds from this auction will go towards establishing a Karting Scholarship.
Sales of all Dinner and VIP event tickets close by end of day Wednesday, 4th of May.

St Philip children join keynote Independence tribute

Around 200 children from schools across St Philip will perform alongside multiple Party Monarch Edwin Yearwood and Double Road March Kings Leadpipe & Saddis in a keynote tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Independence during the Barbados Festival of Speed. With dancers and stilt-walkers adding a distinctly Caribbean flavour, the Clubhouse Straight will be transformed into a huge stage during the lunch break to host a colourful and vibrant celebration of island culture, choreographed specially for the occasion.

Earlier in the day, the Opening Ceremony will include the Barbados Defence Force Zouave Band and a parade of classic cars and cruiser bikes, escorted by flag girls and kadooment girls. They will use the entire circuit to launch the event and warm-up island fans and their families in readiness for the arrival of Lewis Hamilton and his Petronas AMG Mercedes Formula 1 car to kick-start the on-track action.

Bushy Park Circuit Inc Business Development & Marketing Manager Zoe Manning said: “Ever since the idea of the Festival of Speed was first conceptualised, in this important Anniversary year, we planned to make it a family-friendly celebration of what the island and the region has to offer, not just in terms of motoring and motor sport.

“Elements of Barbadian culture will be all around throughout the day, with a tuk band and folk characters like Mother Sally, Shaggy Bear and the Green Monkey moving through the spectator areas. But culture is about food, too, so the Festival Village will offer an array of Caribbean cuisine and specialties will be on sale including doubles, rotis, salt fish and bakes, fish cakes, jerk rabbit, pickle sea cat, roast breadfruit, wraps, curries, good old hamburgers and hot dogs and much, much more.

“Finally, during the entire day, for those who want to watch the ‘speed’ on the track but in a traditional island-style fete atmosphere, the Caesar’s Army Party Zone overlooking the quarry will have non-stop DJ music and a non-stop bar.”

First-time attractions for Bushy Park fans

From Micro Bangers to Monster Trucks, with FMX Stunt Bikes in between, Bushy Park fans will enjoy a taste of something they have not seen before, all within one action-packed day of entertainment at the Barbados Festival of Speed. Sixteen purpose-built Micro Banger race cars will be raced by some of the most successful - and most entertaining - stars of UK Banger Racing . . . and the cars will stay in the island once the drivers head home to become a new ingredient of local race meetings.

Formed in 2003, the Dreamers Banger Racing Team’s Captain is Steve Anscombe, a 30-year veteran of the sport. Second in the 1997 National Banger Racing World Championship, he has won 13 national and regional titles. The Dreamers were the subject of ‘Banger Boys’, an eight-part series on the History Channel in 2013, which followed them to venues up and down the UK, following their team battle with the Dreambusters. The Micro Bangers will be seen in action three times during the day, starting with a conventional race; the second outing will be a Roof Roll Competition, while their day will end in the traditional way, with a Demolition Derby.

From Micro Bangers to Monster Trucks . . . there could hardly be a more remarkable contrast, as these incredible 10,000 pound, car-crushing giants compete in Wheelie Contests and rock the house with amazing Freestyle Action during the Monster X Tour! And they’re bringing with them top Freestyle Moto X riders from across North America, who will be performing incredible FMX stunts morning and afternoon . . . and there will even be the opportunity to ride in a real Monster Truck. Listen out for details.

A showcase for island racers

While the Barbados Festival of Speed is far from a conventional race meeting, it will still provide the opportunity for local and regional drivers to showcase their racing talents. The programme will include two races each for the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup and SR3 Cup, plus an end-of-day Handicap Race for members of Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc who qualifying at this Sunday’s (May 1) race meet.

In the Swift Cup, the first season was won by Ryan Peyrau of Trinidad & Tobago, who returned to open his title defence at Easter – while his closest challenger of last year, Jamaica’s David Summerbell, was absent, he still met some strong opposition, as Bajan drivers Ryan Wood (three wins), Jason Parkinson (two) and Swift Cup newcomer Arron Parris (one) shared the victories.

In the SR3 Cup, the wheel-to-wheel battles are fought out at a far higher speed, the Radicals lapping the 2.01-kilometre circuit in under 60 seconds. Reigning Champion Sean Maloney did not fare so well in the opening round at Easter, brother Stuart claiming a hat-trick of race wins, but do not expect the same to happen at the Festival of Speed. Along with their third sibling Mark, race winners aplenty will return to Bushy Park, including teenage Guyanese hotshoe Calvin Ming – he has a brand new car to race -  and Bajan drag racing hero Suleman Esuf.

