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Drag racing Heads North

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer

Friday, April 20, 2018

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DRAG racing organisers say this year's staging, which begins on Sunday, May 27, will be at a totally new venue — the Ken Jones Aerodrome in St Margaret's Bay, Portland.

The announcement was made at its annual awards ceremony held at the Waterfalls in St Andrew last Saturday.

According to Stephen Gunter, NDRC executive member, development plans are in high gear for the sport's old haunt of Vernamfield in Clarendon.

“The Ministry of Transport Works & Housing has accelerated their development plan for Vernamfield. Up until January of 2018, the NDRC enjoyed an agreement for the use of Vernamfield for 2018. On the first of February we were asked to attend a meeting and we were informed of the acceleration of the plans for Vernamfield, and that's why we have found a new home courtesy of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, which also falls under the ministry. So we're going to be racing in Portland,” Gunter told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

The Ken Jones Aerodrome is located 10km west of Port Antonio. It boasts an almost 4,000ft-long runway and serves the northeast section of the island.

“The entire 2018 season will be at St Margaret's Bay,” said Gunter.

The NDRC executive member said the venue change will have significant benefits to the club, competitors, and spectators alike.

“We anticipate a better racing surface. The surface itself is absolutely smooth, absolutely level. There are no imperfections in the surface whatsoever. Once we treat it with our traction compound — and the entire track will be treated, the full quarter-mile – we anticipate that the times at the very least will be equal to what we used to enjoy at our old facility. We anticipate some serious records being set down in St Margaret's Bay,” he said.

“Ken Jones Aerodrome offers a unique experience in the viewing, because everything is much more compact than it was at Vernamfield and the layout lends itself to the spectators being a more integral part of the pit area — interacting with the drivers, while still being able to watch the racing.”

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