On track!

Race of Champions promises to be high quality

If motor racing enthusiasts thought the Top Gear Festival was good, they better hold on to their seats.

This weekend’s Race Of Champions (ROC) event will be even better.

That assurance has been given by none other than ROC founder Fredrik Johnsson, who has guaranteed the thousands of spectators who are expected to flock to Bushy Park over the weekend a “very high quality event”.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY at the St Philip circuit today where the draws for the ROC took place, Johnsson said the event offered a unique experience, which had to “be seen to be believed”.

From left, president of the BMF, Andrew Mallalieu; executive chairman of BPCI, Mark Maloney; Petra Roach; and founder of ROC, Fredrik Johnsson, posing with the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy, which will be presented to the top individual driver.
From left, president of the BMF, Andrew Mallalieu; executive chairman of BPCI, Mark Maloney; Petra Roach; and founder of ROC, Fredrik Johnsson, posing with the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy, which will be presented to the top individual driver.

“This event will be more than high quality. It will be exceptional, and something unique which only happens once a year and this year it’s in Barbados,” he explained.

“It is an absolutely unique opportunity and I guarantee every single one who is coming here; whether they are motorsport fans or non-motorsport fans, they are going to go home with the biggest smiles on their faces.”

And while he noted the Top Gear Festival which was held in May, was indeed a big event, Johnsson said the fact that ROC included an entertainment, as well as a competitive aspect, made it a cut above the rest.

“We have a lot of shows, spectacular shows. We have the freestyle motorcycle guys, we have Terry Grant and his incredible car stunts and we have a lot of other incredible entertainment.

“But most importantly, the big difference here is that we have a serious world-class competition, between the world’s best drivers, from some of the biggest disciplines across the globe, coming here to compete head-to-head and you can’t see that anywhere else,” Johnsson maintained.

Referring to the Bushy Park track as “spectacular”, Johnsson, who is also the president of International Media Productions (IMP), revealed that the speedy circuit would lend to some exciting and exhilarating racing.

With some of the sport’s biggest names scheduled to compete at the two-day event –– including drivers from Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar and World Rallycross –– he insisted it was not an event to be missed.

“The track will be spectacular and it is a lot faster than what we are used to at traditional Race Of Champions stadium tracks.

“I think the drivers will like it and the fans will like it very much. It is a little bit more tricky technically . . . but there will be some fantastic races,” Johnsson noted.

Although he acknowledged the facility was around 90 per cent complete to date, he was quick to point out that he expected it to be fully ready for Saturday’s opening morning of races.

Executive chairman of Bushy Park Circuit Inc., Mark Maloney, expressed his satisfaction that the facility was able to host two world-class events within the space of a year.

He said these accomplishments were right in line with the vision which he held for the recently renovated multimillion-dollar track.

“The fact that before our one-year anniversary, we are able to host the ‘Big Daddy’ of events in Barbados is a tremendous feat and an incredible feeling,” Maloney outlined.

“To know that the team we have put together can stand up to be able to put together such a incredible event, we are really excited about it..”

Petra Roach, director of USA at the Barbados Tourism Management Inc, was also present at the event, and she revealed the island was set to benefit greatly from hosting the ROC.

She said while hotels usually recorded low occupancy levels at this time of the year, most of them were now fully booked.

“Traditionally, this time of the year tends to do a dip just before the big part of the season which starts December 19.

“But all the hotels are full and everybody is getting pretty strong rates. This is just the start of an amazing calendar and we are really looking forward to see what happens in 2015,” Roach noted.

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