Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Less than a year since he assumed the presidency of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC), Christopher McFarlane has resigned, citing personal reasons. He is likely to be replaced by vice-president Dean Minott until the next annual general meeting set for early next year.
McFarlane, who is popularly known as 'Teach', was elected president of the JRDC in January. He replaced Captain Mark Carey who had served as president from December 2011 when he replaced Hilary Jardine.
McFarlane, who was elected unopposed, said, at the time, that he wanted to improve spectator, competitor and sponsor participation, and in the following months, managed to achieve much of that mandate. He initiated innovations like infield entertainment at Dover, making it more fan friendly, and attracted new title sponsors Rubis Energy. He also oversaw improvements to the Dover facility which made the track safer for the drivers and spectators.
"It has been a pleasure working for a greater cause this year, and our club has accomplished much, including track/facility improvements, massive improvements in the quality of the show we present to our spectator and a sense of participation pride by our sponsors. This led to new race sponsors (MP 3/4 & MP1) coming on board," he said in his resignation letter. "I was blown away also by the renewed energy of our title sponsor for this year, Rubis Energy Jamaica. We all saw how they presented themselves at the last event, and provided our spectators with an amazing Kiddies Village."
He also thanked other sponsors who supported circuit racing at Dover for the three meets held so far this season.
"Major thanks also to Seaboard Marine and Michelle Marks, who has continuously been a tower of support for our local CMRC leg, and other activities geared at presenting more international events at Dover Raceway. To all other sponsors, it was a pleasure being associated with you. The level of professionalism and zeal was second to none. Thank you for the support, and I'm sure you will enjoy what's to come," he said.
"Special thanks to the media, who was very warm and receptive to me from the day I was elected. They took me to task on getting things done and were very accommodating in helping us spread the word about what has been done. Each media house, photographer and blogger has done their part to help build our sport, and for that I will always be grateful and humbled."
McFarlane's presidency was not without controversy, however. An impasse between the JRDC and the ATL Racing Team over a rule that governs the number of tyres that could be used per meet in the modified production classes put McFarlane in direct confrontation with Doug 'Hollywood' Gore and, to some, the JRDC with the ATL Racing Team.
Gore recently hinted that there were moves to end the impasse, suggesting that changes were coming in the JRDC that could see him racing at the Heroes Weekend race meeting next month. In his resignation letter, McFarlane also made reference to changes that were coming to the rules governing the sport.
"To the JRDC membership, I promised many things this year, and made a dedicated effort to deliver on most," McFarlane said. "The next delivery takes place on September 11, when the technical rules committee will present next year's rules as promised. My request to them was to prepare and present rules prior to the end of this season. The rules/regulations should allow for better participation and competitiveness, while having positive cost-containment options built in."