by Howard Campbell
[JACKSONVILLE] – It was not the season-ending finish he was looking for, but a strong Jamaican presence at The Firm racecourse in Jacksonville on December 5 was enough to lift Fraser McConnell’s spirits.
The Jamaican driver led at one stage of the Nitro RX Rallycross Series race, but his chances of victory were curtailed by mechanical challenges.
“It’s a little disappointing but other than that the crowd that was there to support their Jamaican driver was great. We still held our head high and had a good time,” said 23 year-old McConnell.
This is his fourth season on the rally circuit, competing against some of the biggest names in the sport. McConnell was in the five Nitro RX events this season, starting in the final of events in Utah and Minnesota.
In April, he became the first Jamaican to win a supercar rally, taking the RallyX Nordic in Nysum, Denmark. One of the rivals he beat was FIA world Champion, Johan Kristoffersson of Sweden.
Since 2019, McConnell has been part of the Olsberg MSE team from Sweden. Even then, there are setbacks being from a country with little track record in motorsports like the backing of major manufacturers to ensure “it’s all systems go” come race time.
Currently, his main sponsors are corporate Jamaican companies such as Sandals Resorts and Barita Investments. They have helped make McConnell a novelty in the mould of Jamaica’s bobsleigh team that created a stir at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
It is a tag he does not mind.
“No, not at all. I’m getting great support from Jamaica and in the other Caribbean islands…they all want to see me do well,” said McConnell, whose family have featured prominently in Jamaican commerce for decades.
He began racing in go-kart events as a 12 year-old before moving on to cars at Dover, Jamaica’s leading race track. In 2018, McConnell changed gear and began competing in the North American ARX2 Series.
The Nitro series debuted in 2018 and has quickly made an impression on international motorsport. For the 2022 season, organizers have scheduled a 10-race season in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Fraser McConnell is looking to being even more competitive.
“I owe it to my family, most of all. They believed in me, and I believed in myself that I can make it in the big league,” he said.