Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Thrills at Bushy Park


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THRILLS AND?SPILLS made up an exciting day of racing during the Barbados Auto Racing League’s (BARL) meet at Bushy Park on Easter Monday.
Under a management team and without the presence of the top-class drivers, Junior Benskin and Jerry Leach both had excursions into the fence setting the tone for the day.
Benskin, in his race for the merged Group 2C and D, was the first to take on the fence outside the “hammer bend”.
Afterwards, Leach, who went on to find winners’ row later in the day, made his visit to the fence at the well-known racing facility on lap six of the third meeting for the merged Groups 3 Classes 1 & 2.
Both drivers were unhurt but their respective vehicles received some damage. Ripley Green went close while negotiating the “kink and hammer” during a melee in the race for Group 2B competitors in the third race of the day.
But it was Mark Thompson, in the Stag Beer/Lucozade/Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty Day Spa Toyota Starlet who gave an excellent display of driving skill to grab the Monster Energy Handicap and climax the day’s action before a moderate crowd.
It was a small field assembled for the handicap and after Andre Waithe in a Suzuki Swift had held the lead for three of the ten laps, Thompson recorded a personal fastest lap of 46.282 seconds. He drove through the field and took the lead while being chased home by Quincy Jones in a Toyota Starlet, and his brother and defending champion driver Kurt Thompson in a Honda Civic.
Apart from winning the handicap, Thompson also scored two wins among the merged Groups 2C and 2D. He held off strong challenges from Jason Harewood in a Toyota Starlet and Kenrick “Snappa” Husbands in a similar machine. Steve Watson was also a double winner in a Freddie Mapp-prepared Ford Escort Mk1 in Group 2B, ahead of Quincy Jones and Ryan O.Wood, both driving Toyota Starlets.
On a day when winning was scattered among the drivers, Peter “Bird” Bryan, Kevin Armstrong and Adrian Bailey won the races allotted to Group 1 drivers, holding off strong challenges from Charles Lynch, Daniel Wiles and Peter Gibbs. Dirk Gray, in the Fred Campbell-prepared RT’s Trucking/Kermit’s Bar/Hunte’s AutoSpares/ Carifs Opel Corsa also won the opening race for Group 2A ahead of William Jones and Ryan Wood, while Corie Jordan in a Nissan, turned the tables on the field in their third meeting, getting home ahead of Peter Bryan and William Jones.
Kurt Thompson won the opening race for the merged Groups 3 Classes 1 and 2 from Philip Moe and Jerry Leach. But when the drivers met a second time, it was Leach who found winners’ row, leading home Thompson and Moe.
In the final face-off, it was Justin Campbell in a BMW M3 who took the checkered flag with Kurt Thompson in a Honda Civic second and Leach third.
Among the Superbikes, Brook Miller showed that he is still a force with which to reckon among local riders by snapping up two wins, while Ryan Beckles won the other race. Dexter Small, Terrence Olivierre and Mark-Lee Bascombe had to settle for the lesser places.


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