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BMW BOOSTS Bobsledders

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment

Friday, July 03, 2020

MINI — through its parent company BMW — is throwing its weight behind Jamaica's two-man bobsleigh team currently in England. The German automaker is providing the unit with a convertible MINI Cooper.

The team comprises Shanwayne Stephens, 29, and Nimroy Turgott, 27.

Due to restrictions brought on by the novel coronavirus, the team has found innovative ways of keeping their 2022 Winter Olympic hopes alive. They push a MINI Cooper through the streets of Peterborough, as they are unable to visit the state-of-the art training facility at Bath University.

Nelson Christian Stokes, chairman of Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, said a representative from BMW reached out to the team nearly six weeks ago.

“BMW approached our athletes and provided a MINI for the team to drive around and, of course, also to push for training. The current arrangement is that they would have it for the season which ends 1st April next year,” he told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

“I am very pleased with the arrangement and happy we were able to do this, and look forward to deepen our relationship with BMW,” he continued.

In Jamaica, the MINI is distributed by ATL Autobahn — a subsidiary of ATL Automotive.

MINI is a British automotive marque founded in 1969, owned by German automotive company BMW since 2000, and used by them for a range of small cars. The MINI Cooper has a 1.5-litre, 3 cylinder, 136-hp/100kW petrol engine, while its diesel counterpart comes with a 1.5-litre, 116-hp/85kW engine.

BMW is no stranger to the bobsleigh arena as the company is developing a two-man bobsled for the German team.

Stokes is hoping the association with blossom into a more wholesome one.

“We're also in discussions with them about other areas. For example, BMW makes the bobsleigh for the US, so we want to talk to them about bobsleigh; we want to talk to them about helmets; and we also want to speak with them about a team vehicle,” said the chairman.

The chairman said the association is a mutually beneficial one, given Jamaica's and its bobsleigh team's global appeal.

“We work very hard so that we have a strong social media presence. So we demonstrate to prospective sponsors why it's beneficial to work with our brand, because the Jamaica bobsleigh brand is already world famous... We have been contacted by a number of other companies by the same mechanism — just having a presence in the market and having a presence on social media, letting people know we are alive and well and remain a very attractive brand,” he said.

Stokes, a founding member of Jamaica's bobsleigh team, has been head of the federation since 1995. Having competed in four Olympics with his brother Dudley, he penned Cool Runnings and Beyond — The Story of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team about his team's debut in 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. The book was the basis of the American comedy film Cool Runnings in 1993, which starred John Candy, Leon Robinson, Doug E Doug, and Malik Yoba.

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