Newly installed Minister of Sport Anil Roberts visited Wallerfield today along with more than 40 invited representatives from all Motorsport clubs in T&T and members of the media. Of course, we at Zorce made it our business to be there to observe the proceedings first hand. After an initial welcome and thanks, Minister Roberts outlined the Government's vision for Motorsport in T&T stating that Trinidad has the potential to host an Formula 1 practice event. He recognized our local talent and star drivers in the fields of Drag Racing, Circuit Racing, Rally, Motocross and other disciplines and the need for a home for Motorsport. Minister Roberts believes that a meeting point can be found between eTeck's requirements and those of the Motor racing industry.
The short expedition made its first major stop at the Southern runway where Circuit Racing was held for decades. The area has been significantly developed with street lighting, a fully paved road and concrete sidewalks. While the roadway is wide, most agreed that it would only be suitable for street-class drag racing and that top level dragsters would need more room. A building structure exists alongside the roadway which is planned for aluminum manufacturing but has the potential to also serve as a grandstand especially in light of the Government's plan to stop the installation of the Aluminum smelter plant. Of course the findings of this initial expedition are merely speculative and further plans will need to be developed by the Motorsport fraternity and approved by the Ministries of Sport, Science & Technology and Trade.
After looking at the Southern runway, the group moved to the Northern runway where Drag Racing was at it's pinnacle. With two roads made clear across the runway, the length has been compromised but the width may be usable for 1/8-mile Drag Racing, Circuit Racing, Karting, Drifting, Stunt Biking and Solodex competition, but limited in terms of 1/4-mile Drag Racing unless further work is done. The concensus was positive overall and the crowd managed to cheer "We're back at Wallerfield!" much to the delight of Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Anil Roberts, Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education Fazal Karim, Parliamentary Secretary (Legal Affairs) and MP for La Horquetta/Talparo Jairam Seemungal and Parliamentary Secretary (Sport and Youth Affairs) Stacy Roopnarine.
Various ideas were shared including the usage of the facility for the development of an Advanced Driver's License to teach inexperienced drivers the finer points of accident avoidance and handling their car in wet roads, dirt and emergency situations. Also discussed was the idea of Sport Tourism and developing a package which gives foreign teams the ability to fly their people in, have their cars shipped, cleared and insured, compete at an event and then return as one simplified process. This system is currently in place in Barbados.
The Minister also made it very clear that he was not prepared to work with a fractured fraternity and suggested that by the next week the agreement between all Motorsport fraternities to fall under one umbrella should be signed. Zorce understands that prior to the election an accord was agreed on between all parties (MSYA, MATT & TTASA) and was in the process of being validated by the previous administration headed by outgoing Minister Gary Hunt, who shared the same sentiments regarding unity between the various Motorsport groups. Minister Roberts seemed eager to have this process completed and stressed that the investment into the facility was going to be huge even with the help of the private sector and that the facility should be enjoyed by all. The Minister was very careful to outline that each Motorsport group's voice should be heard and even declined taking any official photos with any one representative in an effort to avoid upsetting the currently fragile state of unity within the racer's ranks.
So the answer to the big question is a resounding yes, and an exhibition meet is planned for the next weekend at Wallerfield, once the necessary access permissions have been granted by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Stephen Cadiz and an initial site cleanup can be executed. We took the opportunity to drive around the Wallerfield Circuit as best as we could, shooting photos along the way. As an expedition the evening was a success and we look forward Motorsport's return to Wallerfield, Trinidad & Tobago.
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