Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Protest bumps Rally Jamaica awards

Published:Wednesday | December 10, 2014 | 12:00 AMDania Bogle
Contributed by Rally Jamaica Olympic and World Championship gold medallist, Usain Bolt (left), celebrates with Kyle Gregg, shortly after the Rally Jamaica 2014 event concluded in Bog Walk, St Catherine.
Joel Jackson
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More than two weeks after the conclusion of the Rally Jamaica 2014 motorsport contest, a winner is yet to be decided.

Kyle Gregg was assumed the de facto winner of Rally based on points accumulated over the two-day competition on November 22 and 23 in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

However, when persons showed up for the awards ceremony at Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston a few days later, they were greeted with the announcement that the result was under protest from Jetcon Racing, which was represented in the competition by driver Joel Jackson.

Jackson led the rally for more than a day and a half and, based on points, assumed he was the winner.

However, Gregg, who suffered car failure throughout the event and did not complete all 10 stages on the first day of driving, was later declared eligible to complete the race after having stopped at one point to address mechanical problems.

The rules allowed Gregg to record a time which, when collated, saw him beat Jackson to the title.

Team principal for Jetcon Racing, Andrew Jackson, told The Gleaner that the protest was lodged because the rule change that allowed Gregg to record a time despite not having finished a stage was introduced only a few days before the competition.

"Essentially, what happened is that it allowed for a driver to miss a stage and a change, which allowed the driver who missed a stage a time and better times than persons who drove to get it," Jackson explained.

"We had a problem with the changes and the way it [sic] was introduced. We are contesting that the correct prescription should be applied and we're also contesting that the rule was a bad rule applied much too late and resulted in discriminatory scoring, allowing a driver who didn't run to get a better time than those who ran and completed," he said.

Team Jackson's protest was initially thrown out, but they later lodged an appeal. The hearing was held last Wednesday and the parties are awaiting a ruling.

Rally Jamaica coordinator, Laurence Henriques, told The Gleaner that the appeals committee has 30 days within which to make a judgment.

"They had until 12 o'clock the day of the event to put in a protest. The protest was dealt with and they (Jackson) decided that they were going to appeal, but the appeal didn't reach us until six o'clock in the afternoon. Once the competitions subcommittee decides where the appeal has merit, then they appoint an appeals panel. The appeal was heard and they have 30 days to come up with a judgment.

"He has a right to protest," Henriques said, adding that the cancelled awards ceremony was costly.

"I don't have the money to do it for myself. I already wasted $100,000 for an awards ceremony that didn't come off," he said.