British Historic Kart Club © 2014
The Bahamas Speed Weeks were a phenomenon that lasted for 13 years during the late 50s and mid-60s, bringing together an intoxicating mixture of motor racing, sun and sand for the financially comfortable during the European and American winter after the racing season finished. The idea had been to increase tourism and extend the tourist season on the island. In 1959, '60 and '61 as part of Speed Week, karting was included and Nassau played host to the 'World Championships' run under US rules. This was prior to the 1964 FIA championships - the first official World Karting Championship run in Europe.
2013 is the third consecutive year that the Bahamas Speed Week Revival has bought motor racing back to the Bahamas. To celebrate the early 'World Championship' events the organisers of the Bahamas Speed Week Revival invited the British Historic Kart Club to come to Nassau bringing some of those historic karts that had competed in the day. A party of 30 members and friends from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Canada bought 21 karts to the event which proved a real hit with the crowds.
The first Sunday saw us perform at a special circuit close to the original Oakes Road Kart Track with separate sessions for direct drive and gearbox karts. This also included a chance for the Edukarting programme to get involved. Edukarting was introduced by Bahamas Speed Week organiser David McLaughlin and Victoria Sarne as a Summer Camp programme and is now running as an after school club in four of the high schools in Nassau teaching usable skills whilst having lots of fun.
During the week the organisers held lots of social events and displays for the cars and karts to get involved, even including a reception at the Government house, once residence of the abdicated King Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson.
Fort Charlotte Hill Climb provided a unique chance for both Class 1 100cc direct drive and Class 4 gearbox karts to try the track alongside some of the Car exotica, including everything from $4m Ferraris, Maseratis, a Nissan Skyline GTR, a '53 Studerbaker, several Jaguar E types and Austin Healeys. Surprising everyone but the karters, it was a 1975 Barlotti Yamaha RD250 that was fastest up the hill. The final Sunday saw us at Arawak Cay Sprint Circuit, a 1.6 mile road circuit near the beach. This was a stunning location for a drive, though a bit of a challenge in a 100cc direct drive kart!