Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Toyota to revamp America&rsquo;s top-selling car amid SUV boom http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Toyota-to-revamp-America-s-top-selling-car-amid-SUV-boom_82271 DETROIT, United States (AP) &mdash; Toyota plans to reveal a new version of America&rsquo;s top-selling sedan next month at a time when US buyers are moving away from cars toward SUVs and trucks.<br /> <br /> The Japanese automaker said yesterday that it will show off the 2018 Camry at Detroit&rsquo;s North American International Auto Show in January. It is likely to arrive in showrooms late next summer.<br /> <br /> Toyota gave few details about the eighth-generation Camry, which was last redesigned for the 2013 model year. Typically Toyota redesigns the interior, exterior and suspension, but it also has added new engines and transmissions.<br /> <br /> A teaser photo of the car shows a more rakish, sportier look, something the Camry has lacked for years.<br /> <br /> Sales of cars have been slumping as consumers take advantage of cheap gasoline and buy SUVs and trucks. Experts are not expecting gas prices to rise significantly anytime soon. For the past three months, trucks and SUVs were around 60 per cent of US sales, an unprecedented streak that industry analysts do not expect to end.<br /> <br /> Toyota is hoping the new version will boost Camry sales, which are down 9.4 per cent to just over 355,000 through November. While they concede the car may soon be outsold by Toyota&rsquo;s RAV4 small SUV, they expect Camry to remain the top-selling sedan for the foreseeable future.<br /> <br /> So far this year, Toyota has sold nearly 315,000 RAV4s. The Camry for several months has been outsold by the Honda CR-V, another small SUV. But the car still is solidly in first place as the most popular vehicle in America that isn&rsquo;t a pickup truck.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s possible that Camry would be the number one sedan, but the number one Toyota could be a RAV4,&rdquo; said Bob Carter, Toyota&rsquo;s senior vice-president of auto operations.<br /> <br /> A redesigned Camry should boost sales in a declining segment, but it may not help the Camry that much since competitors already are sleek and sporty, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice-president of forecasting for the LMC Automotive consulting firm.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They are very late to the game from a styling and performance perspective,&rdquo; Schuster said. &ldquo;Unless there&rsquo;s some new technology that leapfrogs them over cars today, it&rsquo;s going to be really challenging to get much of a lift out of the new vehicle.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Midsize cars have declined from around 2.4 million in US sales in the early 2000s to around 2.2 million expected this year, Schuster said. Due to the decline, the Camry probably won&rsquo;t return to the 430,000 sales it had in 2015, he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10596742/new-camry_w300.jpg Local Auto Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM 1 Ford reveals EcoSport http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Ford-reveals-EcoSport_82277 LOS ANGELES, United States &mdash; Ford&rsquo;s all-new EcoSport for North America is seen during what the company says is the first-ever Snapchat vehicle reveal during a threeday event called &lsquo;Go Small, Live Big&rsquo; in Los Angeles&rsquo; Hollywood district on Monday, November 14, 2016. Ford targets its newest SUV at younger buyers seeking a smaller SUV with a big personality, customisable to the buyer&rsquo;s taste. EcoSport features an available 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, SYNC 3 infotainment system, and seven-colour ambient interior lighting. (Photo: AP) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13477555/244524_w300.jpg Local Auto Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Jackson on a high http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Jackson-on-a-high_82266 After years of moving from circuit racing to local rallying, Joel Jackson captured Rallysport&rsquo;s greatest prize &mdash; the Richard Stewart Memorial Rally Jamaica 2016 &mdash; last weekend in Bog Walk, St Catherine. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We missed it in 2014. It&rsquo;s been a few years in the making, but the victory feels good,&rdquo; Jackson told<br /> <br /> Auto.<br /> <br /> Jackson took over the lead of the rally with his damaged Subaru Impreza WRX STI when his class rival and event favourite Kyle Gregg developed brake issues early on the second day, causing him to crash off the stage and eventually retire after trying to make up the lost time. Until then, Gregg had dominated the rally, holding a one-minute, 10-second lead.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We were just maintaining the pace. On Saturday, on the third stage, the brakes just went to the floor halfway through it,&rdquo; explained Gregg.<br /> <br /> The incident unfortunately happened on one of the fastest sections, thrusting Gregg&rsquo;s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution into the foliage. Temporary repairs by Gregg proved futile and he retired later that day as Jackson inherited the lead. <br /> <br /> However, Gregg&rsquo;s problems sent the whole field into a frenzy, upping the excitement factor by a significant margin. Jackson found himself having to hold off a chasing pack consisting of McConnell, veteran Douglas Gore, and Timothy Stewart.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t put a wheel wrong all weekend and didn&rsquo;t make any mistakes,&rdquo; Jackson said about his win.<br /> <br /> His error-free run kept him ahead to the end. McConnell finished second with Gore behind. Maurice Whittingham and Bajan Harold Morley completed the top five finishers. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473266/244501_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473267/244496_ld.jpg Dawning of a new legend http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Dawning-of-a-new-legend_82249 The Boxster secured its place in the annals of Porsche history when it debuted in 1996 as it provided a financial windfall for the company. In the current generation that feat has been paid forward as it has been entrusted with a nameplate of major significance in Porsche&rsquo;s long motorsport history, 718. Simply put, Porsche has knighted the new car the 718 Boxster and its hard-top sibling the 718 Cayman.<br /> <br /> The 718 moniker reaches back to the 718 RSK racing cars from the 50s, with their 1.5-litre, quad-cam, mid-mounted four-cylinder engine making the most out of its 142 horsepower flat four.<br /> <br /> The 718 itself was an evolution of Porsche 550 A Spyder, both cars themselves adding more than 1,000 victories across various racing disciplines of the era. The new car is no racing car, but the DNA is there, confirming Porsche&rsquo;s faith in handing the model its new designation.<br /> <br /> The new 718 is a fresh take on the previous generations, with a sharper more sculpted profile that retains design cues from the car from which it gets its name, especially the shoulder lines that define the wheel arches. More significant is the rear, with the Porsche text smartly integrated into an accent strip that stretches from left to right tail light, making it very clear what brand the vehicle is.<br /> <br /> Inside there&rsquo;s little doubt about the purpose of the 718. High-quality materials abound and only get better as one moves higher up the trim levels or opt on personalisation. It&rsquo;s a two-seater, mid-engined performance machine. All the major controls are easily within reach and are set up first to provide speed information to the driver, such as the classic Porsche centre-mounted rpm meter, ensuring clear knowledge of the shifting points.<br /> <br /> And shift one will, as the mid-mounted engine &mdash; now down to two litres but packing a turbocharger &mdash; sends 300 bhp to the rear wheels and has 7,500 redline that it willingly screams to. <br /> <br /> The Boxster&rsquo;s top can be dropped in no time to enjoy the aggressive exhaust note and random machine gun rapid backfires. Zero to 62 mph comes up in 4.7 seconds. Step up to the S package and the extra 0.5-litres of displacement sees an increase of 50 hp and the 0-60 mph rush falls to 4.2 seconds. Porsche&rsquo;s seven-speed PDK transmission is the best in the business, doing its duties invisibly in whatever driving mode, mood, or traffic it finds itself operating.