Heather Eaton is new JKA head
HEATHER Eaton is the first female president of the 52-year-old Jamaica Karting Association (JKA). She was elected after the group's annual general meeting held at the Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew on January 11.
"Once I heard my name called for nomination, no wasn't an option," Eaton told Auto.
Eaton succeeds Neil Williams as head of the association which organises and oversees the go-kart calendar of events in Jamaica.
Now at the sport's top tier, Eaton has big plans, but wants to start with the simple elements.
"I feel the sport is right on that cusp of entering the mainstream consciousness, and the JKA just needs to push a bit more to get it there," she said.
Eaton, who joined the club nine years ago, has already set out a set of short and long-term goals.
For this year, the newly elected president plans to use her skills to increase the ability of the JKA to run meets on time. She will also try to expand karting's local image.
"It's unfortunate that many of our karters have to go overseas for recognition of their talents. We know Jamaicans love motorsports but just aren't aware that karting is still around," she said.
Eaton also plans to maximise the use of the Palisadoes International Raceway, JKA's official track, by forming alliances with other motorsports entities.
"In the long term, I would love to see a national karting team," she said.
The mother of four has held the position of JKA secretary and can be seen on race day actively wrangling the drivers to the race grid.
On the occasional weekend, she is also at the track working with husband, Guy, to train the Comer50 entrants.
She makes no bones that despite the extra responsibility, she has the full support of her family.
The remaining executives comprise Marcia Dawes, Jamaica's representative for the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) women in motorsports council. The FIA is the world governing body for Motorsports.
"I think it [Eaton's appointment] opens the door for the sport to grow from a different perspective, and it's an opportunity for women to lead from the front," Dawes told Auto.
With regard to FIA support, Dawes figures that once Eaton's plans are finalised, assistance needed to make them materialise would be forthcoming.
Neil Williams, vice president; Debra Gore, treasurer; and Danah Chisholm, club secretary, complete the executive body.