50 years of RaeFriday, October 26, 2018
BY RORY DALEY
On October 15, National Heroes' Day, at the Jamaica Race Driver's Club (JRDC) Heroes of Speed race meet at Dover Raceway, St Ann, veteran racer Peter Rae celebrated of 50 years in motorsport.
“The feedback from the fans was amazing, very moving. The amount of people that came over made me realise the fan base that I have. At the end of my lap my daughter put her head through the window and we both started crying,” Rae said.
The iconic 'Zoom-Zoom' black Mazda RX7 racing car associated with Rae over his career completed a lap of honour at the event. However, his story starts half a century before. Rae said he began young due to his father, who was already steeped in motorsport from his time in the United Kingdom.
“My father used to do what's called scramble there, which is best described as motocross.”
To the keep the young Rae away from the potential hazards of youth, his father introduced him to the wonderful world of competition on two and four wheels, with a go-kart and eventually motorbikes. After a stint overseas, he returned to local karting and eventually made his debut at Dover in 1989.
“I started circuit racing with my brother's street car, a MINI.”
With Rae as driver and his brother as mechanic, the two formed a family race team. His father supplied encouragement and the go-fast parts via his automotive performance business. In 1992, a new full racing car — another MINI eventually christened the “Pocket Rocket” — was acquired from Trinidad & Tobago to start the legend Rae would become. The MINI is only a small part of a list of racing cars he's owned as it was followed by a Toyota Starlet GT Turbo, nicknamed the “Starlet on Steroids”, a single seater; and two Mazda RX7s including his current machine. Having raced for half a century now and competed internationally, it's still his first true racing car, the MINI, that has his heart.
“That MINI was my favourite given all the memories I've had with it,” Rae explained.
Other career markers include winning the Cayman's International Motor Racing event twice; first in 1997 and then again two years later in the Toyota Starlet GT Turbo. While he has made his name on four wheels, he still loves motorcross.
Rae isn't sure about the next 50 years at the track; however, he does intend to put more effort into making his Peter Rae Motorsports Park a reality and help with road safety.
“It would be a place where people can come and satisfy their need for speed rather than the public roads.”
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