(Jamaica Observer) Hilary Jardine, one of Jamaica’s motorsport founding fathers, has resigned as president of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) after six years at the helm.
Jardine, 81, threw in the towel on December 1, after 56 years of service to motorsport in the Caribbean.
“I am getting on in age and after being involved in motorsports for so many years, I feel the time has come to pass the baton to a younger person. My wish is for the club to continue to grow and for the relationship to continue with our Caricom (Caribbean Community) brothers,” said Jardine.
Jardine, a native of Guyana who has been living in Jamaica since 1969, said he timed his resignation for a smooth transition of the club’s business.
The JRDC’s elections are held every two years and the next one is due in 2013. JRDC’s vice-president has assumed the leadership role.
“There is no better person than Mark Carey to assume the role of president,” Jardine told Auto.
Carey has accepted the post and lauds Jardine for his contribution to the sport.
“I intend to build on the achievements of the club to date. The JRDC has accomplished a lot in the past few years under the leadership of Mr Jardine, and I would like to recognise his years of service and sacrifice and say a very heartfelt thank you,” Carey said.
Jardine’s involvement in motorsport is well documented.
He was one of the founding members of the British Guiana Motorcycle Club 1955 and, in the 1960s, he revived the motorcycle club in Trinidad and Tobago. He was an active motorcyclist competing in the 600cc class.
His involvement in motorsports in Jamaica began in 1970, when he formed the Jamaica Motor Racing Association and held the first meet (motorcycle and go-karts) at the National Stadium in July of that year.
Jardine also had his hand in the development of drag racing in Jamaica. He organised the first meet at Vernam Fields in April 1971 while wearing the hat of Jamaica Motor Racing Association president. Continuing into 1980, he improved the facility for circuit racing and it was soon outfitted with a control tower, paddock, grand and bleacher stand, toilets, public address system, and telephone. Drivers from the United Kingdom, United States, Puerto Rico, Santa Domingo, Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, and Antigua all had competed at this track.
The existence of the Dover Raceway in St Ann followed since 2003, when Hilary joined the late Alfred Chen and commenced organising circuit racing.
In 2006, he was elected head honcho at JRDC until his resignation last Thursday.
“I have spoken with most of the club’s executives, all of whom with the usual resistance have understood and agreed with my position. They regret my leaving but they know I will be in the background to assist if the need arises,” Jardine said.
In recognition of his contribution to sport, the Government of Jamaica awarded Hilary Jardine the Order of Distinction in 2009.