Bushy Park comes alive as motor sport restarts

Bushy Park comes alive as motor sport restarts

 After three months of inactivity during the coronavirus Lockdown, Bushy Park Barbados has burst back into life . . . at least as far as the essential Covid-19 safety protocols will allow. Frustrated competitors from across the disciplines headed for St Philip over the past two Sundays (June 28 & July 5), as Bushy Park Circuit Inc (BPCI) organised Track Days for karts, race cars and rally cars in partnership with Rock Hard Cement.

  More than 40 drivers have enjoyed the chance to get behind the wheel again, including Dane Skeete in the Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12B in which he and Tyler Mayhew won Sol Rally Barbados last year: “It was a good opportunity to shake off some rust and the rain made it that little bit more fun."

  After morning sessions for the Barbados Karting Association (BKA), BPCI set out a 2.6-kilometre stage for the assembled rally cars. Starting at the pit-lane exit, it snaked around the main circuit, using the karts links, running under and over the rallycross bridge, offering a wide range of corners from a tight hairpin on the Clubhouse Straight to high-speed fourth and fifth gear turns. From mid-afternoon, the stage was run in the opposite direction, providing a real work-out for drivers, with changeable conditions and some rain making it all the more demanding.

  Four cars that will face off in the FIA R5 class this year were on hand, the Ford Fiestas of Andrew Mallalieu and brothers Sol and Ahmed Esuf and the Skoda Fabias of Roger Hill and Stuart Maloney. With his car freshly wrapped in the livery of sponsors Esso, MaxMeyer Paint and Motormac, Hill reported a positive and enjoyable day: “We were extremely happy with the car - it may lack a little horsepower after the Corolla but it makes up for it in handling, brakes and suspension. The course was brilliant as it offered every degree of corner at various speeds and we were given the opportunity to do both directions; having viewed the unofficial times, I can just sum it up as excellent.”

  Jamal Brathwaite had a very full day: “The morning was spent with the Chicken Pen team, tweaking and shaking down the karts of Kyle, Kayleigh and Kaleb Catwell and my son Jaydn. Over three hours of karting, everyone did at least four runs. Some drizzles tried to upset the sessions, but even the youngsters drove through the conditions.” In the afternoon, he gave a number of fans and friends passengers rides in his familiar Consumers Guarantee Insurance/Valvoline/Automotive Art/Caribbean Autoglass/TEC Barbados/Stylez Auto Spa/JSB Motorsport/Chicken Pen Racing/Ellesmere Quarries Honda Civic Type-R: “Even after taking a break during heavy rainfall, I still completed a total of 18 runs in the first direction and 17 in the reverse . . . not bad value for $100.”

  BPCI Operations Manager Amy Willis said: “As we work steadily towards a resumption of competition this month, the response to our Track Days has been very encouraging. We had already welcomed some drivers for test sessions when restrictions started to be eased during June, but the facility has really started to look a bit more like its old self these past two Sundays.

  “There are strict protocols in place to ensure the safest environment for our staff and visitors, as we continue to follow Government guidelines – just click on the link at the top of the home page on our relaunched web site for more information. We would advise people to read these before they visit but, from our experience so far, everyone is taking our hygiene and social distancing measures in their stride. Once competition gets under way, details will also be included in each Club’s regulations issued to competitors.”

  While the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) is yet to publish its revised calendar for the rest of 2020, the first confirmed event at Bushy Park Barbados is the second round of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Autocross Championship on Saturday, July 18.