A match made in racing heaven

Observer writer

Friday, April 27, 2018

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THE weekend of May 12 and 13 will see the Jamaica Race Drivers' Club (JRDC) combining its efforts with the operators of Jamwest Speedway in Negril for the staging of the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at the venue.

The announcement was made at a media launch at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.

“Jamwest reached out to us, but we also reached out to them. It makes no sense that we're on this small island and we're at odds. We need to come together [and] join our forces. We have our technical expertise, they have their resources,” Monique Gibbs, president — JRDC, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

An issue between the entities occurred when both announced events for May 2018 within a week of each other. This saw a sharp drop off in local interest as many of the top names in Jamaican circuit racing opted to forgo the CMRC event as it offered no points towards the JRDC championship. Given the international theme of the CMRC, the lack of local racers was having an effect on the Jamwest event.

“The people from that end of the Caribbean love Jamwest. They all want to race there, but they find it hard to spend the money to come if they're not racing against Jamaicans,” Silbourne Clarke, local CMRC representative, explained.

The combination now sees the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship supporting both CMRC and JDRC races for a total of 18. Drivers who qualify for either can participate, as the organisers have spaced the races out in manner to allow them to make the changes to their vehicles in order to be eligible to compete. While no number has been given for those driving for team Jamaica, 20 local riders have already made their participation known. Andel Griffiths, vice-president, sales & marketing — Jamwest Speedway, expects 25 overseas drivers and riders.

“This can only make motorsport better for Jamaicans. We've united and we'll be working together for now on to bring the best quality motor racing to the Jamaican public,” said Griffiths.

Jamwest Speedway has made several upgrades in order to host the meet, starting with a new electronic timing system and start lights which will replace the traditional flag starts. The CMRC itself sees two new groups added — group one featuring a one-make series using BMW 318ti race cars, and group five, for vehicles that can't make the weight requirements for the other three classes.

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