Lewis Hamilton to star at Barbados Festival of Speed

Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton will make a unique high-speed contribution to the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the island’s Independence at the wheel of his Formula 1 car during the inaugural Barbados Festival of Speed at Bushy Park (May 7/8). Falling almost two years to the day since Top Gear Festival Barbados launched the redeveloped facility to a worldwide audience, Barbados Festival of Speed will open another new chapter in the venue’s history.

The nine-hour programme will be packed with a broad cross-section of motoring and motor sport action on two and four wheels, including British Superbike and Micro Banger Champions from the UK, Monster Truck and Stunt Bike stars from the USA, along with local and regional content, including the Suzuki Challenge Series Swift Cup and SR3 Cup.

The family-friendly day will also include music from the Barbados Defence Force Band, a lunchtime show featuring Rupee, a parade of classic cars and other activities that will give this new event on the annual motoring calendar a very specific Caribbean twist.

Hamilton will make an almost 10,000-mile round trip to the island between rounds four and five of his 2016 F1 campaign. On the previous Sunday, he will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, while the following weekend, he will be hoping to repeat his 2014 win in the Spanish GP at Barcelona, which was achieved just one week before his debut at Bushy Park. A Barbados Festival of Speed Gala Dinner with Lewis Hamilton will also be part of the weekend’s agenda.

The gates will open at 8.00am on Sunday, while the Opening Show starts an hour later. From 9.00am to 6.00pm, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the almost non-stop action on the track, the Festival Village will be in full swing, with booths, displays and the best of West Indian food and refreshments.

Suzuki Challenge Series title-decider this weekend

The inaugural Suzuki Challenge Series draws to a close at Bushy Park on Saturday, February 27, with the third round of the Winter Cup. Spectator viewing is from the Open-Air Suites accessed via the Pit Gate and racing will start from the Southern Grid, as it did on the Saturday of Radical International, which promoted super-close racing.

Summer Series Champion Sean Maloney leads the SR3 Winter Cup standings with 123 points, from Guyanese teenager Calvin Ming (110), Mark Maloney (84), Suleman Esuf (63) and Stuart Maloney (61). Embarking on his first circuit-racing season, Esuf claimed pole position with a new qualifying record (58.965s) for round one, then duly won the opening race; Sean Maloney won the other two.

On Sunday, Ming claimed another new qualifying record (58.869s) but, while he led throughout race one, heading home Sean, Stuart and Mark Maloney, a jumped-start penalty dropped him to fourth. Ming did not repeat the mistake, winning the other two races.

There’s all to play for in the Swift Winter Cup, with a gap of just 37 from leader Ryan Peyrau (Trinidad & Tobago) to fifth-placed Ryan Wood . . . and 75 more points on offer! Summer Series Champion David Summerbell Jnr of Jamaica and Peyrau claimed one pole position and two wins each at Radical International, but consistent performances from Jason Parkinson, Mark Thompson and ‘Woody’ have kept them in the hunt.

Along with settling the Winter Cup, the final three races will also decide the overall Suzuki Challenge Series Champions. In the SR3 Cup, points from all nine rounds count, but the Swift Cup contenders will drop their lowest score . . . calculators at the ready!

Radical visitors give ‘thumbs up’ to Bushy Park

Bushy Park earned high praise from the overseas drivers who raced at last month’s Radical International. They not only gave the ‘thumbs up’ to the facility, but also to the island and the warm and enthusiastic welcome they received.

America’s Jim Parr, the only one of the non-regulars to have raced at Bushy Park before, said: “I’m glad to be back in Barbados, it’s a beautiful island.” Parr’s driver coach, Britain’s Matt Bell, a works GT driver for Bentley, said: “It’s absolutely great racing, a great atmosphere, great circuit, I love being here.”

Brian Caudwell from the UK said: “I came for a holiday and found out that my main passion of motor racing is actually on the island. Meeting such a great bunch of people and to be able to come here and race a car . . . that’s just heaven, really.”

Seventeen-year-old Jack Manchester raced for the first time last month, but has been a regular visitor to the island, as his father Glen explains: “Jack and I have been travelling to the island since he was a little boy so it feels like a second home. The people at Bushy Park have been amazing, including the other drivers, and Jack is so excited to have had his first races there.”

Returning to racing after six years concentrating on rallying, David Coelho from Trinidad & Tobago said: “I love coming to Bushy Park, it’s fantastic. It is amazing that we have a facility like this in the Caribbean. It’s so good for motor sport in general.”

More than 50 enjoy the year’s first Track Day

Members of the Suzuki Swift Club were among more than 50 motoring enthusiasts who enjoyed Bushy Park’s first Track Day of the year. Families and friends turned out in their numbers – almost 300 were there - to enjoy a relaxing family day, with free entry and viewing from the Open Air Suites in the Pits. With more than 30 roads cars, 13 race cars and six bikes, there was action aplenty. The next track day is March 19th.

For further information

Nine winners at close-fought BKA season-opener

Honours were shared in all but one of the contested classes when the Barbados Karting Association (BKA) launched its 2016 Frutee / Chefette Championship season at the end of January. Running to a new format of three races with duration based on time, rather than number of laps, the meet attracted nearly 40 drivers, with a handful of newcomers joining the established names.

