BMF confirms staged restart of motor sport behind closed doors

The Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) today (Wednesday) confirmed that the green light has been given to restart motor sport, which has been on hold since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. With guidance from the BMF, the island’s seven clubs are drawing up plans for a staged return to competition next month, while Bushy Park Circuit Inc (BPCI) has announced a Track Day at the St Philip facility this Sunday (June 28).

In line with Government Protocols on mass gatherings, however, no spectators will be allowed, while the BMF has prepared detailed guidance for organisers and competitors to mitigate any risk of spreading Covid-19. These procedures are based on six key principles: Government guidelines, good hygiene, social distancing, restriction, monitoring and education, training and resources.

BMF Vice-President Mark Hamilton said: “We are very pleased to be able to confirm that we are back in business, although in a limited way at first; motor sport plays an important role in island life and everyone is keen to restart. But we must manage its resumption in a responsible and risk averse manner in the ongoing Covid-19 environment, so no spectators will be allowed for the foreseeable future and there will be limitations on the number of personnel allowed to accompany each competitor.

“The BMF will be working with all stakeholders in the sport in the coming weeks to determine when a full return to spectator participation might be possible, given on-going changes to Protocols, as Government reacts to local, regional and international developments. We will publish further dates once the fluid situation becomes clearer.”

Motor sport ceased with confirmation of the first Covid-19 cases in the island shortly after the opening round of the Radical Caribbean Cup at Bushy Park on March 15. Before that, only three events on the BMF calendar had been run – the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD) co-promotion at Bourbon with the St Lucy We Gatherin’ committee and the opening rounds of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Autocross and Barbados Karting Association (BKA) Championships, both at Bushy Park. The BMF’s revised calendar lists a further 27 events, although it is not certain that all will run.

After Sunday’s Track Day, which BPCI management hopes will attract a healthy turn-out of competitors eager to shake the rust off their machinery – and themselves – the first four events on the revised BMF calendar are: Sunday, July 5 – BKA; Saturday, July 18 – BRC Autocross Championship; Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26 – BRC MudDogs Safari Championship; Sunday, July 26 – Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI) Race Meet.

Hamilton added: “The BMF consulted widely with our Member Clubs and the Ministry of Health and drew on guidelines prepared by the world governing body, the FIA, and the National authorities in Australia and the UK. We acknowledge that, subject to on-going restrictions, some disciplines will suffer longer delays before restarting. Beyond that, those events which involve Regional and International competitors will be at the mercy of travel restrictions not only in Barbados, but also in each participant’s home country.”

The BMF’s Event Organiser Toolkit includes signage promoting social distancing and hygiene requirements, guidelines for competitors and officials, emergency response plans and checklists detailing mechanisms for deployment of equipment and personnel. All paperwork will be dealt with on-line, organisers of larger events will be required to submit Covid-19 venue plans outlining the maximum number of people permitted in buildings, individual offices and spectator areas, while arrangements are also under discussion to facilitate the media to ensure social distancing requirements can be met.

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 represents the interests of its seven 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.

For media information only. No regulatory value.

For further information, please contact BMF Vice-President Mark Hamilton:
e-mail: mhaminc@gmail.com

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