<br /> <br /> On the road, both cars are the pinnacle of agility &mdash; able to dart in and out of traffic, make long stretches of road disappear, and carve corners with ease &mdash; while keeping the driver connected to the road and comfort. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473150/244482_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473152/porsche-SLD.jpg 06 2 Porsche ready to pounce http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Porsche-ready-to-pounce_82248 As Porsche prepares to enter the Jamaican market under the ATL Automotive Group&rsquo;s ATL Motorsports banner, regional managers of the German brand &mdash; Porsche Latin America (PLA) &mdash; are more than happy to welcome the island into the stable of 45 dealers across Latin America and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re very excited to be in Jamaica because we believe part of our growth will be in the Caribbean, and Jamaica is integral to that,&rdquo; George Wills, president and managing director, PLA, told Auto.<br /> <br /> Wills is confident that the time is right for the German automotive performance brand to offer its products to the Jamaican consumer on the official level, after having visited the island in October.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The most important thing is that the proper Porsche experience be delivered as if they were in Germany or any Porsche dealer worldwide. And now, with an authorised dealer, we can offer a full package from sales to after-sales service,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Wills admitted to having a few surprises in the works for the island, given the unique nature of the arrangement with ATL, since the dealership, as announced by Adam Stewart, CEO of ATL Automotive, will not be a standalone property.<br /> <br /> Instead, it will be situated in the heart of New Kingston, the capital city&rsquo;s business and financial district. This will make it one of the handful of Porsche dealerships using a &lsquo;boutique style on a high street&rsquo; formula.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re doing something different in Jamaica with ATL Automotive,&rdquo; Wills explained.<br /> <br /> Having started in 2006 with only six employees, PLA &ndash; located in Miami, Florida &ndash; now services 17 importers and 45 dealers across 24 markets in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. <br /> <br /> Tim Bravo, press and public relations manager &mdash; PLA, best describes the company&rsquo;s function as that of a liaison between the parent company Porsche AG and regional importers, as their diverse staff navigate the cultural differences between the two parties.<br /> <br /> In 2015, the brand enjoyed a bumper year with 3,209 units sold in the region, mostly made up of the Cayenne and Macan Sport Utility vehicles.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think we can sustain 30 to 40 units yearly in Jamaica, however long it takes to reach that target,&rdquo; Wills added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473149/244492_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 3 Photo Finish: Flashback http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Flashback_82278 As the National Drag Racing Circuit prepares to close off the 2016 season on December 11 at Vernamfield, Clarendon, we take a quick look back at one of its past events.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473246/244546_71014_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Street Scenes - December 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Street-Scenes_82161 Photo1 : A MAN AND HIS WHEELS: The driver of this motor car attracted stares as he drove on Half-Way- Tree Road in St Andrew yesterday.<br /> <br /> Photo2 : HERE COMES THE MAT-MAN: A vendor walks on Orange Street in downtown Kingston yesterday while selling mats. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13471441/244360_70903_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Covert operations strategy being used to reduce road traffic violations http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Covert-operations-strategy-being-used-to-reduce-road-traffic-violations_81690 THE Police Traffic Division is reporting success in the use of covert operations to reduce road traffic violations. This comes after over 1,073 tickets were issued across three key parishes for various driving offences, since the strategy was implemented over a month ago.<br /> <br /> The operations have been successful particularly in Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine, netting traffic tickets for driving offences including improper overtaking, and exceeding the speed limit. Sometimes when motorists are stopped there are accompanying charges such as for defective vehicles or failure to wear seat belts. Since the start of the year, a total of 388,811 tickets have been issued on the island&rsquo;s roads.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Covert operations target certain areas where indiscipline and bad driving are rampant. We have done a number of operations and you never know where we might be next. Motorists found in breach will be dealt with,&rdquo; warned Acting SSP Courtney Coubrie, head of the Traffic Division. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are intersections where some motorists drive into filter areas where they should have turned right, but instead cut across other motorists in order to continue straight, thus forcing them to brake suddenly to avoid a collision. There are others who make their way into the intersection itself, away from the stop line; that, too, is an offence that carries demerit points similar to disobeying the red light. We will be vigilant in detecting and prosecuting as such,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The covert operations are done with police officers using unmarked vehicles, with a marked vehicle in close proximity to assist in apprehending offenders where necessary. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We frequent areas where there is a high level of indiscipline and lawlessness. In the past, what usually happens is that the marked vehicle is easily seen from a distance as we are normally on long stretches of roads. If the officers tried to respond to those who commit a violation, on seeing the marked vehicles motorists tended to divert in an attempt to evade the police,&rdquo; explained Deputy Superintendent Errol Adams, operations officer, Traffic Division.<br /> <br /> Another challenge is that on the highways, once a marked vehicle is in position to do speed checks, if a motorist realises this, there is the usual communication with the flashing of headlights. However, in a covert operation, because the vehicle is unmarked, the police are able to detect numerous breaches before motorists are aware of their presence.<br /> <br /> Dr Lucien Jones, vice -chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), commended the police on the effective use of this strategy. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The NRSC is working closely with the police to support and encourage them as they monitor some of these trouble spots. However, we all have a role to play and I am urging all Jamaicans to be vigilant,&rdquo; he said http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/5740546/coaster-bus-16_w300.jpg Local News Monday, November 28, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Toyota brings transportation relief to rural school http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Toyota-brings-transportation-relief-to-rural-school_81901 Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth &mdash; Aberdeen High and Primary School in St Elizabeth recently took the grand prize, a 2017 Toyoto Hiace bus in the Toyota Jamaica Bus Di School competition.<br /> <br /> School principal Prim Lewis said the vehicle was badly needed to assist students involved in extra-curricular activities. