The redevelopment of Bushy Park race track has come in for high praise from some of the stalwarts of motor sport.
After more than two weeks of intense work at the St Philip facility by Bushy Park Circuit Inc. (BPCI), Ralph “Bizzy” Williams, one of the circuit’s creators in the 1970s, said the sky was the limit.
“The potential for development is quite extraordinary,” Williams, a former lap record holder at the circuit, said.
The redevelopment got off the ground with a grant from motor sport’s world governing body, FIA, supplemented by significant local funding.
Nearly all the original 1.3-kilometre layout remains within the extended 2.02-kilometre circuit, which will seek FIA Grade 3 status.
The redevelopment of the 40-year-old track into a multi-purpose motor sport facility has been welcomed not only at home, where it will provide a springboard for sustained growth of the country’s most popular spectator sport, but also regionally and internationally.
Another top racer, the experienced Doug Maloney, said he was very excited, pointing out that it would be a fast circuit.
“I like Brands Hatch in England and one day we will have something so good that we can invite drivers from there to race here,” he said.
Doug’s son, Mark Maloney, who is head of the development team, said motor sports tourism was a tremendous thing and Bushy Park would be great for off-season tours.
He said that the BPCI had decided from the outset to use both traditional and social media to release updates about the progress of the development.
A Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BushyParkCircuit) created just over two weeks ago attracted more than 250 “likes” overnight and increased to over 1 000 by last weekend.
Another driver, Patrick Weekes, who first raced at the circuit in the 1990s, said “circuit racing is where it has always been at and I believe the drivers will have a wonderful time”.
BPCI’s operations director, Mark Hamilton, said the existing track already had a great story to tell.
“There has been a real groundswell of support for what Bushy Park will be able to do for motor sport not just in Barbados, but also throughout the region,”?he said.
“It has been really encouraging to hear so many favourable comments about the facility from motor sport fans around the wider Caribbean and even further afield in these past few weeks. We look forward to delivering on their aspirations.”
Of the response so far, Hamilton said: “If I’m honest, we’ve been rather overwhelmed . . . I doubt that a Facebook page which has been created for what is currently just a building site, has ever enjoyed such an astonishing reaction so quickly.”
Marcus Pye of Autosport, Britain’s leading motor sport magazine, devoted his weekly Humble Pye column to the start of work at Bushy Park and the impact of next year’s re-opening.
A long-serving commentator, journalist and organizer, Pye is familiar with Barbados’ motor sport history, having visited more than once.
“Can’t wait to bring a bunch of overseas teams to the new track,” Sam Collins, deputy editor of Racecar Engineering in Britain, posted on the magazine’s Twitter feed, which has more than 18 000 followers.