COVID-19 halts motor racing

Auto

COVID-19 halts motor racing

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 27, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


LIKE the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC) has put a halt on all sanctioned motorsports events until May 31 due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The FIA is the world's motorsports governing body, and the JMMC is the local representative of that body.

“The potential for spreading the COVID-19 virus in a public setting made it necessary to place a moratorium on motorsport activity until May 31,” Stephen Gunter, chairman of the JMMC, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine yesterday.

Up until the decision, one drag racing event, one karting event, one sprint, and two dexterity events had taken place. The moratorium affects the three major clubs: the Drivers Rallysport Club (DRC); the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA); and the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC).

Drag Rivals series organisers, KenT Racing, is also affected.

“The three clubs whose events were scheduled during the period of the moratorium were all consulted and advised,” Gunter said.

While the full extent of the economic implications on motorsports is yet to be realised, Gunter said his group is working assiduously for the season's restart on June 1.

“The JMMC is working with the affected organisations to reschedule affected events. The process is ongoing; submissions for new dates close on March 27, after which the JMMC's Competition Subcommittee will review, then release a new provisional motorsport calendar,” Gunter said.

How the calendar moves forward will be up to each club.

For KenT Racing, their Drag Rivals series, held at JamWest Speedway in Westmoreland, scheduled for March 29, was the first hit by the moratorium. Head of KenT Racing, Kenneth Timoll, took to social media explaining that rather than reschedule the meet, it will be simply cancelled, reducing the series to five meets, one fewer than the six planned for 2020.

He explained that given the uncertainty of how the other clubs may handle their schedules he'd rather not compete with a crowded calendar in the later part of the year.

Things are a bit different for the JRDC which require a minimum of four meets to complete their championship season. They will lose two events: on Easter Monday, April 13; and, Labour Day, May 25, during the period.

Junior Barnes, JRDC chairman, indicated that the club will simply push back those two race meets to dates already submitted to the JMMC. He noted this was all provisional based on Government policy in relation to COVID-19 going forward.

Gunter, who became head of the JMMC in May 2008, urged Jamaicans to follow the restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of the virus.

“Stay home, observe all protocols as advised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Together we can make a difference,” he said.

So far, 26 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 in Jamaica, while it has claimed one person's life.

Worldwide motorsports has grounded to a halt.

The F1 season, scheduled to start on March 21 in Australia, was halted when members of the McLaren racing team tested positive for the virus. They have since cancelled the Australasian Grand Prix meets. The European and American portion of the F1 calendar is still up in the air as several races would take place in the hardest-hit countries, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

F1 wasn't the only one hit by COVID-19, the World Rally Championship was brought to a halt, Formula E, and America's NASCAR have all shut down, hosting online eSports events using virtual gaming simulators worldwide.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT