Button lauds Bushy Park at Barbados Festival of Speed
Former F1 World Champion Jenson Button raced against cars, karts and a plane at Bushy Park Barbados on Saturday (October 14) when he headed a cast of international visitors in the island’s second Festival of Speed. During an action-packed eight-hour programme, which ran from day into night, there was something for everyone, including a half-time show with Allison Hinds the headline act.
In interviews throughout the day, Button heaped praise on the venue. The 2009 World Champion and veteran of 306 Grand Prix starts around the globe told the crowd: “You guys are very lucky to have something like Bushy Park. I’ve raced all over and there is nothing else like this in the world. This place has a very special atmosphere. It is a fantastic venue, allowing people to drive with whatever their skill levels.”
And he took great interest in the local content, even racing in the Barbados Karting Association Handicap, finishing fifth from the back of the grid with fastest lap, while Double Cadet Champion Kyffin Simpson was the winner. Afterwards, Button said: “How awesome is this? It is just so good to see – even the small kids, they’re so focussed. It was an amazing opportunity as I haven’t been in a kart for a long time.”
After a five-lap demonstration in a BFoS-liveried Radical SR3, Button was interviewed for the fans by former UK pro-racer turned presenter Steve Deeks, then drove Hot Laps for on-line prize draw winners Krystle Boyce and Alex Taylor. His next appearance was against fellow-Brit and ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, six laps each in a Radical and Easykart 125, with a final four laps in the Radical . . . Stevens was the winner.
For many, the highlight was Button’s race against Pete Wells in the Twister aerobatic plane, which Button was judged to have won. He described it as “the most extraordinary experience ever. That man has got real skill, or he’s crazy! The last pass going in to the hairpin, he was so low I really thought it was a car next to me. It was proper scary.”
In his final challenge, he faced multiple BKA Champion Zane Maloney, fresh from his fifth-place finish in the CIK-FIA World OK-Junior Championship last month. With Button again in the Radical and Maloney in the F4 single-seater, a close battle was anticipated, but Button had other ideas, hanging back to wait for Maloney, so he could give the rising star some lessons in downforce and tactics. Maloney said: “What an amazing day! It was great to be around so many talented drivers who all gave me great pointers and advice.”
Along with Button, Stevens, the Twister Aerobatics Duo and the Dreamers Banger Racing Team, the visitors also included endurance racers Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior driver George Russell, who clinched the GP3 Series title just a week before, and 2014 European Le Mans Series Champion Oliver Webb. Along with Stevens, Russell and Webb drove the demonstrations of Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini and Porsche Super Cars.
In the season’s biggest and best round of BPMSI’s Hilti Handicap for Cars, an impressive line-up of 20 cars was flagged away from the start-line, led by round two winner Kevin Wiggins (Toyota Starlet). After four rounds, Wiggins lay fourth in the standings with 35 points, three behind points-leader and Reigning Handicap Champion Tremaine Forde-Catwell, who would start (and finish) near the back in the family Nissan Turbo, after his regular Daihatsu Charmant developed issues. Second-placed Kyle King’s Toyota Starlet was also out of action and, although third-placed Andre Corbin (Toyota Corolla SR) started the race, he would finish last.
Wiggins led comfortably in the early laps, but the chasing pack was closing, led by Samuel Mayers (Toyota Corolla DX), then Ryan Wood (Suzuki Swift Sport). All eyes were on the Radical SR3 of Stuart Maloney, however, who started almost three minutes behind Wiggins and needed to un-lap himself before he could even think of catching the leader. He did so mid-way through the 10-lap race, then had to chase Wiggins down a second time, passing him on the final lap to take victory. With second place, Wiggins secured the Hilti Handicap title, however, ahead of Forde-Catwell and King.
When the Barbados Karting Association members lined up for their 15-lap encounter on the anti-clockwise north-western circuit, Blake and Jayden Thompson and Daniel Ullyett were at the front in their 60cc Easykarts, with Button, Zane Maloney and Will Stevens at the back driving 125cc Easykart Lights, held by lengthy handicaps. The track was abuzz with action as the faster karts started to move through the field.
Having started 12th, double Easykart Cadet Champion Kyffin Simpson made steady progress, shadowed by Adam Mallalieu, both in 100cc Easykarts, up to sixth and seventh by half-distance, Simpson hitting the front with three laps to go, Mallalieu tucked in behind him. Maloney snatched third on the final lap from three-time Trinidad & Tobago Karting Champion Ryan Peyrau, with Button and Benjamin Moore completing the top six.
Hilti Handicap Championship for Cars, round 5 (10 laps): 1st Stuart Maloney (Radical RS3 RS); 2nd Kevin Wiggins (Toyota Starlet); 3rd Ryan Wood (Suzuki Swift Sport); 4th Samuel Mayers (Toyota Corolla DX); 5th Devan McCartney (Honda CRX); 6th Adrian Bailey (Peugeot 205); 7th Andre Walcott (Suzuki Swift); 8th Ryan Peyrau – T&T (Suzuki Swift Sport); 9th Barry Gale (Suzuki Swift Sport); 10th Neil Corbin (Toyota Starlet); etc
Points after final round: 1st Wiggins 53 points; 2nd Tremaine Forde-Catwell (Daihatsu Charmant), 38pts; 3rd Kyle King (Toyota Starlet), 37pts; 4th Andre Corbin (Toyota Corolla SR), 36pts; 5th Adrian Bailey (Peugeot 205), 34pts; 6th S Maloney 31pts; etc
Barbados Karting Association Handicap (15 laps): 1st Kyffin Simpson (100cc); 2nd Adam Mallalieu (100cc); 3rd Zane Maloney (125cc Lights); 4th Ryan Peyrau – T&T (125cc Lights): 5th Jenson Button - ENG (125cc Lights); 6th Benjamin Moore (125cc Lights); etc