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BMF applauds success at FIA Motorsport Games

The Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) has saluted Calem Maloney and Leon Sealy following their performances over the weekend (October 26-30) at the FIA Motorsport Games in France. In partnership with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and supported by the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), the BMF was one of 72 National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) affiliated to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile which fielded 463 competitors in the second edition of the Games.
 BMF President Senator Andrew Mallalieu said: “Our entry into ‘the Olympics of Motor Sport’ was a great opportunity to enhance the island’s growing reputation on the world stage . . . but it was also a huge learning curve. Everyone who travelled to France should be proud of what they achieved for Barbados and our Motorsport Island and we look forward to fielding a larger group in more disciplines in 2024.”
 The venue for most of this year’s 16 disciplines was Circuit Paul Ricard, home of the French Grand Prix, which attracted more than 40,000 spectators, while live feeds were followed worldwide. Alongside the competition, the BMF jointly hosted a booth in the ASN Village with the BTMI, which was represented by Natalie Springer, and where Head of Delegation, Senior BMF Steward Warren Gollop, Bushy Park Operations Director Amy Willis and Operations Supervisor Dylan Downie, all interacted with visitors.
 The Games started last Wednesday (October 26) with a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations in Marseille, where each of the nations and their competitors were welcomed by the organisers; as the older of Barbados pairing, Sealy had been elected Team Captain, so carried the Broken Trident across the stages as he and Maloney were introduced.
 UK-based Sealy was in Esports action first, with Free Practice and General Qualifying on Thursday kicking off the multi-stage knockout competition, which had attracted the largest entry of the Games, 57 drivers, initially divided into three groups. He qualified 23rd, so lined up eighth on the grid for his hour-long Quarter Final on Friday, where he takes up the story: “I was a bit nervous going into the race, but I usually go better in the race than in quali. There was a bit of an incident in the first corner, I think someone behind us made a mistake and what was three wide became four wide then I spun down to 15th place. I knew the first 10 qualified for the semis, so just needed to keep consistent and patient with the other cars. It wasn’t easy, because I had a bit of damage from the incident, but I managed to get back through the pack.” He started 13th in Semi Final 2, but another first-corner incident hampered his progress and he finished 13th, so didn’t progress to the Final, which was won by Britain’s James Baldwin.
 Karting started on Friday with Free Practice and Timed Qualifying, but 16-year-old Maloney was disappointed to be suffering from a bout of ‘flu on his first time racing in Europe, where he was one of 30 competing in the Karting Sprint Senior discipline for drivers between 15 and 18 years old. The Kart Republic OK chassis supplied by the organisers is a faster kart than Maloney has raced before, but guided by brother Zane, the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Vice Champion, and 2017 CIK FIA OK World Champion Danny Keirle, his times steadily improved.
 After five Free Practice sessions, Qualifying Practice saw Maloney line up 18th on the grid for the three Qualifying Heats, on which the grid for the Final was based. After three action-packed races, in which there were numerous incidents including one damaging the steering of his kart, Maloney lined up for the Sunday Final 23rd . . . but he would not race far. Pushed wide at the rolling start, he and Dmytro Muravshchyk of Ukraine made contact at the first corner, retiring immediately, but they were not alone - by the end of lap one, there were only 19 of the 30 starters left, with incidents at every corner, with some potential race-winners among the casualties. The race was won by Belgium’s Elie Goldstein, whose grandfather Francois was a karting World Champion in the 1970s.
 Mallalieu added: “Leon’s recovery after that first-corner incident in his Qualifying Heat to get in to the ESports Semi-Finals was a masterful effort and he was unfortunate to be tripped up again at the first corner in his Semi. And Calem really persevered on his first experience racing in Europe, despite not feeling his best over the weekend, driving a faster kart than he is used to, then getting caught up in other people’s incidents.
 “I should also thank the support crew led by Warren, with Calem’s brother Zane, Amy and Dylan from Bushy Park, Danny, who engineered Calem’s kart, and Natalie – they all helped enhance the island’s motor sport reputation. And I shouldn’t forget to thank Jeanne Crawford for her work in planning the logistics, setting up a WhatsApp group and for her constant encouragement of the team.”

Editor’s note: affiliated to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which rules the sport worldwide, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) is the island’s governing body for motor sport; it also represents the interests of its Member Clubs in discussions with Government departments which facilitate the sport in the island, in particular the Ministry of Transport, Works & Water Resources, which permits road closures for an agreed number of events each year. Away from motor sport, the BMF affiliate which answers the FIA Mobility remit is the Barbados Automobile Association (BAA).

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