Festival of Speed thrills fans

Former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, and the Twister Aerobatic Display Team and their two Silence SA1100 aircrafts wowed the crowd at the Barbados Festival of Speed at the Bushy Park Racing Circuit on Saturday.

In a Radical SR3, Button raced one of the aircrafts around the 2.01-kilometre circuit in a ground-to-air battle.

Despite the challenges with the weather, the Barbados Festival of Speed 2017 thrilled the fans with their unique programme of events.

The sky opened all across the island and a flood warning was in place. Persons were concerned that certain attractions would have to be postponed or cancelled. There was at one stage a false notice going around that the event was cancelled, but the official Instagram of Bushy Park posted it was a hoax soon afterwards.

A few hours before the event began, the rain stopped and the mop-up effort got under way and was successful despite the threat of more rain on the horizon.

Opening the event was Soca queen, Alison Hinds, who sang the National Anthem.

The day’s programme was changed in order for the track to be further dried by sending the Suzuki Swift Cup out on the track.

Throughout the day, the programme remained ‘fluid’ as the organisers kept an eye on the sky.

The plane had to avoid the newly installed light towers and was initially taking some wide turns. As they came along the straights, the talented pilot flew close to the ground and the car, and afterwards Button said that he had never raced a plane before and at some stages when the plane flew over the car, it felt like he was racing a car.

Button also took to some karts and did an interview on the start-finish line on the front straight.

The Twister Aerobatic team was a hit with the fans as they flew dangerously close to each other while performing their aerial stunts over the track to daring low flying through the obstacle of the lighting towers.

The handicap involving the local Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc. (BPMSI) saw Stuart Maloney carving his way from two laps down on the first car to winning the race by passing Kevin Wiggins midway through the final lap.

Closing out the day was a race between F4 car, driven by Zane Maloney and Button, driving a Radical. Button mentioned he was at one stage trying to show Zane the line as the downforce on the F4 car is different from a kart, which Zane is accustomed driving as well as the Radical being faster than the F4.

In the five-lap challenge, Button beat Zane off the line. Button stretched the advantage, but then waited and allowed Zane to follow the lines.

Zane managed to pass by Button a lap later, darting down the inside of a wide open space under braking. “I made sure he got behind me and learned a few things,” said Button.

Button said that Barbados was very lucky to have this here as there is nothing else in the world like it and it has such a nice atmosphere.

“It’s very special... and I would come back again.” (CG)

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