Driven by love and passion

Observer writer

Friday, February 14, 2020

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CALL it a match made in motor vehicle heaven. In June, Kenito and Jodianne Murdock will celebrate a decade of love, partly by their mutual love of speed. The pair is a common sight at JamWest Speedway in Little London, Westmoreland, where they compete in the Drag Rival series.

“We both had an interest in cars from a young age,” Jodianne told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Kenito's interest in racing was spurned by his father, with routine visits to Dover Raceway in St Ann. These visits heightened his aspirations to get behind the wheel. For Jodianne, it was a similar story, attending race meets.

They passed each other along the corridors in high school. However, a mutual friend's introduction during their first year at Brown's Town Community College in St Ann, was all it took.

“We officially met each other in 2001 after five years of admiring each other. I told a high school friend that he would one day become my husband,” Jodianne laughed.

It took them awhile before motor vehicles came in the picture, but once they did, there was no turning back.

“We didn't own cars until a few years before we got married. His first car was a 1985 VW Jetta while attending school in the United States before selling that to buy a 1997 Honda Accord Coupe. When he moved back to Jamaica after his studies, he bought a 1998 Subuaru Impreza STI.”

Kenito purchased a 1998 Honda Civic EK hatchback to add to his fleet. It would eventually come into play on their wedding day in 2010, being a part of the bride-and-groom photo session.

“It was my idea to use the car as part of the bridal shoot,” said Jodianne. “We had a trash-the-dress photo shoot the day after the wedding and I wanted a few shots that included things we loved; and the car was one of them.”

Her journey in the motor vehicle arena was a bit more modest with a 2008 Suzuki Swift.

Getting serious about motorsports was the next move as two years before tying the knot, Kenito had begun competing in the Super Street class at Dover Raceway. Having won a few circuit races, he dipped his toes into drag racing, eventually committing fully to the motorsports genre. The Civic and Subaru were sold for a newer Civic, a 2002 Si EP3 model.

However, it was Jodianne who got the major upgrade. The Suzuki made a swift exit, and was replaced by a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, that's 291bhp from a 2-litre turbocharged engine, driving all four wheels allowing her to rocket to 60mph in 4.7 seconds, the perfect ride for Jodianne and her busy event planner schedule.

“I also aspired to be a racer one day and this dream came to reality with the help of my husband,” she said.

With so much performance under her right foot every day, the story couldn't stop there and Jodianne soon joined her husband down the quarter mile. She credits her own love of cars in helping to keep their marriage on track, so to speak.

“It is very helpful that we have similar interests in motorsports as Kenito spends a lot of time at the garage with his car. Though this cuts into our time together, I do support his efforts in upgrading the performance of the car for future race meets. I can't say it would be easy to understand had I not been interested in racing as well,” she added.

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