RUBIS in the Rally
Larry Henriques, organiser of the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club Rally Jamaica 2015, which takes place next weekend, announced a highly competitive field of drivers at Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG), Spanish Town Road, St Andrew, on Thursday morning.
He said that for the 24th staging of Rally Jamaica there will be a number of past winners, such as John Powell, Richard Rerrie, Doug Gore, Gary Gregg and Jeffrey Panton.
It was Panton who was the main focus on Thursday, as RUBiS Energy Jamaica Limited officially announced its sponsorship of the outstanding driver.
In welcoming all who attended the sponsorship announcement Dave Morrison, RUBiS Energy Jamaica's chief financial officer, said the company and Panton shared particular qualities and objectives. "RUBiS has always been associated with quality, fair play and being number one," Morrison said. When Raymond Samuels, head of retail at the fuel providers, officially announced the sponsorship, he also pointed out the company's longstanding association with motor sport in Jamaica and the region. The support goes both ways, as Samuels thanked the Panton team for supporting RUBiS' Ultra Tec fuel
"RUBiS has taken a very keen interest in the development of motor sport in Jamaica and the Caribbean," Samuels said. In that vein, he said, "We are pleased to announce our sponsorship of Jeffrey Panton for Rally Jamaica 2015", noting that they had teamed up for Rally Barbados earlier this year. Panton and his teammate Mike Fennell won.
"They display our Jamaican flag with pride on their car," Samuels said.
Naturally, there are high hopes that Panton will be victorious when Rally Jamaica 2015 ends in downtown Kingston next week Sunday. "We are looking forward to an exciting event. We would really like to see a Panton victory. What is most important, though, is for you to finish the race safely," Samuels said.
In accepting the RUBiS Energy Jamaica Limited sponsorship, Panton connected his business, KIG, with his racing pursuits. "I am proud to represent these brands in business and on the track," he said. Ford and Subaru are among the motor vehicle brands KIG represents in the country and Panton pointed out that there will be seven entrants in Rally Jamaica setting out next Friday with either Ford or Subaru markings.
Thanking his sponsors, Panton said "I appreciate the opportunity to once more take the RUBiS brand across the finish line, and I hope the chequered flag will be waving."
Natalie Neita-Headley, minister with responsibility for sports in the Office of the Prime Minister, also has a dual connection with Rally Jamaica, as much of the action will be in the constituency of North Central St Catherine which she represents. Sports took precedence on Thursday, with Neita-Headley saying that she sees the sponsorship arrangement as not only supporting an individual driver, but the entire rally and sports tourism in the country.
There was laughter when Neita-Headley spoke about the opportunity "to view the fast cars and the good-looking drivers", remarking that every man and woman in Jamaica believes they are a race-car driver.
Complimenting RUBIS and Panton on the partnership, Neita-Headley said "your success proves what can be achieved with experience and maturity, supported by the right sponsors".
Henriques gave an overview of the rally, for which the 17 Jamaica entries are more than last year's total number of entrants. There is a strong overseas presence among the 27 entrants for Rallly Jamaica 2015, including French, Barbadian and Trinidadian presence, along with five from a region which includes Mexico and the US.
Of the 22 stages in Rally Jamaica 2015, 20 will be run in the fields of Trade Winds Citrus, St Catherine.