Sport

Visit of motor-racing head boosts Ja's bid

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 17, 2012    

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JAMAICA'S bid to host the 2014 Rotax World Karting Final or the Pan American Challenge Series was given a boost with a recent visit to the Palisadoes International Raceway by president of the Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA), Jean Todt.

Ricky Sirgany, an executive member of the Jamaica Karting Association, told the Jamaica Observer Todt was very impressed with what he saw in Jamaica.

"He was impressed. He said our Go-Kart track was beautiful and unbelievable. What we have is Go-Kart running around a gorgeous track, we have a harbour with boats sailing up and down and we have mountains in the background," said Sirgany.

Jamaica will more than likely compete with the USA for the 2014 Rotax World Karting Final as one of only two qualified venues in the region.

"What I believe we will actually get out of it is the Pan American. But we are looking at both of them. Our track is one of two in this side of the hemisphere that can legally run world because of how it's designed," Sirgany said.

"Most of it, if not all, is run in the other side of the hemisphere... Portugal, Singapore and England. You have to have a certain specification. I believe New Orlean might get Rotax World Karting Final and we get Pan Am But we are up for both of them," he added.

Todt, the mastermind behind the success of Formula One great Michael Schumacher winning seven world titles, visited Jamaica and other islands to review motor sport advances and to evaluate possible synergies to promote road safety.

Todt was accompanied by a top-level delegation comprising regional vice-presidents of the FIA, including Jose Abed of Mexico, and was guest of the Earl Jarrett-led Jamaica Automobile Association, FIA representatives in Jamaica for mobility, and the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club.

He was met by Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Damian Crawford, John Lynch, Director of Tourism, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Dean Corrodus, chairman of the JMMC.

Todt was in the island to assess the state of roads as well as motor sports in the island said Jamaica's road fatality should not surpass 175 per year, given the population of the country. He argues that based on the rate per hundred, the island's death toll is nearly twice that of Britain.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's Thomas Issa, 15, qualified to represent the America's in Portugal in November after finishing second at the US Grand National recently.

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