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This bus is needed to take the students to various competitions and activities safely and cost effectively. This helps us to make another important step as we strive to be seen as a school of choice,&rdquo; said Lewis. <br /> <br /> In addition to the grand prize for Aberdeen, three other rural schools won cash awards towards school development programmes. <br /> <br /> St Albans Primary & Infant School in Stanmore, Malvern St Elizabeth won $150,000 for placing second, while Garlogie Primary & Junior High in Banana Ground, Clarendon and Mannings Hill Primary in rural St Andrew each won $100,000 for placing third. <br /> <br /> Tom Connor, managing director explained that Toyota Jamaica recognized the importance of having access to safe and reliable transportation as part of the education experience for students across the island. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Bus Di School competition is an important programme for us as we are able to make a significant contribution to education which is a major challenge in Jamaica. Our area of expertise is transportation and as such assisting schools with this need was very fitting. Ensuring that our students can commute safely to and from school, also attend competitions, special events, along with other academic programmes are important to us,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are far too many stories of risky modes of transport that some schools have to rely on, and the unfortunate outcomes that result.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Schools across the island were invited to submit their pitch for why they should win the Toyota Jamaica Bus Di School grand prize. The winner was selected by a combination of judging by a panel and a public vote of the schools' proposals on the Toyota Jamaica Facebook page. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13463050/243833__w300.jpg Central News Monday, November 28, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Rosberg foils Hamilton to claim maiden title http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Rosberg-foils-Hamilton-to-claim-maiden-title_81907 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AFP) &mdash; Nico Rosberg clinched his maiden world title yesterday, finishing second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, despite Lewis Hamilton ignoring team orders in his quest to foil the German.<br /> <br /> The 31-year-old Rosberg concluded the longest season in the sport&rsquo;s history with a nail-biting second place under intense pressure after leader and ultimate race winner Hamilton had slowed the field to create a difficult finish.<br /> <br /> Hamilton reeled off his 10th win of the season &mdash; the most by any driver not to win the title &mdash; and the 53rd of his career, but his gamesmanship upset his team and his teammate in the closing laps.<br /> <br /> His final lap was nine seconds slower than the lap that carried him to pole and was clearly designed to push Rosberg into a vulnerable position as Sebastian Vettel closed in in his Ferrari.<br /> <br /> Hamilton ignored two instructions from the team to increase his speed at the front, but was unable to create a situation in which Rosberg could be attacked and passed.<br /> <br /> Rosberg joined an exclusive club by becoming only the second son of a former champion to take the title, his father Keke having won the championship 34 years ago with the Williams team.<br /> <br /> Briton Damon Hill did the same when he won the title with Williams, following his father Graham&rsquo;s achievements, in 1996.<br /> <br /> Rosberg also became Germany&rsquo;s third champion.<br /> <br /> The tension was palpable as the drivers headed for the podium after the race, in which Vettel finished third for Ferrari ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.<br /> <br /> Rosberg celebrated by giving F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone a massive bear hug, lifting the diminutive octogenarian high into the air, as Hamilton stared glumly at the floor.<br /> <br /> Rosberg, reliving the final tense laps, said: &ldquo;With the guys (Vettel and Verstappen) coming up behind me, the end was not the most enjoyable.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m very proud to have done the same feat as my dad achieved.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> On the podium Hamilton&rsquo;s good grace returned and he gave his former teenage go-carting companion a handshake and a hug.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Big congratulations to Nico, good job man,&rdquo; said Hamilton.<br /> <br /> Of his own attempted spoiling tactics, Hamilton said simply: &ldquo;We were fighting for the championship; I was in the lead so I control the pace&hellip;. That is the rules.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Briton Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, and Brazilian Felipe Massa made emotional exits after competing in their final races of long and successful careers.<br /> <br /> Button was forced into retirement after only 12 laps, while Massa placed ninth.<br /> <br /> As the sun descended at the end of a hot, dry and dusty day at the Yas Marina circuit, Hamilton made a perfect start from his 61st pole position to lead away from Rosberg.<br /> <br /> In a frantic opening lap, Verstappen spun after touching the Force India car of German Nico Hulkenberg, dropping him to 17th as he rejoined and advanced through the pack.<br /> <br /> After a series of pit stops and mid-field scraps Hamilton was left in control by lap 34, ahead of Rosberg by 1.3 seconds, with Verstappen third and Vettel, setting fastest laps, climbing back to fifth to launch himself in pursuit of the two Red Bulls.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ok, Lewis, we really need to pick up the pace,&rdquo; Hamilton was told by his team. &ldquo;Vettel is a threat.&rdquo; For the defending champion, it was the news he wanted to hear, even if for Mercedes it presented a dilemma.<br /> <br /> With 10 laps remaining, it was obvious Hamilton was driving as cautiously as he could to compress the field and create a threat behind Rosberg.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ok, Lewis, this is an instruction: We need 45.1 - this is for a win, said the team on Hamilton&rsquo;s radio on lap 46. &ldquo;You should just let us race,&rdquo; he replied.<br /> <br /> Mercedes technical team chief Paddy Lowe followed on the radio. &ldquo;Lewis, this is Paddy. We need you to pick up the pace to win this race. That&rsquo;s an instruction.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am actually in the lead right now,&rdquo; said Hamilton. Lowe&rsquo;s face on the pit wall fell in despair.<br /> <br /> On lap 51, Vettel passed Verstappen for third with a bold move to increase the tension, leaving Hamilton backing Rosberg back towards the charging Ferrari, but he survived to take his title. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13463155/243874_70409_repro_w300.jpg Local Sports Monday, November 28, 2016 12:00 AM 6 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13463158/243874_ld.jpg Rally Jamaica this weekend http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Rally-Jamaica-this-weekend_81587 The Richard Stewart Memorial Rally Jamaica will begin this Saturday at 8:00 am through the Tru-Juice Orchards, Bog Walk in St Catherine. The second leg is slated to begin the same time on Sunday. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This has been a challenging year for Rallysport on a whole. However, my team and I are committed to still putting on a show,&rdquo; Lawrence Henriques, event organiser, said at the event launch last week Monday at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.<br /> <br /> The rally will see 23 stages covering 168 kilometres.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Mickleton stage for this year has been changed and will be the longest at 10.04 kilometres,&rdquo; Michael Fennell, route setter, explained.<br /> <br /> The event will not be the final leg of the North America and Central America (NACAM) Regional Rally Championship and, therefore, will not see the host of international participants as it did last year. However, the provisional entry list sees a massive battle shaping up in the JN8 category led by 2014 Rally Jamaica winner Kyle Gregg.