Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Karting event to rev up motorsports restart

Published:Friday | December 4, 2020 | 12:20 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Phillip McCreath (right) avoids being passed by Nathan Sewell in the Micromax race of the Jamaica Karting Association Abe Zaide Memorial race meet at the Palisadoes International Raceway on Sunday, December 1, 2019.
Phillip McCreath (right) avoids being passed by Nathan Sewell in the Micromax race of the Jamaica Karting Association Abe Zaide Memorial race meet at the Palisadoes International Raceway on Sunday, December 1, 2019.

Motorsports is set to have its first official event this year since the pandemic, as the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA) is in line to get the green light from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to resume racing at the Palisadoes Track.

Board member of the JKA, Andrew Upstone, told The Gleaner that the body will be looking to stage its first officially sanctioned meet on the last Sunday in December, after getting the all-clear from the ministry, which recently sent representatives to visit the association’s facility during a one-day workshop.

According to Upstone, the ministry was pleased with the JKA’s health protocols, and the Government is expected to sign off on the permit, which will allow the association to stage an event with up to 100 persons at the facility.

“What we have been trying to do with our workshops is to reinforce the protocols, test it and get the kids to understand that they have to wear their mask and sanitise. We are lucky that the type of sport we have, we are on a six-acre, open-air property, so to be able to socially distance 100 persons is quite easy,” said Upstone.

Over two dozen drivers, pit crew and support staff are expected at the event with races set to take place in the micro-max 50 CC, the mini-max, the junior and the Super Rotax series.

Drivers, who range from as young as five years old, took part in a recent workshop, which was attended by a representative from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, along with veteran motorsports driver Doug Gore, who gave a presentation to the participants on the marketing and social media nuances of the sport.

JKA President Rugie Mesir noted that his association was proactive in reaching out directly to the ministry to get approval, and he is pleased that karting can kick-start the resumption of competitive racing on the island once again.

“We have to keep the kids in practice because we have kids here that race overseas, where they have already started racing since June. The other thing is that when we have events, the entry fees and track usage fees are what we use to pay our rent so we have to get things back up and running quickly,” said Misir.

Some of the island’s top young karters, including Tommi Gore, Beckham Toupikov, Brandon Shor and newcomer Dylan Smith, are expected to compete at the end-of-year event.

sports@gleanerjm.com