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Lewis Hamilton and his Formula 1 Mercedes AMG Petronas race car weren’t the only ones coming in for high praise at the just concluded Top Gear Festival. The newly renovated Bushy Park race track which hosted the internationally acclaimed festival has also been given the thumbs up by one of the world’s leading race track designers. Clive Bowen, the founder and director of Apex Circuit Designs Ltd, a British motor-race circuit design company, had nothing but praise for the track, which is capable of hosting Formula 3, touring cars, and karting events up to world championship level. Bowen, who started the designing of the track over two years ago before handing over to Bushy Park Circuit Inc. chairman, Mark Maloney, said he was extremely impressed by the finished product. “The track shape that you see today is what we designed, but in terms of the engineering, the detail, the delivery, it’s all down to the local team and I am hugely impressed,” he told NATIONSPORT while taking in some of the action at the St Philip venue over the weekend. “In terms of improvements they already did something because the original concept didn’t have the Rallycross [Global Rallycross Championships] stage component and I think it is an inspired thing to have done.” Bowen, whose company has designed tracks as far away as Dubai, said even with the stringent restrictions which were put in place due to the small size of the track, it was a wonderful achievement. “Well it’s an international Grade 3 standard so it has been designed to host things like Formula 3 and equivalent. “It’s a small tight facility because it’s a small tight plot. We had an objective to achieve two kilometres in track length which we’ve just about got . . . but you have to remember that’s almost exactly twice what we started with, and yet we’re still within the original site,” he revealed. “It’s brilliant to see a Formula 1 car on any race track and to see one on something small, tight and twisty like this, it will look slightly otherworldly.” And while the finished product was a pleasant surprise, what was even more of a shock to Bowen was the huge number of Barbadians who flocked to the venue in anticipation of seeing Hamilton and the GRC event. To him, it was an unbelievable sight. “I believe it was about 15 000 people on race day. Now if you consider that as a percentage of your population here in Barbados, that’s about five per cent,” Bowen acknowledged. “If you had five per cent of the British population go to the British Grand Prix you would have 3.5 million spectators. So by my reckoning Barbados is the world’s most enthusiastic motorsport nation."