Moto chronicles 2018. 2nd edition

Moto Chronicles 2018-2

One of the most valuable and thus important things in life to me has been information. For the want of, lack of or validity of it, kingdoms have been won or lost, empires built or destroyed, buildings burnt, lives and friendships lost or feelings hurt. So my greatest mandate on my entry into motorsports was, and still is, to address the glaring lack of information coming out of (or not coming out of, as is the case), a perceived elitist, good ole boy’s sport.

Circuit racing in Jamaica is done at two beautiful and varied tracks on our island. Both tracks are exactly 1.6 miles in length, with Dover Raceway in the hills of St. Ann near Brown’s Town being the original track of the modern era (completed in 1988 with its first full season of racing in 1989), with 13 corners and two straights and lots of elevation changes, steep drop offs and sheer rock walls lining the track. Not for the feint hearted. Jamwest on the other hand, is located about a half mile from the shoreline of Broughton Beach in Old Hope, Westmoreland, just a few minutes away from Little London. It has a front straight just under a half mile in length, fast flowing corners and little to no elevation changes. It has actual run off areas, gravel traps and general space for recovery if a driver’s talent runs out before a corner has been successfully negotiated. Both motorcycle and car races take place on race day, but whereas the motorcycles are only divided into two categories, A and B, based on their lap times, the car categories are a little more complex. Here’s a politically incorrect interpretation of these categories.

Super Street (formerly known as Bracket 45).
This category allows but is not restricted to normal street cars. The cars are not required to have any safety features outside of what was installed by the manufacturer, but the driver must have an approved helmet and driving suit. Driving gloves and shoes are optional. A fire extinguisher and having the car fully road worthy are also requirements. Competitors are required to attend training and practice sessions of theory and practical before being allowed to race on track. The overall lap times of this class is limited to 1 min. 45 secs. at Dover Raceway and 1min. 39 secs. at Jamwest Motorsports and Adventure Park. Overtaking is also restricted to certain areas as flat out racing is essentially not allowed as the cars do not have the necessary crash protection installed for high speed, side by side racing.

My lay man’s description of the class: street cars, as is.

Improved Production classes 1, 2 & 3.
This category is for production based cars whose performance has been enhanced and have additional crash protection installed such as a roll cage, racing seat and harness, ignition kill switch etc. Similar to the Super Street category, these classes are governed by a bracket time, which if broken, competitors are penalized in a number of ways, most often by promotion to the next faster class. The time bracket for these classes at Dover Raceway is as follows:
IP1: 1 min. 37 secs.
IP2: 1 min. 32 secs.
IP3: 1 min. 27 secs.
At Jamwest, the classes are allowed a time bracket that is 5 seconds faster than their Dover times as although both tracks are now exactly the same length, Jamwest has a longer straight and in general faster corners, so the lap times achieved there are faster on a whole. The classes as outlined are separated only by lap times achieved and not vehicle specification per say.

Lay man’s description: cars improved from manufacturer’s specification with bolt on/off body modifications (lightened body panels made of fiberglass or other composite material. Fenders, doors, bumpers, bonnet, trunk or roof) engine, suspension and ECU modifications etc.

Modified Production classes 1 to 4
This category is for cars originally available for sale to the general public as street cars but whose chassis, engine and performance has been seriously modified from the manufacturer’s original intent. Body modifications go one or several steps further than adding lightened panels and enter the realm of removal of non-essential body parts, the installation of a more extensive roll cage which may or may not then become a part of the chassis itself as many areas of the original chassis not necessary for performance or safety may have been removed or replaced. Engine, gearbox, brake, suspension, exhaust modifications go one or several steps beyond external bolt on/off modifications and enter the realm of internal massaging and tuning of parts and components which may not be available for sale over the counter: that is to say, tricks in trade are brought in by experienced car builders and tuners to achieve an advantage that is not advertised over the internet. The 4 classes are defined by engine size, vehicle weight, wheel and tire width mainly.

Lay man’s description: mad scientists are allowed to take a saw and a pipette to a car and modify it beyond what you and I may have ever thought possible in an effort to extract maximum performance from a particular vehicular platform. The vehicle may look like something you’ve seen on a car lot for sale, but underneath it is pure mechanical genius.

Thundersport classes 1 and 2
I’ll skip the technical description and move straight to the lay man’s description.
Anything not mentioned before. The cars vehicles in this category are what rocket scientists build when funding for the space program has been put on hold, or what automotive engineers and the design team at car manufacturing companies build weekdays after 5 pm and on weekends.

With each successive category, I hope it has been clear that the price of admission to competitiveness increases accordingly.

Let me add one last categorization: that of the various nuts behind the steering wheel.

Super Street: Automotive enthusiasts who like to drive fast, know it’s not safe to do so on public roads and are aware enough of their mortality and/or manslaughter charges to have made a sensible decision to race at a purpose made facility in an organized fashion rather than on the public roads.

Improved Production: Automotive enthusiasts who are aware enough of their mortality and have already made the decision to indulge their need for speed in a controlled environment which now extends not only to the environment but now to their vehicle. In other words, “where” as well as “in what” has been considered and decided on. Can be Super Speed graduates.

Modified Production: Improved Production graduates with more money who need to go faster. Also, more purist racers who have alternatives to achieve faster lap times than Ebay.

Thundersport: The evolved Modified Production racer with specific competition, social, personal and/or commercial goals and targets to achieve.

Well, there you have it. A lay man’s guide to racing classes at Dover (and Jamwest by extension).


Latest Video