Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
A section of the large crowd which gathered at the five-star Rio Hotel, Panama City, Panama, last weekend, reportedly erupted into loud cheers when three Jamaicans were announced as winners at the prestigious FIA Americas' Award.
Dover's champion driver Sebastian Rae, head of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) Earl Jarrett, and 12-year-old Joshua Sirgany, Jamaica Karting Association (JKA) Driver of the Year, were recognised by affiliates of the Federation of International Automobiles (FIA) for their major achievements in 2012. Jarrett was honoured in the Mobility category.
The ceremony was held on Saturday, January 19.
"It's wonderful. It's a great honour to receive this award and to represent Jamaica at the international level. It has motivated me to try and win it again next year," said young Sirgany.
His parents, Ricky and Tina Sirgany, said they got goose pimples when Joshua got up to receive his award. "It was a great feeling of accomplishment," Ricky described the moment.
He said at least one country has since extended an invitation to his son to compete in their domestic events. "Venezuela has since invited Joshua to come and compete in the Easykart series, which begins next month. Lack of sponsorship might impact us, because we have plans for him to continue competing at the Florida Winter Tours," Ricky said.
Rae believes the occasion may open new doors, not only for him, but for other Jamaican drivers. "It was an excellent experience and an honour to be among the top drivers in the Americas. This has motivated me to continue to strive as I proudly represent my country. I'm grateful to my supporters, sponsors, family, friends, and all those who have helped to make this grand achievement possible," Rae said.
Peter Clarke, president of the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club, which is the local affiliate of the FIA, is a happy man. "It was an honour to see Jamaicans being recognised at this prestigious award. Locally, it will now enhance more collaboration between the JAA and motorsport," Clarke said.