Breakers screeches to a halt

Breakers Speedway has been a hub of activity and excitement for nearly three years.

With a plethora of drag meets and even a few dexterity races tossed in, Breakers has been on the frontline of Cayman’s motorsports scene.

Many locals have enjoyed running down the 1/8 mile asphalt strip as (according to track records) over 700 racers have competed in Breakers’ history.

However, as of this month, that will all come to a halt.

Breakers Speedway officially closed its gates for racing last Saturday night.

News of the closing was not immediately made known to the Caymanian Compass thus the set-back in reporting.

An ad was placed in this newspaper last Friday stating ‘the track will be closed for Saturday night drag racing from May 9 until August 8, 2009’.

According to Breakers Speedway Owner Robert Campbell a number of factors lead to the closing of Breakers.

‘I’m tired and I have a lot of personal things to deal with. I’ve been pushing ahead for the last three years with no financial assistance. An offer has been out there for the sale and continuation of the track. I had a solid offer recently but I turned it down as the deal would have called for the tearing down of the track.

‘Also concerns of the complex need to be addressed. The timing system has to be fixed, I need to finish the road course and there needs to be an overall upgrade of the drag strip.’

Adding to the shock factor of the news has been the run of successful meets that have gone off in the last few months.

Since the beginning of this year the local meets have seen a fair turnout of drivers and many cars have established new records across various drive-trains and time classes.

Moreover racers from Miami were here eight months ago and set a new track record for the fastest 1/8 mile time.

Many other programmes also went on at the facility.

‘The Speedway focused primarily on drag racing but there were a few dexterity races,’ Campbell said. ‘In addition a number of programs went on including driver’s education sessions (with MattSafe), kids go-kart events and tactical police training.’

Yet, as Campbell states, the closing of the track has been stalled for some time.

‘The reason for closing it this month is it coincides with personal things I have to deal with. I’ve actually put the closing off from the start of the year.’

Automotive enthusiasts can breathe a sign of relief though as the track’s closing is indeed temporary. Campbell went into detail on the timeframe of the closing.

‘I want to make it clear that the track is not closed for good. I could not do that. I’m looking at August or September to re-open. However a lot of that is determined by the financial assistance rendered.

‘While Breakers is closed some developments will go on from time to time. Though people have to remember I have a business of my own to run (Campbell Automotive Repair Shop) and the whole facility was built over weekends and holidays.’

Breakers may have closed its doors but it did not bow out quietly. True to its boisterous start in October 2006 the track went out with one last hurrah in the form of a free-for-all fun night.

A fun night previously went off last month and its successful turnout paved the way for more such nights down the line.

Last Saturday saw dozens of enthusiasts come out to partake in a number of automotive festivities from ‘grudge’ drag races to burnouts and the like.

Campbell spoke about some of the highlights from Breakers’ last gathering.

‘We went from 6-11pm and saw plenty of good grudge matches. A lot of powerful cars were out including Andy Bodden in his 500hp Mustang. The biggest highlight was Ian Tibbetts (in his white Chevrolet Corvette) versus Dante Hydes on a motorbike. Both ran low sevens and were neck-and-neck though Ian just got him in the end.

‘Guys like Rudy Ritch, Ricky Bodden, Roje Williams and Ian Tibbetts made everything work well. Special thanks to all the racers that came out.’

In the end Campbell wanted to reiterate that the closing of the track is a temporary act.

‘I’m deeply saddened I had to close the track. I gave racers an extended use of the track but some guys don’t appreciate what they’re getting. In any case it’s a work in progress and the track is not complete by any means.’