JMMC invites street racers to track
Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC) president Stephen Gunter said he would like to see more motorists exercising caution on the roads to limit fatal crashes. He also invited drivers guilty of speeding on the highways to take their cars to the JMMC's racetracks instead.
Data from the Road Safety Unit (RSU) says Jamaica recorded its highest number of fatal crashes in 10 years after 484 people died in crashes in 2021.
"I wish that people would be more level headed in their driving, especially in conditions that are not ideal for driving," Gunter said. "Some of the worst accidents that we see happen at night (as) our roads are not very well lit, some of them are not so good in rainy and wet conditions and people need to adjust their driving style based on the conditions they are driving in and the roads that they are driving on."
Many of these crashes are usually caused by speeding, road users not being cautious and even street racing.
He says the JMMC condemns street racing and encourages Jamaicans to make the necessary steps to join motosports if they want to race.
"Street racing is inherently dangerous" he said. "Street racing is illegal and the JMMC's position on it is that we do not endorse street racing at all; we outright condemn street racing and we have no part to do with it at all. We encourage people to race in sanctioned events that are on the national motorsport calendar."
The RSU says road fatalities in Jamaica have already surpassed 100 in 2022.
Gunter says Jamaica's official race tracks such as the Dover Raceway in St Ann could help limit these numbers as they offer a much safer alternative than street racing.
"It's a controlled environment," he said. "There are numerous safety protocols in place at Dover Raceway, there is always an ambulance there, there is always a team of doctors, there are trained marshals and to race at Dover, even as an amateur, you must attend a training day."
Gunter says there is assistance for drivers to meet entry requirements for all forms of motorsports.
"There are forms of motorsport that you can participate in with your normal street car, they are geared towards low speed events that do not require safety agents," he said. "The Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) offers a programme for street cars."
Gunter says a dedicated motorsport park could help improve these programmes and the sport in general.
"Jamaica is in need of a dedicated motorsport park; a facility where multiple genres of motor sport could take place on any or one weekend," Gunter said. "We are far behind other Caribbean and Caricom countries in this regard - a large facility of a couple hundred acres or so where we could have circuit racing, go karting, sprints, that sort of things occurring regularly at the location."
- Sharla Williams