Virtual success for JamRock E Rally

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Virtual success for JamRock E Rally

Friday, August 07, 2020

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KYLE Gregg, JamRock E Rally 2020 conceptualiser, hopes his event will transition from a virtual one into real life. It ran from July 17 to July 19.

“For next year I definitely believe I can get major sponsor on-board to help out with the prizes. It helps build Brand Jamaica. And, who knows, maybe the overseas competitors may want to come back for the real rally in December 2021 since there was so much hype for JamRock E Rally,” Gregg told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

The three-day virtual rally had 100 entries and competitors from as far as the United Kingdom.

“The event was a huge success with 100 competitors entering from England, Ireland, Barbados, Trinidad and the USA. We could not have asked for a better turnout,” he said.

As the first of its kind, officially sanctioned by several motorsports organisations, including the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club and the Drivers' RallySport Club, Gregg said JamRock E Rally 2020 drew rave reviews praising its flawless running and realistic challenge.

“Competitors in the Facebook group are still talking about how fun it was and sharing their thoughts on each day of the rally. Some were also posting videos,” he added.

The virtual rally used 22 stages in the New England location of the video game Dirt Rally 2.0 and at the end it was a Jamaican based in Connecticut, USA, who won. Kimani McGann, using his desk-mounted Logitech wheel set-up, bested the very mixed field.

“It's always a good feeling to win an event especially in something I already love doing,” McGann said.

A former racer, McGann's career has shifted back and forth between playing games and the real thing.

“I haven't raced professionally in a few years. Raced a few sprints and competed at Dover Raceway a number of times. I raced Motocross for a few years. I've been racing simulation racing games from high school. I've been using a wheel for about eight years now,” he said.

Competitors ran the gamut from current championship talent such as Thomas Hall to full on rookies like Tommi Gore, who has yet to begin his rally career behind the wheel of a real car. Hall finished on the podium in third place.

“It was good to come third. JamRock E Rally had plenty of challenging stages with no real room for error,” Hall said.

Hall, a long-time gamer, races about four times a week for three hours with his friends online, explaining that the virtual racing helps his concentration on real rallies.

“It's a lot easier and cheaper to miss a note and crash in the game than in real life,” Hall joked.

For 15-year-old rally rookie Gore who has yet to turn a real wheel in anger on a local rally, he went at the event with a custom Thrustmaster gaming rig.

“I feel that virtual racing is the actual reason why I was able to drive cars as well as I do today. It may not be the exact same as the real world, but it prepares you for the real world, especially on the dirt with how to control the various cars at speed and what to do with the car through a corner. Virtual racing teaches you the basics of driving, whether it be on dirt or tarmac. It'll make you learn the lines, braking and turn in points, basic car control and even let you make the mistakes and learn from them throughout the process,” Gore explained.


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