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The car is making the most power it ever has and my pace notes are ready as well,&rdquo; Gregg said.<br /> <br /> The 2014 champion believes there are five potential victors and that the competition is very close.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think the rally will be decided on the final three stages of the event,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Gregg will be up against his regular nemesis Joel Jackson and will also have to deal with the likes of Douglas Gore, Jordan Powell, Fraser McConnell, and Timothy Stewart. The overseas contingent sees a mix of new and familiar faces as Jamaica&rsquo;s Christopher McFarlane returns to the island, with Bajan Harold Morley and from Canada the team of Jan and Jody Zedril joining the list of competitors.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457763/243267_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 1 Toyota puts Aberdeen on a high http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Toyota-puts-Aberdeen-on-a-high_81527 ABERDEEN High & Primary School in St Elizabeth won the grand prize of a brand new 2017 Toyota Hiace bus in Toyota Jamaica&rsquo;s Bus Di School Competition recently.<br /> <br /> The school was one of four rural institutions earning top spots in the competition. They all received cash prizes totalling more than $7.5m. These were St Albans Primary and Infant School in Malvern, St Elizabeth; Garlogie Primary & Junior High in Banana Ground, Clarendon; and Mannings Hill Primary School in rural St Andrew.<br /> <br /> Prim Lewis, principal of Aberdeen High & Primary School, said she was elated to win the bus.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are excited, happy and so grateful to Toyota for giving us this bus. Aberdeen has had a dire need and we would not have been able to complete the fund raising to purchase a bus for another three years. This Toyota Hiace bus gives us a real boost to meet the growing transportation needs of our students,&rdquo; said Lewis.<br /> <br /> Lewis explained that Aberdeen&rsquo;s extra-curricular activities were expanding. She said the school was recently accepted into Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association, which means students will participate in various sports competitions, and that the institution partners with other schools for shared academic programmes. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This bus is needed to take the students to various competitions and activities safely and cost effectively. This helps us to make another important step as we strive to be seen as a school of choice,&rdquo; said Lewis. <br /> <br /> Tom Connor, Toyota Jamaica&rsquo;s managing director, said his company recognises the importance of having access to safe and reliable transportation as part of the education experience for students across the island. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Bus Di School competition is an important programme for us as we are able to make a significant contribution to education, which is a major challenge in Jamaica. Our area of expertise is transportation, and as such, assisting schools with this need was very fitting. Ensuring that our students can commute safely to and from school, also attend competitions, special events, along with other academic programmes, is important to us. There are far too many stories of risky modes of transport that some schools have to rely on, and the unfortunate outcomes that result,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> St Albans Primary in Malvern sees their $150,000 cash prize as enabling the school&rsquo;s administration to help more children to attend school. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Transportation is a vital service, as many children are not coming to school because they have no way of getting here and back home,&rdquo; said Christopher Dubidad, principal at St Albans.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;With this cash award, we will be able to put measures in place to facilitate transportation for some of the students so that they can get the education that will help to transform their lives,&rdquo; said Dubidad. <br /> <br /> Schools across the island were invited to submit their pitch for why they should win the Toyota Jamaica Bus Di School grand prize. The winner is selected by a combination of judging by a panel and a public vote of the schools&rsquo; proposals on the Toyota Jamaica<br /> <br /> Facebook page. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457710/243198_69633_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457720/243198_SLD.jpg 06 2 Angus stays at JCCC helm http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Angus-stays-at-JCCC-helm_81516 Shane Angus will serve a third term as head of the Jamaica Classic Car Club (JCCC). He was re-elected to the post at the club&rsquo;s annual general meeting, held at Curphey Place in St Andrew, last Sunday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It feels good to be re-elected. We have a lot to accomplish in the new year,&rdquo; Angus told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> Jason Lawson and Naresh Potopsingh also retained their positions of first and second vice-presidents, respectively. Completing the executive body are Michael McFarlane &ndash; club secretary; Paul Gammon &ndash; assistant secretary; Albert Rickman &ndash; treasurer; and Rae Parchment &ndash; assistant treasurer.<br /> <br /> Angus and his previous executive were praised for their hard work, which has seen several significant improvements inside the club over his two previous tenures. For 2016, this has continued with 38 new members and an average of 25 cars in attendance at the club&rsquo;s monthly outings.<br /> <br /> For 2017, Angus says the focus is on holding a classic car show in the summer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll be working hard to secure the partnerships and sponsorships to have the show, but it starts with the members having their cars as prepared as possible,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The club is also working hard with government agencies to make it easier for owners of classics to have them licensed.<br /> <br /> As customary at the AGM the JCCC took time out to celebrate its membership by presenting the Clubman&rsquo;s Trophy to the person who has best defined the spirit of the club through the year. For 2016, it went to past President Nigel McFarlane.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m happy to accept the award,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Angus explained that McFarlane was given the award on the merit that he is always willing to help and present at all the club&rsquo;s events.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Even if he&rsquo;s not driving his classic, Nigel participates, many times bringing spares or tools in case anyone needs them,&rdquo; Angus explained.<br /> <br /> Next month, the club is expected to trek to downtown Kingston and hold a swap meet for those looking for parts to complete their classic car project. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12627259/183926_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 3 Tyre safety is key http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Tyre-safety-is-key_79268 Tyre safety can be the difference between life and death when driving on the road. A visual inspection, along with the use of tyre-checking devices, can determine a tyre&rsquo;s condition to determine whether or not it is safe. <br /> <br /> Courtney Hedge, master technician at ATL Automotive &ndash; Honda, said a visual inspection may reveal a bulge which is a major defect to the tyre&rsquo;s integrity. According to him, the tyre must be replaced as continuous friction with the road will cause it to blow out.<br /> <br /> Aside from the bulge, a worn tyre is unsafe as there will not be enough treading to hold the road surface when the vehicle brakes. In wet conditions, the vehicle loses traction and doesn&rsquo;t grip the road as it should when there is adequate treading. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;A tyre can wear quickly depending on the surface it is exposed to, how it is used, and the elements that it is exposed to. If the tread wear is measured to be 1.6 mm and below, that tyre should be changed immediately. A depth gauge tool can be used to measure the tread wear,&rdquo; said Hedge.<br /> <br /> In addition to tread wear, the expert said expired tyres can be very hazardous.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Department of Transportation (DOT) standard stipulates that tyres be no more than 10 years old; some manufacturers recommend six years old. Ageing tyres lead to dry rot and as the rubber deteriorates, the tyres become more unsafe,&rdquo; said Hedge.<br /> <br /> Air pressure is another key component to tyre safety. Different vehicles have different stipulations for air pressure. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Overinflation of the tyre can cause wearing on the middle of the tyre, lessening the grip on the road, reducing the control of the vehicle, and resulting in a bumpy ride. There is a strip in the door jamb of most vehicles with the information for your car,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Underinflation is equally dangerous, as the fast wearing of the tyre will occur on the outside, causing it to go bad quickly. The driver also stands the risk of the rim cutting the tyre as there won&rsquo;t be enough air pressure to cushion the rim from the road. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The correct air pressure helps with fuel consumption, underinflation leads to more fuel use,&rdquo; said Steve Chin, service manager at ATL Automotive &mdash; Honda.<br /> <br /> A bent rim can also be dangerous to the tyre. An excessive bend on the rim can cause the tyre to lose balance because of a slow leak. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;A tyre pressure monitoring system comes with most of the newer vehicles and will alert the driver if the tyre is losing pressure. A tyre pressure gauge can also show if the pressure has been lowered; it&rsquo;s something you can feel mostly,&rdquo; said Hedge.<br /> <br /> Hedge advises that the valve seal can become worn over time and cause the air to leak slowly. He recommends that when a new tyre is being fitted to the car, a new valve should also be fitted. <br /> <br /> When a tyre is damaged to the extent that it has to be replaced, it is recommended that you know the size specification for your vehicle and stick to it. The numbers on the tyres show the width, height and diameter. The rim should always be the same size as the tyre.<br /> <br /> To ensure the safety of new tyres, they must be aligned and balanced. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Wheel alignment and balancing are critical to the safe performance of the vehicle. A vehicle out of alignment will cause tyres to wear unevenly, thus shortening the life of the tyres. Wheels out of balance will cause discomfort when driving and affect the safe operation of the vehicle. It can also damage the wheel bearing, and as such is very important,&rdquo; said Chin.<br /> <br /> Some drivers opt to purchase used tyres instead of new ones. Chin cautions that the driver may buy a used tyre that was repaired (punctured or chopped) and will run the risk of a blowout while driving. The tyre may also have internal damage in the rubber, based on what that tyre was exposed to while it was previously operating.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When buying used tyres ensure the tread depth doesn&rsquo;t pass the 1.6 mm limit. Ensure you can&rsquo;t see the cords, and be sure the tread pattern is worn evenly. In addition, look out for visible signs of road damage,&rdquo; said Chin. <br /> <br /> ATL Automotive &mdash; Honda is located at 47 Hagley Park Road in Kingston. Call: 1-888-ATL-SERV or email: sales@atlautomotive.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457848/243334_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 4 Domino&rsquo;s finds home at RUBiS http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Domino-s-finds-home-at-RUBiS_81584 PETROLEUM marketing company RUBiS Energy Jamaica has partnered with Wisynco Foods through their Domino&rsquo;s franchise for the opening of the fourth Pizza Theatre location. <br /> <br /> The newest location is the RUBiS Service Station at 113 Red Hills Road in St Andrew.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The location of our RUBiS Red Hills Road Service Station is ideal based on the cross section of customers that we are able to provide with our products and services. It is along a main thoroughfare which is in the middle of a beaming business district and borders several communities. This partnership will serve Domino&rsquo;s well, as they will be able to tap into an already existing customer base in terms of persons who utilise the RUBiS service station, as well as penetrate the surrounding communities. I am happy with this partnership and we are confident that being in the same location will be a tremendous complement for both RUBiS and Domino&rsquo;s,&rdquo; said Alain Carreau, CEO, RUBiS Energy Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The Domino&rsquo;s Red Hills Road outlet joins Domino&rsquo;s Barbican, King Street, and Sovereign Village in Portmore.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At Domino&rsquo;s, we are constantly looking to expand the number of stores with the particular objective of reducing our service times to customers. The geography surrounding the Red Hills, Meadowbrook and Hughenden areas were being underserved based on their distance from our Constant Spring Store. RUBiS had available real estate in the perfect location to help improve our service to these areas, so we jumped at the opportunity,&rdquo; explained Sean Scott, CEO, Wisynco Foods.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are very happy that we were able to complete our first Domino&rsquo;s location under our partnership with RUBiS ,and we are looking forward to building more outlets at select locations. We have already identified a number of RUBiS service stations where adding a quick-service restaurant will be beneficial to both partners,&rdquo; said Scott when asked about the possibility of further locations being added in light of the partnership. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457765/243251_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 5 &lsquo;Remote&rsquo; meet gets thumbs up http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/-Remote--meet-gets-thumbs-up_81515 The<br /> <br /> JAMROCK Remote Control Car Club (JRRCCC) held the second round of the Island Nitro Series at the Sovereign Centre on the Boulevard, Washington Boulevard in St Andrew, last Sunday.<br /> <br /> Denise Burton-Clarke, JRRCCC president, gave the meet a thumbs up.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We had a good race meet,&rdquo; she told<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> In the 1/8 scale Nitro GT class, Howard Maitland cashed in his Top Qualifier position for first place, besting Neil Ferguson and Andre Blaine. Michael Clarke did the same in 1/8 scale 4WD Open, leading Raffique Golaub. <br /> <br /> The Clarke name again headed the leaderboard in 1/10 scale Nitro Sedan as Burton-Clarke took first place, followed by Franklin Thomas and Lascelles Ellis.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our racers continue to improve on the mechanical set-ups of their cars and are therefore able to focus on their driving skills,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> The club will next host round three of the Island Electric Series on December 18.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457713/243194_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Karting season ends on high http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Karting-season-ends-on-high_81556 THE Jamaica Karting Association&rsquo;s (JKA) 2016 season came to a fine close with the Abe Zaidie Memorial meet on Sunday at the Palisadoes International Raceway in Kingston.