Hulse: We can boost safe driving

Local racers hope to positively impact road safety in Cayman.

After the recent Drive:Cayman event, the Cayman Motorsports Association hopes to brighten what can be a dreary picture of driving in the Cayman Islands. For association president Bobby Hulse, local autocross drivers are providing a wake-up call for motorists in regard to road behavior.

“Well, the imediate impact seems to be a renewed interest in Time Attack participants that have been hanging back in the last year or so,” Hulse said. “I think the association will see some increase in exposure in the pubic eye for sure. I would like to think that we opened some people’s eyes – at the event and in the media coverage – that maybe you are not as skilled on the road as you think you might be. But, if you want it, the information and outlets are there for you to improve yourself as a road user.”

The association combined forces with Streetskill – an initiative involving the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, National Roads Authority, Road Safety Advisory Council and Government Information Services – to put on the eveny, which occurred on a public road, Huldah Avenue. There was a demonstration featuring firefighters using the “jaws of life” tools alongside an automotive show that showcased a variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles.

The autocross component, initially billed as an obstacle course, doubled as the Al and Jay Bodden Memorial race, the season-ending meet for the association’s monthly Time Attack series. The endurance run is named after father-son tandem Jay and Al Bodden, who were major contributors to local motorsports.

Hulse said the partnership with Streetskill was an important one.

“We have always been trying to figure out how the association can give back to the community in a meaningful way. So when StreetSkill approached us a while back wanting to put together a fun and exciting event to further their message, we jumped on it. The association suggested this event, which could pull the more advanced driving teachings of the association and the very important infomation that Streetskill have to offer regarding the proper use of the road. Both organisations saw the benefit of better exposure for all and once the police commissioner gave the OK, it was full steam ahead.

“The association would like to continue to have partnerships with StreetSkill throughout the year. What exactly that will be is to be seen as this was our first event, and we are still digesting the main points of it but, overall, everyone involved thought the experience was overwhelmingly positive.”

It should be noted that Gary Huggins and A.J. Conolly were the top racers at the event. Huggins won the Unlimited division behind the wheel of his Kimmar Distributors Toyota Starlet, while Conolly ran his Mitsubishi Evolution VIII to the Street class crown. Hulse, who raced his usual black Toyota Altezza, was second in the unlimited segment. Marcus Huggins shared seat time with dad Gary in the Starlet and finished third. There were four other competitors in the group: association vice president Jimel McLean and the Flower Power Starlet, Gabe Powell in his Evo III, Mike Weatherford in his Subari Impreza and Tom Kirkconnell in the Automotive Art Mazda RX-7.

In the street category, Conolly beat out Reynaldo “Aldo” Powery in his Nissan Primera and Andy Bodden in his Evo V. Five other drivers carved up corners in Ajoni Ambersley and his Nissan Primera, Tyson McCoy in a Honda Integra Type-R, Kody Miller in a Ford Ranger truck and Neil Dilbert and Drew Conolly in a Honda Civic.

Hulse said the plan from here is to prepare for the 2014 Time Attack season.

“We plan to get our season started back at the end of February as usual and have a full calendar of events for 2014. Depending on what partnerships we come up with for Streetskill, you might see us a lot more.”