David McLaughlin, organizer of Bahamas Speed Week Revival, said it best: millions of people travel to Nassau each year, but few understand the beauty of the surrounding islands.
Last month, an alliance between Bahamas Speed Week (December 3rd to December 8th) and the Grand Isle Resort & Spa tried to change just that.
Speed Week, once a marquee event in Nassau during the 1950s and 1960s, entered its third year of revival in December and joined with Grand Isle as its official Out Island partner. Today, the high-octane event attracts dozens of vintage cars from around the world, some of which are worth well into the millions.
Entrants raced their cars around a temporary circuit in Nassau by day, attended parties by night, and networked with businessmen and politicians in the exclusive Paddock Club. Grand Isle put up a booth in the tented area and took part in the festivities.
Since reviving Speed Week, McLaughlin said he had always been looking for the right Out Island partner. He wanted to expose these car enthusiasts to a different part of the Bahamas, one that is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Missing out on the most pristine part of the Bahamas, he said, is a common problem. In fact, in the three years he had been coming to the Bahamas, McLaughlin himself had never been outside Nassau.
But once the engines cooled and the checked flag waved, organizers and entrants shed their racing gear for shorts, sandals and T-shirts. They boarded private planes and flew low over the Exumas, landing on Farmer’s Cay, a remote island, for some lunch. The crowd next boarded boats and took the long route to Grand Isle, taking in the sun, surf and the thousand shades of blue.
That evening, the group enjoyed a torch-lit cocktail party overlooking that famous stretch of beach, otherwise known as Emerald Bay.
The event proved to be a success, but what made it truly special was the bond forged between Grand Isle and Bahamas Speed Week. Philip “Brave” Davis, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas, was joined by a host of other dignitaries and guests, and declared the construction of a formal racetrack in Nassau for next year.
Grand Isle looks forward to once again supporting Bahamas Speed Week next year, and exposing an even larger group of drivers and automotive enthusiasts to Ultimate Exuma Blue.
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