Behind all of the low times, one serious issue has always been the long-term future of Breakers Speedway.
Cayman’s sole drag racing facility has been up for sale in the past and even closed for a time while owner Robert Campbell decided what to do with the property. Outside of the economics one aspect that might be a problem is the track surface.
Cayman Islands Drag Racing Association President Sammy Jackson has pulled off a number of successful meets at Breakers. The latest one on the 1/8 mile asphalt strip took place this month and saw Michael ‘Bad Oil’ Williams make history. Yet Jackson, who races a Chevrolet Camaro, is worried about the long-term sustainability of racing at Breakers.
“As a racer I’m quickly seeing a point of diminishing returns,” Jackson said. “The cars are faster but the track is struggling to hold them. To my knowledge the track is again listed for sale and I hope someone can see the benefit of the track and inject more funds to build it up.
“The magic in making it work long-term would be to turn it into a multipurpose facility. You could have things such as circuit racing and go-karting. But you would need someone to make the investment in the property and break even.”
Breakers has been a part of the local motorsports scene since opening its gates back in October 2006. The track closed for roughly five months back in 2009 after Robert Campbell stated he needed to sort out personal issues and study his finances after turning down a deal that year that would have turned the facility into something else.
Campbell also stated the track was built practically by himself over holidays and weekends and while running his own business (Campbells Auto Repair Shop). These days the track is being maintained with help from the drag racing association and the Cayman Motorsports Association (which has hosted autocross and drag races at Breakers in the past).
The biggest task is making sure the track surface is properly prepared for meets with fresh coatings of VHT, a black resin that is usually sprayed on to increase the traction of tires. Jackson is quick to point out those efforts are needed to keep motorsports alive in Cayman.
“Motorsports is a genuine sport here and everywhere else. It’s needed for the youngsters to learn what cars can and cannot do and to reduce road fatalities. People think we encourage persons to race on the streets with their cars. It’s quite the opposite. We’d rather see them on the track.
“In the association right now we’re trying to introduce simple, true bracket racing where you can bring your car and race at the grass-roots level. That is what’s needed for the growth of the sport.”
One option to the doubts over Breakers’ financial viability and track surface is East End. About three years ago the Cayman Hot Rod Association, through its then President Armando Ebanks, made public that it was looking to build a track at High Rock. At the time Ebanks stated the association was in talks with government about the project, which was slated to be 4,000 square feet and up to the latest specifications set out by the National Hot Rod Association.
At this point there has been no word on development of a track in the area (which was an informal site for drag racing many years ago). Originally Ebanks stated that the association wanted to have the track finished by mid-2009. For the record the hot rod association still exists today and is the predecessor to the two other motorsports bodies on island.
With all of the talk surrounding East End, some racers like Donald Francis see Breakers’ years as numbered.
“I encourage all young racers to keep trying,” Francis said. “You don’t have to be filthy rich. You can compete with the others and enjoy every minute of it. To me racing is a dream come true and it’s great getting recognition for it.
“However we need a proper and better track. What we have now is the not the best out there. If the East End track comes through, it would take the sport to another level.”