Bike racing in Barbados has taken off. The Easter race meet saw the biggest-ever field of local racers: Brook Miller was on fire and can be expected to be the Leader of the Pack again, along with Kris Brathwaite and Terrance Ollivierre. There will also be a chance to see why the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters is attracting a steadily growing following as three pairs of the quickest cars in the island will face off along the one-eighth-mile drag racing straight, including Matthew ‘DMZ’ Forde and former CMRC Champion Roger Mayers. The Barbados Karting Association will stage an Exhibition in the afternoon, while rallying will also be represented as island legend Roger Skeete in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B will go head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton during the finale.
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Sol Rally Barbados to start at Bushy Park again

Sol Rally Barbados 2016 will return to Bushy Park Barbados and repeat last year’s hugely-successful Friday evening start, with two special stages on the unique Race Of Champions parallel track. Last year’s floodlit evening of entertainment was the talk of the town, as thousands of fans turned out to help the Barbados Rally Club mark the 25th Anniversary of its blue riband event.

With only two of seven stage venues being used exactly as they were last year, competitors from home and overseas will face some exciting new challenges in Sol RB16. A record number of 33 rally cars are already on their way to the Bridgetown Port from Portsmouth in the UK and Auckland in New Zealand, with two more due to leave the UK next week, along with others from around the region.

Local competitors have already given the BRC an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ after senior officials outlined the plans for its premier event last week. Friday night’s opening SuperSpecial at Bushy Park will start at 5.30pm, with the cars running in reverse order of seeding, from slowest to fastest. Sol RB16 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 3 to 5, with Scrutineering at Simpson Motors and Flow King of the Hill the previous weekend (May 28/29).

BADD to return to Bushy Park for Drag Warz 2

Such was the success of Drag Warz 1, the opening round of the Barbados Association of Dragsters and Drifters (BADD) 2016 Championship at Bushy Park on April 3, that the Club will be back at the venue for round two in mid-May postponing it’s planned return to Paragon. Driven by the enthusiasm of competitors, the decision was warmly welcomed at the Debriefing Meeting that followed the April date.

Kevin Griffith in his Suzuki Swift joined the sport’s record-breakers with a new one-eighth-mile mark of 8.226secs for fwd cars, more than three-tenths better than the time set by Shawn Eversley last year. The day’s fastest time of 6.827s was set by Robert Bishop in one of an impressive number of Mitsubishi Lancers which turned out, in his case an Evo V. Club Chairman Jason Downey said: “We could have had an event for the Evolutions on their own. We have never had a full ‘eight-car tree’ for the 8-8.5 second bracket and another full ‘eight-car tree’ for the seven-second bracket.”

Other winners were: 8.5-10secs - Ross Callender (Daihatsu Charmant), 9.564s; 8-8.5secs - Jeremy Greenidge (Mitsubishi Mirage), 8.375s; 7.0secs - Jamal Batson (Evo IV), 7.868s; 6.0secs - Matthew ‘DMZ’ Forde (Evo III), 6.921s. Forde also recorded the best 60ft time at 1.642s and Graeme Finlayson (Westfield) the best reaction time at 0.071s.

Hinds and Thompson repeat BKA hat-tricks

For the second race meet in a row, Christian Hinds (X30) and Sebastian Thompson (Easykart 100) each claimed a hat-trick of wins, when the Barbados Karting Association (BKA) staged round three of its Chefette Championship in early April. With two wins out of three in Easykart 60, Calem Maloney is still a front-runner in the 2016 title chase, as BKA members look forward to round four next Monday (May 2).

Hinds claimed pole for the third straight round, chased home by Tremaine Forde-Catwell and Reco Alkins in race one, Calvin Bartlett and Alkins in the second, with Alkins and Bartlett switching places on the third results sheet. Thompson was also pole-sitter, for the second time this year, beating Graham Bradshaw and Kayleigh Catwell to the flag in race one, with Catwell and Dana Bradshaw completing the podium in the other two encounters.

Kyffin Simpson beat Maloney to pole for the second time, but had to give best in the first two races, with Charlie Kerridge third each time; as he had done in February, Simpson won the day’s final race, with Kerridge and Maloney second and third.

In Easykart 125 Masters, Ayrton Bannister qualified on pole, winning the middle of the day’s three races and finishing second in the others; Stuart Garcia’s day was a perfect one, working through the podium, third in race one, second to Bannister in the second, then winner of the third; Nick Gill won the day’s opener.

Once again, the Easykart 125 Lights class was hard-fought, Joshua Maloney winning the first race from pole, ahead of Aiden Fortier and Forde-Catwell, who won the day’s other two races. Arron Parris and Sacha Soodeen (twice) also made it to the podium. Andrew Croney claimed three Yamaha 310 class wins, challenged only in race one by Theo Howard.

Upcoming events

May 1st – Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc, Round 2

May 2nd - Barbados Karting Association Chefette Championship, Round 4


May 15th - Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters, Drag Warz 2

June 3rd – Start of Sol Rally Barbados 2016
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