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It has been a very positive season for us and ended on a high note, given the quality of racing we saw at the final event,&rdquo; JKA president, David Summerbell Jr, told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> Summerbell said the year has been one of growth on the base of the previous administration and the support of the current executive and parents.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve seen the sport grow in terms of competitors, spectators and sponsors such as Total and others,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The JKA, under his administration, has made several infrastructure upgrades to the racing facility, and expanded the racing exposure available to the children.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve implemented night racing and running the circuit in reverse in order to give the competitors as much racing experience as possible,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> The only thing on Summerbell&rsquo;s wish list is the resumption of the Comer50 class.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That is the only area we were not able to complete for 2016, but we&rsquo;re looking to get it back up for 2017, as it&rsquo;s a very important entry point into the sport,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> On the track, it was Shane Chisholm who was a double winner in Comer80. Ryan Lue also did the double in Mini Max to secure his class title and retain his championship. In Rotax Junior, Sirgany&rsquo;s Joshua and Justin split a race final win each, while Matthew Williams and Timothy Stewart did the same in Rotax Senior. David Summerbell secured the lone Super Rotax race final.<br /> <br /> ­&ndash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12798366/193399_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Hyundai marks 40th milestone http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Hyundai-marks-40th-milestone_81522 Hyundai<br /> <br /> Motor is celebrating 40 years of exports to international markets following a period of significant overseas growth that has seen it become one of the fastest-growing brands in the world. <br /> <br /> From South Korea&rsquo;s first mass-produced model to the latest generation of eco-friendly cars, more than 23 million Hyundai Motor vehicles have been exported worldwide since 1976.<br /> <br /> The company&rsquo;s pioneering Pony four-door sedan was initially exported to South America, with 1,042 vehicles delivered to 13 countries. Four decades later, Hyundai Motor now exports more than 1.15 million vehicles a year from its Korean manufacturing plants alone, shipping to 184 countries &ndash; around 3,150 vehicles daily, three times the first year&rsquo;s total exports.<br /> <br /> At an event to celebrate the milestone in Guayaquil, Ecuador &ndash; Hyundai Motor&rsquo;s first export destination &ndash; Zayong Koo, vice-president, head of global corporate communications at Hyundai Motor Company, said: &ldquo;Since exports began 40 years ago, Hyundai Motor&rsquo;s pioneering ethos has seen it become one of the biggest and fastest-growing brands in the world. With such steady growth, we anticipate an evolution from being a transportation company, to a mobility service provider.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> To recognise the historic occasion, Hyundai Motor presented a range of 26 heritage and current production vehicles at the event in Ecuador. To reflect Hyundai&rsquo;s export history, the line-up of cars included two original Pony models, current Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs, as well as the pioneering IONIQ hybrid and electric cars. Following the event, attendees took part in an IONIQ test drive event to experience both hybrid and fully electric versions of the vehicle in the beautiful Galapagos Islands.<br /> <br /> Building on its international export success, Hyundai Motor is now the sixth-largest automotive brand in the world and the 35th biggest brand overall globally, according to the latest rankings by Interbrand. Despite yet another challenging year for the automotive industry, the company&rsquo;s global brand value grew 11 per cent since 2015, reaching $12.6bn in 2016, securing the Korean company&rsquo;s place among the biggest brands on the planet.<br /> <br /> The Hyundai Motor brand is set to achieve even greater heights with the launch of IONIQ &ndash; the world&rsquo;s first vehicle platform to offer three electrified powertrains, making low- to zero-emission mobility accessible to everyone. In 2017, high-performance Hyundai N cars will come to market and the future-mobility focused &lsquo;Project IONIQ&rsquo; will continue to push the automotive industry&rsquo;s boundaries, moving Hyundai Motor into new automotive spaces. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457640/243229_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 25, 2016 3:00 AM 5 Rosberg, Hamilton differ on crew swop http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Rosberg--Hamilton-differ-on-crew-swop_81580 ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) &mdash; Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton agreed yesterday to differ on the reasons for Mercedes&rsquo; decision to swop their car crews this year.<br /> <br /> The pair faced the media at a tense press conference at the Yas Marina circuit ahead of this weekend&rsquo;s title showdown at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.<br /> <br /> When the topic was raised it was clear there was an underlying story.<br /> <br /> Hamilton hinted as much, but refused to reveal his version of the events &mdash; or the explanations &mdash; that led to both drivers&rsquo; individual mechanics&rsquo; teams going through a major change of identity.<br /> <br /> Both crews had five changes in their engineering teams including the leading respective &lsquo;number one&rsquo; race mechanics, a rare if not unprecedented move.<br /> <br /> When Rosberg said it was a move made by the team to enhance team harmony after a stormy 2015 season, Hamilton was quick to counter, but declined to explain his own point of view.<br /> <br /> Rosberg said: &ldquo;We have been fighting for three years, we are fighting for race wins and championship, so it is quite natural that a little separation can happen between the two sides of the garage.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For overall team performance, that is not a good thing. You want great team spirit, everybody fighting for one direction and working together.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That is why the decision was taken to rotate a little bit&hellip;&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hamilton was asked for his opinion and, instead of answering, he leaned towards his 31-year-old German teammate and said: &ldquo;I want to hear the reason you were given&hellip;&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He then added: &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll have to buy my book in 10 years&rsquo; time to find out exactly what happened&hellip; It will be an interesting read.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Rosberg, who leads the defending three-time world champion by 12 points with just Sunday&rsquo;s race remaining from this year&rsquo;s 21-race calendar, added that he felt the switch of mechanics and engineers had been good.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Of course, initially, it is not something that is super-comfortable, because my mechanics were close to me and it felt good and for everything to then change means it takes time to gel,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But I understand that, from a team perspective, it was the right thing to do and it worked quite well.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our team spirit is as good as ever. We had some great parties together and everyone is sticking together and it is an awesome feeling within the team, so it looks like for sure it was the right thing to do.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Turning their attentions to the future instead of the past, both men were asked about their approaches to Sunday&rsquo;s race - with Hamilton distancing himself from the idea that he might &lsquo;back up&rsquo; Rosberg, if he is leading, in the hope that the Red Bulls may pass him.