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Big plans for Bushy Park


TREVOR THORPE

Big plans for Bushy Park

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A redeveloped Bushy Park will include a drag strip and areas for autocrosses, dexterity tests, drifting and rallycrosses; a CIK Grade A kart track, and it will be available to the automotive industry for road safety driver training programmes.Word of this came from Barbados Auto Racing League’s (BARL) chairman Adrian Mayers as they prepared to stage the Digicel Williams International race meet at Bushy Park on Saturday and Sunday.Mayers, in an upbeat mood, said the organisation was at an exciting stage in its development, and they were proud to be working with such a proactive group and dedicated sponsors.It has been confirmed that the Barbados Government has acquired the lands of the former Bushy Park Plantation, of which about 50 acres had been designated as the national home for motor sport.The development of this has been entrusted to the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), the island’s sporting authority for motor sport and representative of the world governing body, the Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA).Mayers said that a design and business plan for the proposed development had already been created after consultation between the FIA’s facility advisory partner, Apex Circuit Design, and a team from the BMF, led by its president Andrew Mallalieu, that had provided important local input.The proposed redevelopment is to create a multi-use venue for motor sport, alongside a broader community-based entertainment remit. From the motor sport perspective, the outlined plan was to redevelop Bushy Park to meet FIA Category 3 homologation, which would require increasing the circuit length by around 50 per cent and its width by roughly three metres. Retaining the existing circuit, the design proposes a second loop, through the current pits area, with link roads to create more than one potential circuit layout.Mayers said that as BARL opens a new chapter and as the St Philip racetrack looks to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, the current club management had worked hard on marketing and on innovations such as the day/night race meet, and was looking ahead to the upcoming Digicel Williams International race meet this weekend.According to the chairman, the meet has attracted five drivers and four race cars from England and Ireland, a record number of international competitors for Bushy Park since 1975, and it heralded the start of a new chapter in the life of BARL and of Bushy Park.“As a club, we thought it was sensible to move now to start building new relationships overseas, and the group arriving includes not just the competitors, family and friends, but also media and at least one organiser, Rod Birley, one of England’s most successful racers. He is also a regional chairman of the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), Britain’s top race organisation, and therefore an important new contact for the future ,” Mayers explained.He said Williams Industries had been on board since BARL’s first international, but a big commitment from Digicel this year meant that they could raise the bar, the hype and really live up to the international title.Founded in 1997, BARL ran its first Williams Industries International in 2003. Since then, the club has played host to 45 competitors from six countries in the region.

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