Calem Maloney was the only driver to claim a hat-trick of wins, having also started from pole position in the Easykart 60 cadet class. The 71 points scored give him a healthy 14-point advantage over Alex Powell, with Adam and Alex Mallalieu third and fourth. Pole-sitter Christian Hinds won twice in the X30 class, also scoring 71 points; he leads Brian Stuart (by 13) and Tremaine Forde-Catwell, who was the other race-winner.

Despite qualifying fourth of the Easykart 125 Masters, Ayrton Bannister ended the day at the top of the points, with 68 from two race wins and a third; Derek Edwards trails by 10 points, with Stuart Garcia and Mark Thompson, who qualified on pole and won the opening race, completing the class.

The Easykart 125 Lights class was hard-fought, race two winner Aiden Fortier ending the day on 67 points, 10 up on Allan Kinch; top qualifier Joshua Maloney won the other two races to lie third, despite retiring from race two, with Simon Willis and Ryan Wood fourth and fifth, the only other drivers of the 11 to finish all three races.

Zane Maloney was on pole for the Easykart 100 class, but shared cousin Joshua’s results of two wins and a retirement; winner of the day’s final race Graham Bradshaw leads the points, but by only one, from Sebastian Thompson, with Kayleigh Catwell third and Zane Maloney fourth. Theo Howard and Justin Harris were the only runners in the Yamaha 310 and 125 Shifter classes respectively.

Round two of the BKA Championship is on Sunday, March 6.

Zane Maloney a winner on the WKA Winter Tour

At the second round of the World Karting Association Winter Tour in Jacksonville, Florida, in early February, multiple BKA Champion Zane Maloney continued the good form shown in the opening round at Daytona in December. Competing in the Pro Swift Sportsman Group, he beat current point leader Jason Welage to pole position, then headed him home in the first race of day one; third place followed in race two, then he looked set for at least second place in the day’s final outing, but his kart died with three corners to go, a speck of dirt in the carburettor causing the problem, perhaps as a result of rain which fell as the race was pre-gridding.

On day two, having qualified third, Zane claimed three more strong finishes – fourth, third and seventh - in the day’s races. He returns to competition, now lying sixth in the class points, at the GoPro Motorplex, North Carolina, in early March.

Cousin Joshua Maloney was also in action on both days, in the Pro IAME Junior class. Improving his times steadily over the weekend, his best race result was eighth in the Saturday Final.

For further information

‘Best Boss’ treats staff to Karting Experience

Headlines in the British media last month awarded Helen Bilton the honorary title ‘Best Boss’, after she decided to treat all her 32 staff to a five-star, three-night all-inclusive trip to Barbados to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of The Group Company, the travel business she founded . . . and part of their treat was the Bushy Park Karting Experience.

Helen, whose company is based in the northern city of York, said: “I thought about doing a big party to celebrate with suppliers and customers. But then I thought the people that really deserve a treat are the people that work hard day in, day out for the business. I am very grateful for that, so I'm delighted to be able to reward them.”

Having enjoyed a family holiday in the island last year, Barbados was an easy choice of destination for the surprise trip. During a staff meeting to discuss the celebration, an employee suggested a day out at Flamingo Land, a theme park and zoo 25 miles down the road from the office. Helen added: “I pretended that's what we were going to do. At the next meeting, I told them Flamingo Land was closed that day, so we were going to Barbados instead. They couldn't believe it. I think they thought I was joking.”

As well as the Bushy Park Karting Experience, the group enjoyed a catamaran trip and a lavish celebration dinner on the beach.
Business Development and Marketing Manager Zoe Manning’s monthly update on other goings-on behind the scenes at Bushy Park Barbados:

• Bushy Park hosts its first Bushy Park Q in the Community this week (Thursday, February 25th). The gates open at 10.00am and the party goes on until . . . this is a terrific chance to meet old friends in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, enjoy great local cuisine and drinks and shake a leg to festive music. More than that, there are various prizes to be won.

• it isn’t just race car drivers who can hammer round the 2.01 kilometres of the Bushy Park International Circuit! Anyone can book some private track time or join in our monthly Track Days. If you want private or group track time, we can customise packages to suit your needs, while our Track Days offer five sessions of 15 minutes each for just $50 per bike and $75 per car (race or road car). Our next track day is Saturday, March 19th.

• where horsepower meets horsepower! Bushy Park Driving Experiences Chief Instructor Orry Hunte enjoyed the chance to introduce the polo community to what we can offer earlier this month. One of our Driving Experience karts was on display during the Battle of the Sexes tournament on the day when the Virgin Atlantic ladies beat the Diamonds International men.

• what does a pro surfer do on her day off? Well, Suzuki Caribbean Brand Ambassador Chelsea Tuach along with her friend Andrew Pierce and other Bushy Park connections, including DMZ, Trevor Thorpe of Motoring News and Devere Tempro from Digicel spent the afternoon enjoying in a Driving Experience with instructors Daryl Clarke and Orry Hunte!
Upcoming events

February 27th – Suzuki Challenge Series Winter Cup, Round 3

March 6th - Barbados Karting Association, Round 2

March 19th - Open Track Day

March 26th & 28th - BPMSI Race Meet, incorporating Suzuki Challenge Series
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