By CARA BETHEL-BRENNEN
AFTER more than 50 years, Bahamas Speed Week will return next week in what is expected to be a tremendous boost for sports tourism.
Organisers and sponsors have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the five-day event, which will be a virtual who's who of the world of motor car racing.
At a press conference yesterday, organiser David McLaughin said the Bahamas Speed Week Revival team is exactly where it needs to be.
"We're ready and the time is right. Everything has to have its time and it is a matter of destiny," he said.
Mr McLaughin said a tremendous amount of work has gone into getting Nassau ready to host the event - including improvements to infrastructure, work permit applications and organising secure storage for the visiting vehicles.
Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool Wallace and Minister Culture Charles Maynard noted that the event will benefit the country enormously and expressed the hope that it will become an annual affair.
Mr Vanderpool Wallace said Bahamas Speed Week Revival will serve as a model for projects the ministry wants to be involved with in the future - sustainable events that can be expanded every year and do not require the ministry's sole management.
Forty cars - together valued in the millions - are scheduled to participate in a series of eight events.
The opening ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, November 30 at Arawak Cay and will feature a ceremonial lap by Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Sir Sterling Moss, followed by a welcome reception at Government House.
On Thursday, there will be an island tour followed by a lunch in Lyford Cay, where the antique and classic cars will be judged.
There will also be a media lunch hosted by Good Fellow Farms and the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.
That evening, there will be a reception hosted by Graycliff.
Participants will have a free day on Friday before attending a reception hosted by Carlo Milano on Bay Street.
Saturday will be race day, featuring a Fort Charlotte hill climb and several sprints.
The evening will conclude with a Bahamas Speed Week Gala Ball and an Auction of Promise to raise money for local charities - the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, the Ranfurly Home for Children, Teen Challenge and the AIDS Foundation. The auction will feature a 007 licence plate autographed by Sir Sean Connery and Sir Stirling Moss.