ISLAND MOTOR SPORT EXPANDS TRAINING COURSES

As a watershed season of island motor sport gathers momentum, the National Sporting Authority, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), has launched a ground-breaking operational and safety training programme. With local volunteers now accredited to deliver bespoke courses, the BMF will be training not only its marshals, but also its senior officials and – for the first time in a decade – its competition licence-holders.

The eyes of the motor sport world will focus on Barbados next month: after Top Gear Festival Barbados (May 17/18) marks the worldwide launch of the redeveloped Bushy Park Circuit, the next two weekends will continue the theme of motor sports-tourism with Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 25) and Sol Rally Barbados (May 30-June 1), an unrivalled opportunity for the island to prove its motor sport pedigree on both race track and rally stage.

During the past month, the BMF has run the first three courses in its new rolling programme – each runs for four hours - at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium in Wildey and the nearby offices of the Barbados Olympic Association: a refresher session for course marshals was conducted by Wayne Clarke and Kreigg Yearwood, a safety course for competitors was led by Neil Corbin, while Leslie Alleyne and John Croney delivered the timing marshals course.

Chairman of the Motorsport Training Committee Warren Gollop said: “This is an exciting year for the revitalised BMF Training Committee, as we work to keep pace with the overall developments in island motor sport. In Wayne Clarke, Neil Corbin and Kreigg Yearwood, we have a stable of three freshly-minted trainers to spearhead our expanded programme for the year.

Previously, training had been largely executed through the tireless efforts of John Sealy and those professionals whom he could corral to assist him. John remains our training co-ordinator but, going forward, we will be acting as a more structured training team, able to offer more courses, in a more contextually relevant setting.”

In January 2013, instructors from the Motor Sports Association (MSA) in the UK led the island’s first-ever senior officials training course, majority funded by the sport’s world governing body, the Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) and attended by more than 30 local volunteers. Clarke, Corbin and Yearwood flew to the UK later in the year for the ‘Train the Trainers’ course, which offers MSA accreditation, enabling them to train island officials and competitors in the future.

Gollop added: “Our trainers are proficient in the design and delivery of bespoke courses for our member clubs' needs and, while we will continue to work closely with our UK peers at the MSA, more of our content will be tailored to our local needs. It is our goal to further build on the progress we have made, with training aimed at all those connected with motor sport, both as volunteers or competitors.

The course marshals refresher session in early March was very well attended – Yearwood noted that “the room was already half-full when I arrived an hour early to prepare to start” – as was the timing marshals course, held on March 30. The trainers reported a very enthusiastic response from the volunteers, with the final, feedback component of each session particularly useful, as marshals offered their own thoughts on how the training could be further fine-tuned to match the needs of island motor sport.

As the courses are further developed, the BMF plans more frequent sessions, with smaller groups concentrating on more specialised topics – fire-fighting, first aid or radio communications, for instance – among the additions being planned.

 

Editor’s note: affiliated to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which rules the sport worldwide, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) is the island’s governing body for motor sport; it also represents the interests of its member Clubs in discussions with Government departments which facilitate the sport in the island, in particular the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which permits road closures for an agreed number of events each year. Away from motor sport, the BMF affiliate which answers the FIA Mobility remit is the Barbados Automobile Association (BAA), which is an executive committee member of the Government’s Barbados Road Safety Council.

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