DOVER Raceway’s Independence of Speed race meet, usually held in August, is scheduled for July 29 and in a one-day format.
The date shift and revamped format are a result of the upcoming Olympics Games, Jamaica’s Independence and Emancipation celebrations, and the ATI weekend.
Drivers, motorcyclists and spectators, who have grown accustomed to the two-day race weekend will now have the qualifiers run on the same day as the races.
According to Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) President Marck Carey, this was once the norm at Dover Raceway.
“Up until about three years ago, all the meets were one day. The August meet normally has the lowest crowd turnout, as we have to compete with ATI, etc. This year is even worse with Jamaica 50 and Olympics, so in order not to lose a lot of money from the expected lower crowd, we decided to revert to the one-day format. That way our costs are cut dramatically,” said Carey.
This one-day format has raised questions about the organisers’ ability to hosts the qualifiers and races on the same day, given the 21-race card and the increased number of entrants. But the president assured that things will run smoothly and added that spectators will be getting more value for money in the one day format.
“I don’t anticipate any problems. Some competitors will be practising from Friday into Saturday and spectators will be getting more value for money as they will now be able to see the qualifiers as well as the races; we will complete all 21 events for the day,” said Carey.
Another change to the format will be the absence of the live streaming of the races, in part as a means to save revenue as well as to encourage spectators to come out to the race track.
Fans of Douglas ‘Hollywood’ Gore and his Audi TT will not see the famed driver at the July meet, as his Audi is still undergoing repairs in Germany from its collision with Peter ‘Zoom Zoom’ Rae’s Mazda RX7 at the Caribbean Motor Racing Championships (CMRC) meet held in May 2012.
Stefan Chin, who was absent from the CMRC meet, will not be racing in the upcoming July 29 race meet, due in part to concerns with the one-day format. Qualifying begins at 8:15 am, competition begins at 11:05 am, with a scheduled end time of 4:45 pm.
“I’m out of this meet again, I see way too many problems with this one-day format, it will be very stressing to be qualifying and racing on the day. I’m hoping to catch the last meet for the year in October,” said Stefan.
‘King’ David Summerbell Jr will be there making mince meat of the track in his lightened Total-sponsored Evolution 8, and is looking forward to the meet.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming meet, Total Team Summerbell, Andre Anderson, Kyle Gregg and I are leading the Championships in our respective classes so we will be racing,” said Summerbell Jr.
“With the upcoming CMRC second leg in Barbados, we will be playing it safe. We will be missing Doug at this meet but I can’t take Peter Rae for granted, he is right at the front. We’ve lightened the car some more so we will be going faster, but we will still be safe for the CMRC,” added Summerbell.
Peter ‘Zoom Zoom’ Rae plans to continue his performance.
“I got more pace for the last meet and it impressed a lot of people. This meet will see about 30 per cent more pace from me, I have some wider wheels and that is expected to improve my performance,” said Rae.
Adrian Blake was also upbeat about this July’s meet and is excited about the bike riding.
“This will be a very interesting race meet, there is serious rivalry in the motorcycle division. The riders like Dennis Chin-Quee have upgraded their bikes, Halquin “Pugu” Rodney broke his arm at the CMRC meet but he will be there too. I’m leading in the points so I plan to have a good time and hope for the best,” said Blake.