Breakers screeching to a halt

Breakers Speedway will see its last pass this weekend. 

The 1/8 mile track is expected to stage a drag race entitled End of Days on Sunday, 11 December from roughly 3pm. The Cayman Islands Drag Racing Association will serve as organisers. Afterwards Breakers is slated to shut its gates for good. 

Speedway owner Robert Campbell gave some insight into his decision to close the facility. 

“The track will close in December permanently,” Campbell said. “There will be no more use of a speedway there. I’ve gone to the end of my road. Whether (the property is) sold or leased, there will be no more track. 

“I realize there is no more sense putting myself out. People don’t care about you or what you’re going through. This is not the direction I want to go but I’m forced into it.” 

Breakers Speedway first opened its doors in October 2006. According to track records, over 700 drivers have raced down the asphalt strip over the last five years. Aside from drag meets, Campbell has stated that Breakers hosted community initiatives such as driver’s education sessions (with MattSafe) and tactical police training. 

This is not the first time the track has closed. Back in 2009, Campbell shut down Breakers for some five months to deal with personal matters and track concerns such as fixing the timing system and paving the initial outline for a road/circuit course. He had also expressed frustration with the financial burden of running the facility. That year he turned down a deal that would have turned Breakers into something else. 

Finances might be the biggest reason for a permanent closure. Campbell owns his own business, Campbell’s Automotive Repair Shop, which was recently fined $5,000 for failing to keep a health insurance policy in effect for its employees from July 2006 to May 2007. While the Breakers Speedway property has appreciated in value, Campbell did not confirm or deny rumours of the track being in the midst of a six-figure real estate deal that involves a six-month lease with a housing option. Campbell’s only comment was “more details on that will come out later.” 

News of Breakers’ closing is a definite blow for local motorsports. In addition to drag races, Breakers had staged autocross events and worked with two of Cayman’s major racing bodies in the Cayman Motorsports Association and the drag racing association. With Breakers out of the picture, the only venue of note is the Progressive Loop, which stages dexterity racing. 

Many local racers are disheartened with the closure of Breakers. Among them is Cliff Weeks, 38, who won the recent Monster Dash meet in his yellow Mitsubishi Evolution III. Weeks, a noted darts player, states the future of motorsports now looks bleak. 

“Four years I’ve been racing at Breakers,” Weeks said. “I hope it doesn’t close for good. My concern is what will the guys with big power do. With no more track what are they going to do? We’ll see how that goes.” 

One option for the likes of Weeks and Ronnie Forbes in his Chevy-powered Mercedes Benz is Jamaica. Jamwest Raceway in Old Hope, Westmoreland is that country’s only purpose-built drag racing facility and often hosts the like of Dean Shaw. Track owner Ian Gordon has carved out a circuit track on the property for rallying that will incorporate the current 1/2 mile drag strip. 

Hope for local motorsports might exist in 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. 

For the drag racing association, Sunday’s meet is a chance to honour the impact of Breakers. Drag racing association marketing officer Michael Webster states the plan is to produce a big send-off for the track. 

“I’m really looking forward to the December race,” Webster said. “It will be the last race of the season and also the last at Breakers. I would like to thank Mr. Campbell for making the track available to the drag racing association.  

“For the December race, Napa has officials coming down from Miami for this historic event. We are also working on getting some live entertainment and some giveaways/prizes. As I have said, without the racers and crowd we would not have these events.  

“The drag racing association would like to make it the best event ever at Breakers. So to all racers, please get your cars ready and let’s make this happen. Let’s make this event historical.” 

cliff w evo

Cliff Weeks is disappointed the track will close.

ronnief benz

Ronnie Forbes is among the racers affected by the closing.

breakers closing

Breakers Speedway is expected to close for good this month. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES

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