The history of the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan over the last fifty years almost Parallels Jordan’s glorious development journey.
Ever since his accession to the throne in 1952, His Majesty the late King Hussein I had a great vision, which he believed in so passionately, that Jordan would be at the forefront of all developing countries. The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan was one of the many manifestations of His Majesty's vision becoming a reality through a group of young dedicated Jordanians who undertook the task of fulfilling that vision.
The Club came into existence in 1953 and soon was able to align itself with famous international federations for automobiles and tourism such as FIA, AIT and IRU.
Shortly after that the Club was also able to hold some limited motor sports and social activities. In 1955 His Majesty the late king Hussein I honored the Club with his royal patronage, which gave it the strong backing and progressive outlook it rightfully deserved. Amongst those members who had the honor of participating in establishing the Club and who played a role in its administration right from the Club’s first start in 1953 and until 1963 are: Anwar Nuseibeh, Farid Al-Sa’ad, Tawfiq Kattan, Patrick Koghil, Zakaria Al-Taher, Abdul-Mu’ti Al-Qutub, Michele Nazzal, Saba Akasheh, Emil Qubeisi, Hisham Nuseibeh, Jawdat Sha’sha'h, Tawfiq Tabbaa, Rifa’t Asfour, Charl Hakeem, Adnan Sha'lan, Ma'moun Toukan, Zuhair Asfour, Mazhar Nabulsi, Bander Tabbaa', Kamal Asfour, Hani Hakki, Abdul-Ghani Abu-Qurah, Adel Nouri, Hamdi Tabbaa, and myself, Walid Asfour.
In 1961, I had the honour of serving on the Board of Directors of the Club. At the time, the Club’s premises were merely a small house in Jabal Al-Weibdeh. It was run by one employee working on a part-time basis and one attendant. The Club was suffering from a difficult financial situation because of the small number of members and the consequent limited sources of income. Yet, I was convinced that the club had great potential and that it would be a very special establishment if managed efficiently.
A group of dedicated young people were attracted into joining the club and the journey to success and prosperity was gradually starting. It was in 1965 when the club was restructured with the amalgamation of the Karting Club into the RACJ and new internal laws and regulations were put in place. In that same year, membership of the Club grew rapidly. The Club’s foundation was further strengthened in readiness for a greater launch and a giant leap forward. It was then that additional staff became necessary and a general manager was appointed to run the Club’s affairs.
The year 1965 was a turning point in the history of the Club. It witnessed the dramatic race against time to portray the Club in its new image in readiness for its promising future. A challenging plan was put in place to achieve the vision of His Majesty the late King Hussein I, may he rest in peace. After the plan was put before him, he granted his royal approval and support for it and the Club went on to achieve those objectives. Now the RACJ is a glorious long way away from its humble beginnings and continues on its march of excellence to fulfil the vision and dream of its founders and successive Boards of Trustees and Directors.
The tremendous moral support extended by His Majesty the late King Hussein I to the Club was further consolidated when the plot of land on which the Club now is built was registered in its name, yet another royal gesture that is truly a legacy of his royal patronage, to which the Club could never be grateful enough except by persevering to become one of the best automobile clubs in the Arab world and on the international arena.
The first stage of the current premises was finished by the year 1969 and had been financed by bank loans with personal guarantees from members of the Board of Directors who had made a solemn promise that the Club would be worthy of the royal care and attention it had been given. His Majesty the late King Hussein I made me personally responsible for the Club in 1980 and urged me, as chairman of the Club, to present it in the best light. He emphasized then that I was representing him in all that matters to the well being of the Club and that I could always go back to him for any support needed. His Majesty the late King Hussein I also asked me to serve as custodian of the land of the Club and to make sure that no part of it should be sold or dispensed with. That confidence was such an enormous responsibility and was to become so deeply rooted in my heart and mind as well as the hearts and minds of all members of the Board of Trustees and Directors. It became a message that I would repeat every time a new board was formed.
Diligence, perseverance, entrepreneurship and innovation in an atmosphere of cooperation are a hallmark of the dedicated efforts of all the successive Boards of Trustees and Directors, an expression of everybody’s gratitude and appreciation for His Majesty the late King Hussein I, a tribute to the legacy of his majestic self and also a symbol of our loyalty to His Majesty King Abdullah II , our patron since 1999.
When he was a youngster His Majesty King Abdullah II used to visit the Club and enjoy the activities and later as an adult he participated in motor sports. His Majesty had a particular interest in encouraging motor sports events and fans. He continues to be so eager to have the Club succeed and prosper and I was honored to have had an audience with him receiving his gracious guidance and blessing. His Majesty continues to extend his patronage, care and attention to the Club and its motor sporting activities Jordan was added in the list of the World Rally Championship in 2008. He assigned the responsibility of promoting motor sports to world standard to his brother, His Royal Highness Prince Feisal.
Now that more than fifty years have passed since the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan was established, I would like to record with gratitude the achievements of those members who gave unfaltering support to the club. Amongst those are:
Ma'an Abu-Nuwar, Ma’moun Toukan, Bandar Tabbaa’, Hani Hakki, Walter Gardner, Ghaleb Barakat, Mohammad Sa’ed Nabulsi, Adnan Mufti, Hamdi Tabbaa’, Mohammad Asfour, Ziyad Enab, Sa’ad Tal, Vahi Ghiziryan, Nu’man Asfour, Shahan Panosian, Jack Khayyat, Isam Budier Mithal Al-Amin, Dauod Hanania and others whom are not mentioned here.
The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan is now a prominent landmark amongst other similar clubs basking in the continuous royal patronage it is privileged to receive and the dedication and loyalty of its members.
I would also like to thank all members of the Club, members of the Boards of Trustees and Directors, the management, the staff and all employees who contributed over the years to make the Club what it is now.