For the average person, driving a car at almost 200 mph or catching air over a mound on a dirt bike is not something they think about or have much of a desire for, understandably, due to safety concerns. However, Peter Rae, OD, is not your average person.
From the mid-1960s, a young Rae was introduced to motocross or dirt bike racing by his father Clifford “Bunny” Rae, as a means to keep him occupied and away from the potential dangers youths could get into. He soon followed in his father’s footsteps participating in motocross in the United Kingdom.
“We had a big event at Up Park Camp and then on the infield of Caymanas Park and I was the top Jamaican. I came third and I was invited out to an event in Florida in 1976, thereabouts, and from there I went over to England to finish up my studies. I continued racing over there for another eight years,” the veteran racer tells JIS News.
Upon his return to Jamaica, he began racing go-karts, which was never even previously considered as he was terrified of the first go-kart his father bought him and his brothers for Christmas years before.
Young Peter, nonetheless, took go-karting all the way up to the level of racing at Dover Raceway in St. Ann where he decided to “try [his] luck” with motor racing in 1989 – something he would end up honing his skills at and doing for 50 years.
“I decided to try my luck with my brother’s MINI. It was his pride and joy. We were quite successful in campaigning that car until I found a proper race car, another MINI, built with cylinders. That was my real start with competitive racing machinery and it became known as the “Pocket Rocket” MINI or the Darling of Dover,” shares Mr. Rae.
His other race cars also earned names of their own such as the successor to the MINI, the Toyota Starlet GT Turbo, called “Starlet on Steroids”, then an earlier model Mazda purchased from Peter “Bull” Thompson called “Boombastic”. His latest car, the Mazda RX7 which Rae raced up to retirement in 2018, is nicknamed “Zoom Zoom” after the American advertising for the car. The moniker also became synonymous with the driver, giving him and the car an even greater bond.
These cars took Rae to the top of many local and international championships, earning him the coveted checkered flag, but his all-time top win would be the inaugural Cayman International Racing Event.