Inspirational Alex takes karting skills out to the Bahamas
KARTING protege Alex Quinn has been testing his talents overseas after he was invited to take part in the Bahamas Speed Week Revival of 2012 held in Nassau, the location of the first ever World Championship karting event back in 1959.
And the 11-year-old, from Otterham, said it was the 'most exciting and moving experience of his life so far'.
During the 11 day stay in the Bahamas trip, which was sponsored by Formula One Management, backed by Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton, together with the Bank of Bahamas, Alex took part in demonstration kart racing events with seven other kart racers from Formula Kart Stars.
From the moment the team stepped off the plane they were greeted with celebrity status. A Bahamian band, together with government officials and grid girls, were at the airport to meet the tired but excited drivers.
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Their karts had been shipped out to the Bahamas and their first task was to assemble the karts in a purpose built security hangar. This was the first opportunity for the team to see the cars which would also be taking part in the Speed Week Revival. There were Ferraris, Jaguar C type, Dodge Vipers, Austin Healeys, and Sir Sterling Moss' personal car, an OSCA FS372 DS.
The first demonstration event of the trip took place in a specially constructed circuit in the car park of the Thomas Robinson Stadium.
The track was constructed and each straight or corner was named after a cadet driver. Following Smithys straight, came Quinnys corner, the most difficult corner of the circuit.
Thousands of local people came to the track together with Senator Lowes to watch an action packed afternoon of spectacular racing in the hot Caribbean sunshine.
Ahead of the main racing event of the Bahamas Speed Week, one of the main reasons for the trip was to come and inspire the young people of the Bahamas by showing the children the karts and talking to them about their racing experiences.
The team was not prepared for the welcome that they received at Private and Government (state) schools and the whole experience was very overwhelming and emotional for all involved.
Alex and his team-mate Josh visited two schools to talk about their experiences.
Later in the week the official opening ceremony of the Speed Week took place and this event was held in the presence of His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, the Governor General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Sir Foulkes is the Queen's representative on the island and he and his wife took time to chat to all the karters.
The boys were invited to take part in the customary celebration laps of the circuit, albeit doing a shorter circuit right in front of the dignatories on the sidewalk.
Alex and his fellow karters then returned to action over the weekend for their participation in a Hillclimb and street race around the 1.6mile beachfront circuit.
On their last evening, an impromptu farewell party was organised and when they arrived they could see television cameras, press photographers and some very important people. No less than the Minister of Tourism, Mr Obie Wilchcombe, who came to address the team and formally invite Formula Kart Stars to return again next year.
Alex returned to school at Sir James School, Camelford, with plenty of stories about his adventure, having learnt so much about the island of New Providence, the culture of the island.
But his biggest memory will be the time spent with the pupils of Government High School where, having remembered seeing so many smiles, he hopes to have inspired other children.