CIRCUIT racing fans have reason to celebrate this Easter Monday, April 18, when motorsports returns to Dover Raceway in St Ann. The event, ‘Radical Invasion’, is being hosted by the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC).
“We are elated. You can imagine after two and half years how eager we are to move forward. As the chairman, I’m looking forward to hosting my first meet and am very happy. The fans are ready, the racers are ready. We’re getting ourselves prepared to put on a good and exciting event,” Junior Barnes, JRDC chairman, told the Jamaica Observer’s weekly Auto magazine.
His words were echoed by Douglas “Hollywood” Gore, JRDC marketing director.
“We the executives are ecstatic that we are able to actually hold this meet. It’s been a long time overdue,” Gore said.
Racing returns to the St Ann circuit after all local motorsports were halted by the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club, the local governing motorsports body, on March 12, 2020 due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Only karting was able to continue after meeting guidelines set by the Ministry of Health in 2021. With the recent lifting of the COVID-19 protocols on March 18 by the Government of Jamaica, Gore explained how it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I really do believe that if we took any longer we would have to close motorsports for a very long time,” Gore said.
During the lockdown the JRDC faced significant financial challenges and was rescued by a donation of $2,000,000 from Richard Lee, CEO of Miracle Corporation Ltd, last year. Now with racing restarting the JRDC hopes to complete a full six-meet season and reset the club on a path to financial health.
“We would like to fulfil all our goals of having six race meets. Dover will host four and JamWest two. All dates are provisional right now,” said Gore.
While Government-mandated COVID-19 protocols may been removed, the JRDC is still aware of the safety concerns of its patrons.
“The JRDC will still have sanitation stations around, and we will be making sure that we have portable toilets throughout the grounds to make sure there is no congested areas anywhere. We’re also going to make sure that the food stalls are all sanitised in advance. We have even gone to the point of clearing of all the old tyres and garbage surrounding the Dover track that would generate mosquitoes, etc,” Gore explained.
During the lockdown the JRDC didn’t let the circuit fall into disrepair, as Barnes led regular upkeep of the grounds. Because of this, Gore was able to say that the race track and its surroundings are in good condition, with support areas like the bathrooms restored to as good as new.
With their last event in 2019, Gore says the competitive rule structure will remain the same. Qualifying and racing will be done on the same day with three races from each of the following classes: Motorbikes, Street, Improved Production, Modified Production, and Thundersport.
“Everybody’s getting their car ready. I know it’s very quick, we only have four weeks to go, but I think we’re going to have both a bumper crowd and a huge amount of racers present,” said Gore.