The Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) is in a solid financial position, despite the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and is pressing ahead with several initiatives aimed at offering improved services to its Member Clubs. BMF president Andrew Mallalieu revealed this and other positive developments to this month’s virtual Annual General Meeting (July 1), at which he was re-elected president until 2024.
Following confirmation of Natya Soodeen’s appointment as Chairperson of Women in Motorsport Barbados last month, the BMF has elected experienced official David Williams to succeed Mark Hamilton as Vice-President until 2023 and also approved the application from e-sports group Caribbean Sim Motorsport (CSM) to become a Member Club as the BMF embraces digital motor sport and the increasing popularity of e-sports.
Robert Simmons of CSM said: “We are excited to become a member of the BMF, as we truly believe that the goals we have as a club can now be effectively realised. The BMF is on board with our initiative of envisaging digital motor sport as not only a cost-effective entry into motor sport, but also as a stepping-stone into the traditional real world. Further to this, by now being recognised and a formally organised club, we have the hopes of bringing the average person to international FIA events that we could only dream of being associated with.”
On the resignation of Mark Hamilton after three years as Vice-President, Mallalieu said: “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Mark for his time and effort in the position. Significant achievements were made under his stewardship in the areas of the BMF Bond Scheme, the safety enhancements, the BOA subvention and the work with the FIA Grants Scheme, to name a few. Our new VP has big shoes to fill but he has the support of all the BMF member clubs.”
Hamilton’s successor, Williams, has been actively involved in motor sport since his first experience at age 16 as a navigator in rally events in 1984. Eight years later, he started to drive, initially in a Toyota Starlet, competing in various classes through the years, latterly in Group N with a Subaru Impreza. As well as competing in local rallies and speed events, including Rally Barbados, he also finished third in the 2WD Group 2–2 in the Stag/NP Ultra Rally Trinidad in 2008.
The son of two former competitors, Williams was the Competition Secretary of the Motoring Club Barbados Inc (MCBI) for seven years, Secretary for 14 years and has been the President for the past six years. He was one of the founding members of the Marshal Training Committee, along with Richard Cummins, and has been the BMF’s Chief Safety Officer for three years.
In his annual statement for the 2020 calendar year, Mallalieu explained that the BMF had largely weathered the storm of Covid-19, with the operational loss incurred more than balanced out by grant funding from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) made available for national governing bodies experiencing challenging times due to Covid and requiring some financial support to maintain their usual level of operations. He said: “This leaves the BMF in a solid financial position for 2021 and has allowed for several projects to be undertaken in support of offering improved services to our clubs and their members. The launch of our new web site was the first action taken and our main administrative objective for 2021 will be to determine how we use that to leverage our investment going forward, for instance for FIA-funded training.”
Echoing FIA president Jean Todt’s remark “you are small, but you are big for the FIA”, made when he visited the island’s motor sport community in 2012, Barbados continues to punch above its weight internationally. Bajan drivers Zane Maloney and Kyffin Simpson are at the sharp end of the FIA Formula Regional Championships in Europe and America respectively, while Mallalieu serves on the FIA Single-Seater Commission, in addition to duties as international Steward in Formula 1, F2 and his chairmanship of the F3 Stewards panel.
Summing up his AGM report to the Member Clubs, Mallalieu said: “We continue to have a tremendously vibrant motor sport environment and once we stay focused and work together, I believe the future is bright even if there are some bumps in the road.” (RB)