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want to win by as big a distance as possible and that has not entered my mind,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the only way I can do it. I&rsquo;ve not thought of anything else.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Rosberg made clear that he was not interested in anything other than his usual approach &mdash; to win the race and concentrate on that alone.<br /> <br /> He dismissed all notions of underhand tactics, in which he might take actions that affected Hamilton&rsquo;s race and rejected one suggestion that he could &lsquo;play dirty&rsquo; if Hamilton passed him to take the lead. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457912/243268_w300.jpg Local News Friday, November 25, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Two hotel workers killed in St Ann crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Two-hotel-workers-killed-in-St-Ann-crash_81382 OCHO RIOS, St Ann &mdash; A wave of sorrow gripped the management and staff at Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay yesterday following the deaths of two of their colleagues in a motor vehicle crash Tuesday night.<br /> <br /> Jodian Duncan, who worked in the dining room, and Shanique Grey, who was a member of the kitchen staff, died after the staff bus they and others who worked the 11:00 pm shift were travelling in collided with a truck at around midnight along the Dunn&rsquo;s River main road. A number of other workers who were injured in the crash were treated at hospital and released.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, Farrah Blake, social relations manager at the hotel, described the atmosphere at the property as &ldquo;sad&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Persons have lost their colleagues so you can just imagine what it is like,&rdquo; she told the Jamaica<br /> <br /> Observer. &ldquo;We just pray for strength at this time.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13455575/242802_69503_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, November 24, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13455577/242802_69503_repro_sld2.jpg 02 2 PHOTO FINISH: X-cellence on show http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/X-cellence-on-show_80759 ATL Autobhan, the ATL Automotive division which handles BMW and MINI marques, hosted specially invited guests to an X-Event held at the site of the prospective showroom on 33 Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Here are a few highlights.<br /> <br /> Photos: Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441635/241563_68146_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 AM 1 A New home for BMW http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/A-New-home-for-BMW_80740 THERE was plenty to celebrate for aficionados of the BMW marque as local dealers, ATL Autobhan, revealed last Saturday that their new home would be at 33 Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew.<br /> <br /> The announcement was made at the venue dubbed X Oasis, at a black-tie function aptly named BMW X-Event.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;BMW owners can soon expect a continuation of the best customer service from the Unbeatable ATL brand,&rdquo; Matthew Cripps, ATL Automotive group general manager, told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> Ground breaking for the new showroom is slated to be in December, and construction is slated to be finished in December 2017. When completed, the building will feature an eight-car showroom, with 15 work bays for servicing, a separate M-Division and a MINI showroom. And since ATL Autobahn &ndash; ATL Automotive BMW and MINI division &ndash; is the regional master dealer for the brands, there will be training facilities for the nine islands under its umbrella. These are Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, St Lucia, Suriname, and Antigua.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This development shows our confidence in the brands and provide them a home that fits as well,&rdquo; said Matthew Stevenson, head of business for BMW and MINI.<br /> <br /> ATL Automotive assumed dealership rights of the brands in February 2016.<br /> <br /> Montegonians, however, will be the first to see what the future of ATL Autobahn has to offer, as a four-car showroom is schedule to be opened in the second city at Bogue this December. Once all is in place, Cripps and Stevenson believes the brand will see new heights. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I see us selling about 1,300 units, including MINI, yearly from here to Jamaica and the Caribbean,&rdquo; said Cripps.<br /> <br /> Along with the showroom, the property will be shared with the first Sandals hotel in the Kingston/St Andrew area.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I love the location. Having the hotel will make it a hub of activity, which can only bode well for business,&rdquo; explained Stevenson.<br /> <br /> At Saturday night&rsquo;s BMW X-Event, all the X models were on show: X1, X3, X4, X5 and X6.<br /> <br /> The following day, however, they went from a static display to their true nature &ndash; ultimate driving machine &ndash; as patrons were allowed to test drive the full range of offering. In addition to the BMWs, a MINI was thrown in the mix for those looking for a bit of Britannia, through a preset route labelled &lsquo;Jamaica&rsquo;s Pike&rsquo;s Peak&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> BMW&rsquo;s current home is 5 Orchard Road in Kingston. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441745/241483_68186_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441748/241483_SLD.jpg 06 2 Small car, big fun http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Small-car--big-fun_80787 On the outside, there is just a hint of what&rsquo;s to be. On the surface, the MINI 5-door looks like its 3-door compatriot. However, after a spin, one will quickly pick up on subtle clues to the car&rsquo;s real personality. Sure, it&rsquo;s not as small as the original, but modern size, conveniences and automotive safety haven&rsquo;t stopped the design from looking as small as possible. The deception is purely visual as the low, narrow body has very short overhangs since the wheels are at the very corners of the chassis.<br /> <br /> Unlike the exterior, the interior, when prepped with the Chili pack options, further hint at the sportiness hiding below the surface of the MINI. Its well-bolstered seats offering driver and passenger support rivalling that of aftermarket buckets seats. Leather trim is dotted about and cannot be missed on the steering wheel that fits nimbly into hand. Gauges are crystal clear, and the infotainment system, designed to mimic the original&rsquo;s iconic circular speedometer is easily controlled from a rotary knob and steering-mounted buttons.<br /> <br /> Fire up the engine and there are three modes to choose from, as indicated by a cool glowing light around the multimedia system. GREEN mode means the MINI is your money miser friend, saving gas with gradual acceleration and start/stop. MID is for everyday use. Switch the car into SPORT and in an instant one knows where their starting price of $6.1 million has gone. <br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s here that the MINI Cooper earns it&rsquo;s bread and butter as the turbocharged 1.5-litre engine comes alive, rocketing the chassis forward, whether it be a long straight or from corner to corner with ease. On paper, the 136bhp doesn&rsquo;t seem like much, but the six-speed transmission shifts invisibly, allowing one to ride the massive 162 lb/ft of torque.<br /> <br /> The playfulness continues in the sharp steering that responds with near telepathy, brakes that bring the MINI to a halt on demand and a traction control that isn&rsquo;t evasive enough to kill the driving fun, but still adds to an amazingly balanced ride.<br /> <br /> Stepping out of the MINI and looking back at it, one can easily feel the fun factor that made its ancestor not only a hit on the street, but a giant-killer in motorsport competition. