Magnificent turnout for third Bahamas Speed Week revival

| 17 Dec 2013

Nassau in the Bahamas reawakened a little of its racing past with the third Bahamas Speed Week Revival at the beginning of December (4-8). Classic sports and racing cars from Europe, the UK and the US joined local owners to enjoy three days of high-speed touring and fairly informal if spirited time trials.

The event boasted a diverse mix of motors. An original and outstanding US-based 1949 Jaguar XK120 and an MGA roadster down from Yorkshire lined up alongside a local TVR 350i, frog-eyed Sprite and '60s Lotus Seven and Mini Cooper to make a good showing of British makes amongst the 32 entries. Two E-types also ran.

Some pretty significant Italian machines had also made the trip down to the Caribbean. Andreas Mohringer (there last year with his 1953 Ferrari 375 Pinin Farina Spider) brought the 1965 Ferrari Dino 166/205 prototype, while the Prancing Horse’s elegant road cars were represented by a yellow Daytona and blue 1956 250 Boano; itself an original ‘Speed Week’ car back in the 1950s.

From the ‘other’ Modena factory came a 1955 Maserati 150/200S, an ex-Briggs Cunningham Sebring and Le Mans racer, while a 1929 ex-works OM 665SS wore class-winning Mille Miglia battle honours.

On the first two days, a reception at the Governor General’s residence and the ‘007 Tour’ – around the island to Lyford Cay – reminded entrants that the old Speed Week was as much an end-of-season bash as it was a racing event. After a day’s rest, the cars were ready to take part in a twisting hillclimb on the Saturday and seafront sprint race against the clock on the Sunday.

On both days, the nimble Mini Cooper of John Kane won the ‘touring’ class, staving off TVR/Cobra replica V8 power. The Lotus Seven (same driver) had to contend against modern machinery (Nissan GT-R and Caterham R400), but still managed a very commendable second on both days.

In the ‘period racing’ class, the main battle fell to the Dino and the 200S with Mikel Willms’ Maserati narrowly besting the Ferrari on both days.

After an enjoyable mix of sun, sea, good food and fairly laid back competition, Speed Week was able to end on an upbeat, with organisers David McLaughlin and Jimmie Lowe holding up the plan for a race track – promised by the government – to be built near Oaks Field. With this in place, the Bahamas Revival would immediately become a far more serious race meeting.  

More photos

Words and pictures: Rob Scorah