Tough track made to order
Christopher Serju, Automotives Writer
For more than a week, drivers have been taking up the offer from Stewart's Automotive Group to test-drive a range of their vehicles at the purpose-built obstacle course at Barbican Circle, St Andrew. Still, the man mainly responsible for their many anxious moments was nonchalant about the magnitude of his accomplishment when Automotives spoke with him on Friday.
When BMW contacted Kirk Reynolds on the recommendation of their local advertising agency, they explained that the course should be consistent with their template used across the world.
"They asked me to give them a package deal and showed me a video of what they did in Panama," Reynolds shared with Automotives. However, things did not pan out as planned, and after hours on the
telephone trying to get specifications such as depth of the water course, the type of rocks to use and angles required for the hill, the dirt-bike racer was still in the dark.
He then went back to the video, which he studied in detail before calling in the crew. By then, he had it all figured out - in his head. Using a D-4 bulldozer and two backhoes, the track was completed in less than a week. "When the BMW (experts) guys came, they said it was good, it was spot-on. We didn't have to do many adjustments," Reynolds recalled.
Reynolds, who operates a motorcycle shop, Irie Bike, is known in local circles for operating a racetrack at Ferry, St Catherine, for many years and is now in the process of setting up dirt bike track in Temple Hall, St Andrew. This current venture, while being a very big deal, presented very few challenges once Reynolds had been given the relevant information.
This included the explanation from Stewart's that they needed to be able to demonstrate the 'X Trail factor' feature in their BMW vehicles and traction-control technology for the Mitsubishi and Suzuki off-road vehicles. In fact, Reynolds' biggest challenge related to the water course (for river-crossing simulation) which, at international tracks, usually has a concrete base. However, because this course is temporary, that was not an option. So after digging to the specified depth, the team put in a rubber lining and then the other equipment.
Being a perfectionist, Reynolds has visited the course a number of times to check if the water is draining out, thus compromising the facilities, but to date, has not had reason to be concerned.
He admitted to being sad at having to go back and undo his handiwork once the promotion is over. The team will flatten the hill and fill in the ditches in order to return the site to some semblance of its original status.
So, has Reynolds made a video recording or floor plan of the course? Automotives was surprised to find that he had not, declaring that it is all in his head and could be easily duplicated should the need arise.