What are the ingredients for great racing? It usually starts with a bunch of friends who love cars. When we look at racing leagues, they share similar humble beginnings. The Barbados Auto Racing League, or BARL as we will refer to it from now on, is no exception to this.
BARL's Track Attack track-day event was the perfect place to meet and catch up with it's members. This event was actually a very important as it marks a turning point for the league in terms of its activity. Seeing old and new members coming out to have a fun time and knock off some rust that maybe would've built up over the years was an awesome experience. Some of the members haven't even driven on the now redesigned Bushy Park Raceway.
Today, BARL has years of events and activities different disciplines of racing under its belt, but where did it all start from? I had the chance to finally dig deeper into this racing league's history with the help of Stefan Hinds, the chairman of the league.
When was BARL Formed?
- BARL was formed during 1996 by John “Tiny” Harrison, Tiny recognized the need to bring some structure to the Sunday afternoon Bushy Park race offs between the weekend warrior races i.e.Grass Roots Racers are the core of BARL’s membership. Tiny basically put his reputation at risk supporting this group of “Renegades” as we were often dubbed.
What Set BARL apart from other racing leagues?
- Sunday afternoon at Bushy Park was the most primitive form of Motorsport on the Island and most enjoyed by local fans, no other form of Motor sport generated the Hype, Energy, Enthusiasm and Passion as this Grass Roots Racing.
Who were the founding members of barl?
- The original committee consisted of Tiny, Coochies, Mohamed Bhana, Neil Corbin, Geoffrey Ullyett, Freddie Mapp Escort Specialist, later joined by Stuart Snaggs, Jeff Bovelle and Sluggy a driver.
Where did you guys meet formally?
- Club meetings were initially held at Muffler Center in White Park Road, the business owned by
What did course maintenance involve?
- Track clearing was the responsibility of the committee and a few dedicated drivers, some of the early racers were, Stanley Watkins, Nigel “Teets” Goodman, Snow Cone Man, Bingy, PA, Bull Cow, Doc Mohamad and Geoffrey Ullyett to name a few of the diverse group of drivers in BARL’s pool, Watkins would drive his tractor and swipe to the track and along with the volunteers we attempted to clean the infield as much as possible, but it was basically a lottery when car went off track as you could hit a tree, to stone boulders to abandoned cars, eventually as the club grew Ms.Wendy Williams took on the role of track maintenance and we owe her a great deal of gratitude for her part in the club’s development.
How did you manage your first events?
- The small committee did a herculean job to pull off the early race meets, with very limited hands, there were at times three cars being timed by one person, lifetime member “Country” was the unofficial Race Director, he was responsible for the grid positions of the cars based solely on his judgement/experience of the specific cars, and was also the starter. There were no radios only flags in the beginning but then as we grew Radios were lend by Structural Systems and Gales Hatchery, Fire extinguishers were loaned by a small local supply company who would only charge for any discharged units, with no electricity it was a task keeping the Marshalls and committee refreshed during the day.
Accomplishments & PLans for the future?
- The main groups were groups were 1 and 2, and as we grew and the membership expanded, groups 3 and 4 were formed, BARL was the host country for the Barbados Leg of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship until 2013 with the redevelopment of the circuit, BARL has not raced at the redeveloped facility, with its last race meet being June 2013 BARL has since 2013 entered into a MOU with the Bondurant School of High Performance Racing to host a school for the region and has set the groundwork for USA/Caribbean Racing Series, BARL hopes to get back to racing and continuing these projects when its get its access agreement issues resolved with the BMF.
Thanks Stefan, for the break down about what the league is all about, and the struggles you guys went through to what you so far been able to accomplish. Me, personally am a huge fan of bringing motorsport to a stage where persons with a passion and love for it are able to compete and have fun, the basis of it being competitive. It gives the opportunity for drivers to move up through the ranks, and develop their racing careers.
Danny Croney is a great example of this. How someone can really move up the ranks from amateur to professional champion at the top of their class. We will be covering this in more detail in the near future, so stay tuned!
Until then, Happy Motoring! - Alex
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