Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Street end gives rally spectators treat

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel cook

Most of the 2015 Jamaica Rally, run over Saturday and Sunday two weekends ago, took place in muddy fields and rough roads in St Catherine. However, the now standard end in downtown Kingston offered spectators close-up views of the cars as they took two runs each over the course.

With right-angled corners, at least one hairpin turn and shallower corners going and coming past the main cluster of spectators on the waterfront, then a two long straights which afforded strong acceleration, it was a motor sport enthusiast's delight.

The sights were enhanced by the sounds of the engines, echoing from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) building at the starting line for the timed runs, the compression - most often with backfire - amplified by another side of the BOJ after the vehicles took the first left hand corner.

And the engine sounds played a role in communication between the starter and individual drivers, as there was a minute to beginning the course, as well as 30 seconds, were spoken, but as the engines revved hand signals were used to indicate the final few seconds before each vehicle launched out with a screech of tires.

A hairpin turn at the intersection where the BOJ, BNS and Jamaica Conference Centre are on three sides of the vehicles, with the waterfront on the other, was a highlight of the course, with about three vehicles negotiating it at a pace and smoothness which ignited cheers among the spectators.

The second go round of the course was a fun run for the spectators, many of the drivers using the grand finale of the rally as a chance to burn rubber, spinning the cars and powering their way through the course at will, reversing direction and making daring, unexpected darts that delighted the spectators before it all ended and they drifted away.