Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Toll rise, racing rush, Dover lockout

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2016 | 1:00 AM
File A pedal cyclist making his way across the busy Portmore Toll road on Saturday July 4, 2015. The newest toll prices are posted on the sign.
File The all-new Audi Q7 on the red carpet outside the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, Panama City, Panama.
1
2

 

July

5: While the manual transmission (commonly called stick shift) is a rarity on vehicles currently being imported into the island, save for some pick-ups, two driving schools maintain that learning to change the gears is still relevant to the learning process.

Alphonso Grennell, managing director of Grennell's Driving School, pointed out that many heavy-duty vehicles are still manual. "There is still a good amount of vehicles with manual transmission, especially if you work in a technical field, for example in the telecoms sector," the defensive and security driving instructor, said.

12: As the urbanised area of St Andrew continues its inexorable spread westwards, living in houses that are most easily accessed by using Highway 2000 has got more expensive. This not solely due to the inevitable rise in rental prices, as even those who have locked into the fixed payment of a mortgage have found it increasingly costly just to get home because of toll increases.

Among the earlier developments to the west of Kingston were Magil Palms, the Vineyards and Inswood. Over time have come the Aviary, Seville Meadows, Whitewater Meadows, New Harbour Village I, New Harbour Village II and Presidential Estate.

19: Contestants in the 2015 Miss Jamaica World competition headed to the Texaco service station at Mar Brown's Corner at the intersection of Constant Spring and Manning's Hill roads in St Andrew. There, as one of the talent competitions in this year's staging of the beauty contest, they took part in the GB Group/Texaco Tyre Change Competition.

26: With back-to-back weekends of racing, motor sport aficianodos will not be short of their rush of choice in the immediate pre-holiday and holiday period.

On Sunday, July 26, the action was at Vernamfield in Clarendon, where the drag racers will hurtle down the track two at a time in an effort to record their fastest time in the different time brackets. The

following week, the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) will host its annual Emancipation Day race meet at the JamWest in Westmoreland - a departure from the accustomed Dover Raceway, St Ann, venue.

 

August

2: The anticipation is intense for the thousands of diehard circuit racing fans who have been waiting for the return of Doug Gore and his Audi TT to take on all comers. It happens at today's Emancipation of Speed race meet. The farming community of Old Hope, Westmoreland, is expected to buzz with non-stop excitement as the 1.8-mile long track has attracted some of the country's top circuit racing drivers.

9: A 'No Trespassing' sign has been placed on the gate that leads to the entrances of Dover Raceway, St Ann. It is a clear indication that circuit racing at the island's renowned motor sport facility has been suspended until further notice.

Automotives has been told that the issue of the rental and sale of the more than 60-acre property has resurfaced, this time resulting in the trustee in bankruptcy affixing the sign to the entrances due to the non-payment of outstanding fees.

16: A tentative agreement has been reached for circuit racing to return to the 1.7-mile-long track at Dover Raceway in St Ann. The arrangement was made following a meeting between the top brass of the Jamaica Race Drivers' Club (JRDC) and the trustee in bankruptcy for the property, who recently affixed a 'No Trespassing' sign at the entrance of the 43-acre property.

"I met with the trustee in bankruptcy on Monday, so once we honour this agreement, there will be racing at Dover," JRDC President Charles Chen told Automotives.

23: Although the recent shortage in private motor vehicle plates has been rectified by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), the organisation is unable to say what led to the unexpected excess demand which led to the situation.

Leighton Beckles, communication officer, told Automotives that the TAJ was unable to pinpoint a factor leading to the shortage. However, he indicated that there was something taking place in the local car industry when quizzed if the overwhelming demand for licence plates were linked to an increase in new vehicle acquisitions.

30: John Urquhart, who owns a 1999 Hyundai Accent and wanted cool features on his car, was not prepared to go buying another vehicle. Urquhart found the Easy Car system on Amazon and says the system has "basically makes my car a smart car."

Urquhart says "it has push-button, keyless entry. When you go up to the car it opens automatically without me pressing anything. It has other little functions where you can press something on the fob to wind down the windows, open the trunk, those kinds of things."

 

September

6: The conspicuously branded Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) Chauffeur Services vehicles were present at a number of entertainment events held over the 'Emancipendence' holiday period, shuttling partygoers to and from events.

For those who hoped to attend the events and indulge in alcohol or were just too tired to drive, the JAA Chauffeur Services were an option both for shuttling to event locations as well as for the long journey from Kingston to Negril or St Ann, where numerous parties were held.

13: There was a 2016 Q7 just inside the entrance, four on the showroom floor, and for good measure, one upstairs at the Audi Santa Maria dealership, Panama City, Panama, as the fully redesigned large luxury SUV was introduced to journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean

Maria Maestro, marketing and communications manager for Audi, Latin America and the Caribbean, beamed confidence through her welcome, saying, "2016 marks the beginning of an era." And Martin Sander, Audi's vice-president of sales, Americas, continued the emphasis on the vehicle's newness, saying "everything about the new Audi Q7 is new".

20: According to Lynvalle Hamilton of Auto Channel and president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers' Association, "when a car is discontinued it doesn't mean that the parts are not manufactured anymore. It's really not an issue in most cases. Normally, the companies that make the cars are not usually the parts manufacturers. So once they (parts manufacturers) know that the cars exist, then parts will be available."

27: The state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) announced that it will be selling 60 of its scrapped buses to scrap-metal dealers. The sale is would provide some much-needed revenue for the cash-strapped entity.

However, according to JUTC Marketing Manager Clinton Clarke, they are unable to say just how much money will be realised from these sales. "This is something we ask people to come in and bid on, so I wouldn't be able to tell you how much money we are going to realise from it. We are not even sure if the people are going to come and buy them," he said.