Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Safety first at Track Days - Dover sessions to continue in 2015

Published:Sunday | December 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Duane Ellis (left), general manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), speaks with Charles Chen, president of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC), during the third JAA/JRDC Open Track Day, held at the Dover Raceway in St Ann on Sunday, September 21. - Contributed
Track Day participants receive final instructions before commencing the on-track segment of the day. - Contributed
Martin-Peter Moses, a participant in a JAA/JRDC Open Track Day, lines up to drive on the Dover Raceway in St Ann. - Contributed

The popular advisory, 'Don't Race on the Road, Race at Dover', is now a tangible an option for persons who are not professional race car drivers. And if the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) and Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) have their way, even more motorists will get this opportunity.

Through a series of open Track Days organised by the JAA in partnership with the JRDC, which were held at the Dover Raceway in St Ann, in July, August and September, drivers of all ages got a chance to test their skills on the island's preeminent motorway.

Duane Ellis, general manager of the JAA, said, "The Track Days gave our drivers an opportunity to experience driving at higher speeds, learn the dynamics of their vehicles; and understand some of the intricacies of speeding and the risks involved, as well as have a better appreciation of the safety apparatus."

The Track Days were divided into theory and practical segments, in which experienced JRDC drivers provided instructions and tips as to how to manoeuvre on the track to the motorists. This was followed by an inspection of all vehicles and, finally, the on-track racing.

A chance to race

"Driving at higher speeds on the track gives you a chance to realise that non-racing cars are not necessarily built to be driven at high speeds and should not be operated under certain conditions," Ellis pointed out. He added,"It was a great experience, and we encourage drivers to come and take advantage of the opportunity to take their car out on the track and learn how their vehicle can perform."

Charles Chen, president of the JRDC, said the previous Track Days were successful, as they allowed drivers "to enjoy themselves, exercise their cars, while driving at a comfortable pace without breaking any road traffic laws".

During the sessions, participants were also given advice about how to correct their driving mistakes.

Martin-Peter Moses, a participant in the second Track Day, described it as an "invaluable experience". He said, "The instructors were right on point; they knew what they were talking about, and it was definitely worth it for something that was free of charge."

Tanee Green, a JAA member who also participated in the second Track Day, which was held in August, said that the experience served to "get the need for speed out of your system and let everyone know that yes, you can race, but take it to the track where there is a responsible way of doing it".

Ellis pointed out that more drivers will be encouraged to participate in upcoming Track Days that will be staged early in the New Year, as the JAA and the JRDC continue their road-safety awareness initiatives.