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High marks for young stars

By Rory Daley Observer writer daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 11, 2014    

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IT was high marks from United Kingdom trainers Colin and Helen Elstrop for all 12 drivers who completed the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Young Driver Training Programme that ran from July 4 to 6.

The three-day programme saw the participants engaged in theoretical courses at Spanish Court Hotel, St Andrew, and practical exercises at the Palisadoes International Raceway in Kingston.

"They all showed good potential for development in the future," Helen Elstrop told Auto.

Her husband and co-trainer Colin concurred.

"There was a lot of willingness to learn and improve," he added.

The programme is part of the FIA, the world motorsports governing body, global efforts to raise the standard of the sport. The project was facilitated by a combination of an FIA grant totalling approximately US$79,000 and an addition US$22,000 from local sources. Running the programme was Marcia Dawes, Women in Motorsports Commission (WMC) National Coordinator and National Sporting Authority (ASN) secretary.

The 12 who received their certificates of completion are Chris-John Addison, Colin Daley Jr, Thomas Issa, Gordon McDowell Jr, Najee Scott, Timony Stewart, Steven Singh, Matthew Williams, and Joshua Sirgany. Female racers Sabrina Sirgany and Samantha Summerbell along with Andre Anderson 2013 Dover Champion also participated. Fraser McConnell and Spencer Whittingham each received an assessment from the instructors.

"The training is designed towards making drivers think in and out of the car, as well as the option available to them," Helen explained.

In the classroom, drivers were taught from the basics of racing, to personal development and safety. On the track, elements like car control, braking, and the racing line were passed on to them.

"We adapt the practical sessions on a one-on-one basis due to varying skill levels," Helen said.

While pleased with the skill level displayed by such a wide-cross section of Jamaican drivers, in both age and competitor genres, the Elstrops were impressed with the high passion all displayed.

"Passion or spirit is the first big factor towards motorsports success. The sport also seems to be very family-oriented with parents showing commitment to each child's future career," Daley said.

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