'Offroading' off the chainFriday, August 13, 2021
BY RORY DALEY
TROY Bernard, organiser of Offroading on the Farm, was very happy with the event held last weekend at Brighton River in St Elizabeth last weekend.
“It was a good level of competition today. We saw different brands of vehicles coming out, exhibiting their skills,” he told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine.
For the first time in its three-year history, Offroading on the Farm was a two-day event, with the competition aspect taking place on Saturday, August 7, and patrons able to camp out for the remaining weekend. Bernard said the overall feedback from everyone was that they had fun. He thanked local law enforcement and the Ministry of Health (MOH) for its part in allowing the event to take place and making it safe for patrons.
“It's so good to see how much the parties involved are trying to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The MOH came here last night to do fogging, they were here throughout the day ensuring that everyone wears their masks, ensuring that we do social distancing,” he said.
There were only seven competitors who took part in the full competition, but the variety of entrants and intense level of competition between them was more than enough to keep everyone in attendance fully engaged. Otherwise, individual drivers were free to tackle the various challenges outside of the main event. The addition of the variable weather conditions added further difficulty to the obstacle course.
“The challenges only got better. They were the same challenges as previous stagings, but the rain made it so much more fun,” explained Bernard.
The off-road competition began late in the evening, but the tight-knit field had spectators guessing on an eventual winner. All competitors were driving factory stock- or lightly-modified vehicles.
Rally driver Joel Jackson was an early favourite in his Australian-sourced Nissan Navara, having shown his off-roading aptitude when tackling the individual obstacles. For the main event, a course comprised o several of the challenges was strung together for a timed run, it was Sebastian Gordon who emerged the winner. Driving the largest vehicle in the group, his modified Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, he made light work of the course containing the Mud Bog, Mud Pit and the Elephant Steps, posting a time of one minute and forty-five seconds. Closest in second was Roshan Graham in his Land Rover Defender pickup.
After putting on the first Offroading on the Farm for 2021 and the first since 2019, Bernard is hopeful that the pandemic will subside enough to lift restrictions to allow him to plan the next event.
“We are waiting on the restrictions to get freer because people are still scared of what is out there, so we have to just wait and see.”
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