Tue | Jan 26, 2021

Rally Jamaica 2020 off

Published:Tuesday | November 24, 2020 | 12:14 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Kyle Gregg and Marcia Dawes in action in their MItsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car during Rally Jamaica 2018.
Kyle Gregg and Marcia Dawes in action in their MItsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car during Rally Jamaica 2018.
HENRIQUES
HENRIQUES
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For the first time in the history of Rally Jamaica, there will be no event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rally Jamaica organiser Larry Henriques confirmed the news with The Gleaner yesterday that the 2020 edition had to be cancelled after the entity failed to get the approval from the governing body, the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC).

Henriques said that he had reached out to the hierarchy of the JMMC requesting an update on talks with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and also the Ministry of Sport, however, he has still not gotten a response.

“I don’t know how the JMMC is treating this situation, because I have not heard anything from them,” he said.

RESTART WAS CONSIDERED

In March, the JMMC halted all sanctioned motorsports events until May because of the pandemic; however, since then, no further word had been forthcoming concerning a restart.

Rally Jamaica coordinator Marcia Dawes also shared in the disappointment of not being able to carry on the tradition of the annual dirt rally, which is the second-longest-running rally in the Caribbean, behind Rally Barbados, which staged its event earlier this month.

“It’s disappointing, and I think the ASN (JMMC) could have done more to engage the Government on how to have events,” Dawes said. “The world governing body, the FIA ( Federation Internationale de l’Automobile ) had issued a guideline, which is what they use for the restart of Formula One and WRC (World Rally Championships), and I don’t think our local governing body tried to present that to help to get some form of a permit from the ministry to allow motorsports events.”

Reigning Rally Jamaica champion Kyle Gregg could not hold back his disappointment, as he and Dawes, his co-driver, were going for the triple championship, having won in 2018 and 2019.

“I am very disappointed because it’s one thing to defend your title, but right now all I want to do is drive,” Gregg said. “We only had one event for the year so far, which I won, and then COVID hit.

“On the flip side, everybody is saving a bit of money now because there are no events and hopefully, everyone will come back bigger and better for next year.”