Could The Rally Jamaica Trophy have been sitting on a local mantel piece?


Throughout the last 19 years Rally Jamaica has not just seen drivers from within the island ,but also many regional and international drivers some also from the World Rally Circuit. However, the highly coveted trophy has never left the shores of Jamaica Could 2011, Rally Jamaica’s   20th Anniversary, be the year that the trophy departed for Northern Ireland?

To be more precise maiden city motor club member   Joe Gallagher was asked to co- drive   Auto electrician Glen Campbell from Antrim in this quest. Gallagher and Campbell had a ball in the process of searching for crystal  the three day long gruelling event took  place on 2 3 4 December and spanned the length and breadth of Jamaica.

Gallagher’s 2011 Ulster Rally 2nd in group N and 3rd in The Harvest Rally in Donegal wetted  his appetite for more crystal and Campbell’s class victory in the Barbados rally had  him equally as hungry for crystal. 

Rally Jamaica was a gravel event consisting of 3 days of rallying, 2 of which are very intense.

Starting Friday night in the heart of Kingston. Drivers are given a chance to show their cars and mingle with their much loved fans before they are exposed to the   rigors of the next two days.

Saturday stages took the drivers out to Moneague. To traverse stages such as the Bauxite Mines in Lydford. If not truly prepared drivers stood little chance of even making it through the day and after making it through that. They still have to remember that there is still Sunday to come.

Gallagher and Campbell were in the lowest powered car in the event an ex works Nissan Micra but after two days of making their own notes and many   arguments  later  sometimes settled with  Frank Kelly  interrupting and giving his pennies worth. The two guys  took up the   challenge and before the  lunch halt    the Irish pair were just outside the  top ten  getting talked about  by the local drivers and leading their class  this is where they were to go into the overnight position 12 and they  had developed a fuel problem along the way, Yet again Kelly to the rescue  aided  by some locals  they worked  into the wee hours  of  Sunday morning to only find out it was the fuel , as  The WRC Anglia of the Scottish driver Alan MCCay  suffered  similar problems. MCCAY was co driven by Mo Downey from Co Down. Both team mechanic’s compared notes and came to the same conclusion that fuel was the problem.

This sorted  and  having made it through  Saturday  Battle commenced on Sunday at and the Irish team were  now running 12th on the Road  as opposed to 25th on Saturday .

On Sunday   now they had the Orange groves of the Tru Juice Plantation. So this means look out for an out of place orange tree if not it could all be over before you even know it. But even after that there is still the highly anticipated finish. Which was kept under lock and key till the official press launch, That Stage was Benard Lodge which had notes of flat 10000 3 right 6000 2 right ultimate flat as far as you can see. After  Benard Lodge spectators flock by the thousands to see those drivers who have made it to the finish let their hair down and put on a show in down town  Kingston.  This is where Campbell and  Gallagher were scuppered out of the  top  ten place as stage 17 was scrapped  due to a timing issue  by time keepers, and the car they took 12 minutes out of  went  45 minutes OTL as  with  Jamaican motor club rules they’re  started in 10th place  on 18th stage. In Sunday evening being amongst  the finishers  was great.  Kingston had the carnival atmosphere that you have to be in Jamaica to experience. Whatever   about the results we finished and in the prizes it clearly was a finishers Rally.

We did  not know what we are  letting ourselves in for   the heat was  in the 30’s the surface as like nothing we  have drove on in Ireland  and  as for the competition we knew very little about them. We gave t our best shot.  The team depart on 26th November from Gatwick and arrive in Kingston on the 27th  with a day to prepare  the car before three days of recceing, then it  was down to work.  No time for sightseeing  -   well maybe a little high speed sight-seeing.

 We made some great friends that we will certainly keep in contact with  and we should thank all those that keep un on the  road Mickey MC Glynn, Dee and Mervyn  Hagan, the legend that is Frank Kelly and his lovely wife Rosemary  how she put  up with 6 men talking  rallying  for 10 days is beyond me.