Rallycross trailblazer Fraser McConnell and his friend Ishmael Moodie, who is also his coach, are about to launch an affordable version of that genre of racing in Jamaica that will entice engagement from the average Jamaican.

Dubbed Yard Man Racing, the genre is also intended to create a gateway for the introduction of rallycross racing to Jamaica.

For the uninitiated, Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars.

However, unlike the traditional genre, where tens of thousands of Euros or more, are spent preparing cars for competition, the Jamaican version will have one significant difference.

“Yard-Man Racing is going to make racing affordable, exciting and accessible again. The cost of racing in Jamaica has gone up way too much,” said McConnell, who has already built a rallycross track on the Tru Juice Farm in St Catherine.

The process is simple. Find a two-wheel drive, non-turbo car no older than a 1995 model and spend less than JMD$350,000 to make it race-ready.

“To keep the sport honest, we have put a price tag on the cars. You don’t want someone to come in and money be the factor,” Moodie explained.

“The factor should always be the driver and that will also ensure that we will have an entertaining day of racing when you have a lot of cars because the cost is down and it will be wonderful for the development of rallycross in Jamaica.

“The cars are cheap enough and there are many, many out there. We have four ongoing projects right now, one is nearing completion, the others; we are doing the budget to get it together and finding the parts. We want to show everybody that it can be done and we are available to tell how it’s done.”

The friends, who are hoping for a November start, explained that they developed the concept during their travels to Europe while McConnell was competing in rallycross racing.

McConnell recently created another bit of history when finished second overall in the Supercar class at the Rallycross Nordic series in Denmark won by his teammate Oliver Erikksson.

They had been in Europe racing after the RX2 season in the United States was cancelled because of challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “It is just our curiosity about the sport and the openness of the Europeans to tell us where it came from so we could see how it developed,” said Moodie, who revealed that the larger plan is to bring rallycross to Jamaica.

“Fraser has done an excellent job to let people know about it but when its grassroots, when people see juniors driving in it for years and you are invested in it, is when I believe one day we could bring real rallycross to Jamaica.”

He has a clear vision of where the sport could be in Jamaica over a relatively short period.

“I believe we will see in our first year, 40 cars but by the time we peak I am hoping for more than 200 cars on a weekend,” he said.

An interesting element of Yard Man Racing is what happens at the end of each race.

“At the end of each race, you are allowed to place a bid on the car for about JMD$5000 which gives you an entry into the lottery to buy that car. If your name is drawn out of a hat, you have to buy that car for JMD$300, 000,” McConnell said.

“That keeps costs down because a man isn’t going to spend all they have on the one car and it makes the field a lot more equal.”

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Fraser McConnell recovered from early misfortune to achieve his first podium finish in the Supercar class at the RallyCross Nordic in Denmark on the weekend.

McConnell, the 2019 Americas Rallycross Champion (ARX2), also finished second in the overall standings behind Olsbergs MSE teammate Oliver Erikksson.

Erikksson finished with 111 points to McConnell’s 91. The Jamaican went into the weekend's finale in fourth place with 47 points, Erickson was second with 57.

However, the placings might have been reversed had he not suffered a bit of misfortune in Saturday’s final when he ran into trouble on the very first lap.

“We were third in the start grid, managed to get around second place and was in second place going around into the second corner. It was an around-the-outside move so there was a big slide, which exposed my front wheel to the oncoming competitor. He got me straight, big contact into my front wheel and that broke the drive-shaft,” said McConnell of the incident that took him out of the running in Saturday’s final.

“I was unable to continue driving the car as it (the impact) made it go into rear-wheel drive. With 600HP turbo-charge it is very difficult to drive so it was better to park the car to prevent further damage,” he explained.

Sunday, however, was a much better day for the trail-blazing Jamaican, who capitalized on Erikksson’s misfortune to claim second place.

“On the second day, we were able to come off the first corner, much more reserved with the big picture in mind. We came out the first corner in fifth. We managed to get to fourth immediately in the second corner and the way the race played out we were able to cross the line in second, so not a bad way to end off the year, on the podium,” said McConnell, who expressed delight at his podium finish.

“I can take home some silverware and add it to my collection. It was a great experience and to get second place in the championship was unbelievable so I am very pleased with how the year turned out.”

 

Though he is going in with a bit of a disadvantage, Fraser McConnell is focussed on giving his best show when he lines up for this weekend’s 2020 Nordic Rallycross event in the Supercar Class in Nysumbanen, Denmark.

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