Sat | May 30, 2015

Liming with Lewis

Published:Sunday | June 8, 2014
Renee Harris with a race car associated with the late Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna.
Renee Harris (right) and Lewis Hamilton.-Contributed photos
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Renee Harris, Contributor

My love affair with motorsport began at six years old. I vividly remember attending races with my Dad (affectionately known in the car-racing circle as Poison) in his 1972 Ford Escort. To this day, racing fuel flows through my veins.

Now, as an adult, I do not miss a motorsport event which is within my reach.

In the mid-2000s, I began watching Formula One Racing and a brand new love affair began.

Around 2006, I started watching GP 2 races and found a new hero - Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton. His passion and determination, not to mention his driving skills, caught my attention, as well as his family roots in the Caribbean.

About a month ago, a friend asked if I was going to Barbados for the Top Gear Festival from May 17-18. Lewis Hamilton would be there. I had to make it.

I got VIP tickets to get closer to the track and possibly meet Lewis Hamilton, and also drivers such as Ken Block, who is the master of rally and the co-hosts of Top Gear TV. At Top Gear, I experienced a rush of adrenaline and goose bumps as Lewis lit up on track. But the track was too far from where I was and I believed there was no possibility of meeting Lewis.

Later, a friend invited me out. I tried my best to enjoy the night, trying to forget about not meeting Lewis, not knowing that he was at the event. Within a few minutes, my eyes caught his.

"Oh my God, it's Lewis!" I shouted to my friend. I was very eager to meet him, but bided my time.

Lewis Hamilton was informed that it was my first time in Barbados and it was just because of him. I finally got the go-ahead to meet him. My wonderful night continued and I was lucky to also meet a group incredible persons.

Lewis and I spoke about racing, the support he has in Jamaica, and the things I did just to not miss a race. I was given a night of laughter and great memories that I never anticipated happening.

He informed me about how we could meet to get my Lewis Hamilton memorabilia collection, which I had brought from Jamaica, autographed. It was done and I was able to carry some memories of meeting Lewis Hamilton back home.