Monique Gibbs first female JRDC president
Since her teenage years, Monique Gibbs has had a heart of speed and the passion for motorsport. Well known for her loyalty, dedication, and commitment to the sport, the Immaculate Conception High School graduate has been transformed from a drag racer to one of the top motorsport administrators in the island.
In her new role as president of the Jamaica Race Drivers' Club (JRDC) - the first female head of the organisation - Gibbs intends to take circuit racing at the Dover Raceway, St Ann, to another level.
"At first, I was really surprised when they elected me. My immediate response was 'No no, no. I cannot do it'. Then everybody convinced me, saying that I was the best person for the job. We have a very good team and they gave the assurance that they would support me, so I accepted," Gibbs told Automotives.
A highly qualified corporate planner, Gibbs thanks past JRDC presidents such as Hilary Jardine, Christopher 'Teach' McFarlane, and Charles Chen, from whom she learnt a lot.
Topping her agenda is financial stability for circuit racing and strengthening ties with other local motorsport bodies. Gibbs also plans to reach out to and unite the drivers then improve on the product at Dover, making it more comprehensive.
If she has her way, there could be a number of significant changes at Dover. "Chief among my plans this year will be the promotion of road safety. I am encouraging all motorists who want to speed on our roads to come and race at Dover and not on the road. It is for this reason that I will be focusing a lot on the development of our drivers at the entry level. This is one of the main reasons why we reintroduced the Bracket 45 Class," said Gibbs.
Gibbs is no stranger to competitive racing. She developed an appetite for speed after watching her mother, Gloria Gibbs, driving around town in a speedy Mini Cooper. Her brother, Mark, also owned a fast car.
"None of my family members participated in any events, but most of my friends were connected to motorsport in one way or the other," the JRDC president said.
Just about when her racing career seemed about to take off, Gibbs got pregnant in 2007 and had a son. After maternity leave, she performed administrative roles in various capacities until becoming head of the JRDC.