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441619/241601_68179_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 AM 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441725/241601_ld.jpg Thrilling to the last sec http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Thrilling-to-the-last-sec_80789 With pent-up demand for the sport, Supligen Drag Challenge #4 &mdash;hosted by the National Drag Racing Circuit (NDRC) last Sunday at Vernamfield in Clarendon &mdash; was action-packed to the very last race.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The NDRC was happy to have a smooth efficient flow on race day, which saw eliminations starting exactly on time at 2:00 pm and finishing before schedule. Overall, a very good race meet,&rdquo; Stephen Gunter, NRDC executive member, told<br /> <br /> Auto.<br /> <br /> With 165 racers on show, there was virtually non-stop drag racing as many of the classes were oversubscribed further leading to some several heart-stopping moments as the large crowd waited on baited breath for the race results to pop-up on the timing display. Through eliminations, victory was only gained by narrow margins as drivers tried not to break out of their brackets since the cooler afternoon temperatures meant the cars were faster than in the morning heat for qualifying. Other competitors were pushed to the edge sacrificing their vehicles&rsquo; mechanical health to gain precious milliseconds to win.<br /> <br /> While the faster classes lacked the numbers, it was more than offset by the expectations of the likes of Nick Manley and his Toyota Supra, and the LueBoyz running two cars out of their camp, the Top 1 Oil Toyota Corolla and Craig Lue&rsquo;s own personal R35 Nissan GT-R. The two would come to define the meet as the other contender, the Ford Mustang of Adrian McLymont, was unable to make a full run due to mechanical issues. After taking to the line for championship points and then retiring, it was the unthinkable outcome as the two LueBoyz cars lined up side by side as both &mdash;the Corolla, a full-fledged race car, and the Nissan, a modified street car, had put in 8-second quarter mile passes earlier in the day.<br /> <br /> Their first head-to-head was the very description of anticipation as when they crossed the line, no numbers were to be seen by the crowd.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Mystic Mountain 8 final suffered from a timing system error: The system reported no quarter mile, elapsed time or MPH for either lane. All other timing data was intact, except for the finish line date. In that circumstance, the NDRC asked the finalist to rerun the race, to which they both agreed,&rdquo; Gunter explained.<br /> <br /> After the first race, the moral victory could have been given to Lue&rsquo;s Nissan as it crossed the line first, as the Corolla struggled to stay in a straight line. For the second, the situation was reversed as the Corolla, with a better grasp of its traction limits, made an 8.620 second pass to the GT-R&rsquo;s 9.980 quarter-mile run.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Rory Daley<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441730/241573_68090_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Road users urged to be wary of &lsquo;bad spots&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Road-users-urged-to-be-wary-of--bad-spots-_80840 THE National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the Police Traffic Division are cautioning road users to to be wary of bad spots on the island&rsquo;s thoroughfares as Jamaica prepares to join the world in observing World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday.<br /> <br /> Up until yesterday, the country had recorded a total of 335 road fatalities for the year. This compares to 330 for the same time period last year, and 278 in 2014.<br /> <br /> At the top of the list of &lsquo;bad spots&rsquo; are the Llandovery Main Road in St Ann; Brunswick Avenue, and Dyke Road in St Catherine; and Spanish Town Road, St Andrew. The Llandovery Main Road in St Ann, which stretches from Priory to Montego Bay, has had five collisions since January 1, resulting in 15 deaths.<br /> <br /> Known as the &lsquo;Elegant Corridor&rsquo; the roadway has instances of wide roads which suddenly lead to narrow bridges, as well as un-elevated markings to depict medians, so motorists overtake to the far right, posing a problem.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have been doing some significant work along this corridor, carrying out numerous operations,&rdquo; said Senior Superintendent Courtney Coubrie, acting head of the Police Traffic Division. &ldquo;I led an operation recently with my team of deputy superintendents in charge of operations, traffic personnel, examiners and certifying officers from Kingston, as we went and supported the St Ann police traffic division. We had several road policing activities, with both overt and covert operations, and issued 312 tickets, ranging from speeding to not wearing seatbelts to faulty vehicles.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> A high-traffic area with many pedestrians, Brunswick Avenue in Spanish Town, St Catherine had five collisions and six deaths. Spanish Town Road, which facilitates a high volume of traffic to and from downtown Kingston, registered four collisions and six deaths. Coubrie said Dyke Road, Portmore, also a high-volume traffic area, had five fatalities from two crashes. The roadway, which is used by those travelling from the Portmore toll to the Vineyard toll, and to access several key communities in Portmore, has proven to be problematic.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Dyke Road has no soft shoulder, just a lane in either direction, so when persons are driving along that corridor they have to be careful. Their judgment and everything has to be spot on. They have to do less overtaking because once you&rsquo;re faced by the oncoming vehicle and you&rsquo;re not able to move, you can face serious consequences,&rdquo; said Coubrie.<br /> <br /> Nonetheless, there are encouraging results over the time period, as rigorous policing has decreased incidents on thoroughfares including Hayes Main Road and Osbourne Store Main Road in Clarendon and the Bustamante Highway, which are known for crashes and fatalities. Additionally, motorcycle driver fatalities have significantly decreased due to the collaborative intervention of road safety interest groups.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will continue to monitor key roadways across the island to reduce breaches of the Road Traffic Act, and prosecute those who fail to comply,&rdquo; said Coubrie.<br /> <br /> Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman of the NRSC, has expressed that road crashes are not inevitable. &ldquo;Road crashes can and must be prevented. We must find the will to overcome the indiscipline that is causing the loss of our family members and fellow Jamaicans,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We must pay attention to the many warning signs indicating crash-prone spots across the island, erected by the Jamaica National General Insurance Company. They are reminders to motorists to drive safely.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Paula Fletcher, executive director of the NRSC, concurred, adding that motorists should think about what they can do to make the nation&rsquo;s roads safer for everyone. &ldquo;When there is a crash it puts a strain on a family, leaves a void that will never be filled, and costs the country millions annually to deal with the results. Be patient, obey the speed limit and road signs and signals, use safety devices, do not use the cell phone while driving, and even when walking, don&rsquo;t drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We can and must do better to ensure our safety and the safety of others.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people worldwide are added to the countless millions already suffering as the result of road crashes. World Day of Remembrance for World Traffic Victims provides a day of remembering those killed or injured on roads across the globe, as well as their families and communities, and to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals who deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury daily. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13303628/230020__w300.jpg Local News Friday, November 18, 2016 3:00 AM 4