two days of intense competition (May 26/27), during which the overall
lead of Rally Barbados changed hands no fewer than seven times, Paul
'Surfer' Bourne claimed his second win in the Barbados Rally Club's
(BRC) blue riband event by a margin of less than two seconds.
With co-driver Stuart Maloney in the BF Goodrich/Plus-backed Subaru
Impreza WRC, Bourne claimed only 10 fastest times of the 21 stages run,
but his consistent pace throughout the weekend was what counted; his
victory came despite a 10-second penalty for clocking in early for one
Bourne and Maloney received their trophies at Monday's Prizegiving
at The Boatyard from former Citroen works Junior WRC driver Kris Meeke
and executive director of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association
Sue Springer. Meeke said: "I am just amazed by the crowds that turn out
to watch rallying here, and the hospitality has been fantastic."
In the toughest contest of the event's 18-year history - a fitting
outcome in the BRC's 50th Anniversary year - four different drivers led
the event, and all six of those in control of ex-works WRC machinery
set fastest stage times, two drivers each from Barbados, Jamaica and
Europe, the very essence of the annual Barbados Rally Carnival.
Despite some intermittent gearbox problems, Jamaicans John 'Pentti'
Powell and Michael March (Stag/Intercontinental Shipping Toyota Corolla
WRC) finished second, as they did to Roger Mayers (Ford Focus WRC) in
2005; 'Pentti' clocked three fastest stage times and led overnight, but
Bourne just chipped away.
With three fastest times in the bag, last year's winners, Powell's
fellow-countrymen Gary Gregg and Hugh Hutchinson (McEnearney Quality/NG
Racing Ford Focus WRC) had looked set for a repeat, until a moment on
Saturday's final stage and some damage beneath the car dropped them
down the order; efforts to repair the Focus for a full attack on Sunday
were not successful.
Roger Skeete and Ian Griffith in 'The Sheriff's new
Havoline/Michelin/FB Batteries Ford Escort WRC were in contention from
early, two fastest times helping them to third overnight; a podium
finish looked unlikely, however, after a dramatic spin on the second
Malvern, which cost Skeete more than 30 seconds compared with his
previous time through that stage and dropped him back to fifth, behind
Steve Perez and Kevin Procter.
With the experienced Howard Davies on the notes, and spurred on by
making it into the top three, Perez then set a couple of fastest stage
times in the Vodka Kick Ford Focus WRC, but an equally dramatic spin on
the first uphill Kendal cost him 20 seconds and returned the favour,
leaving Skeete to finish third.
Perez and Davies claimed the trophies as highest-placed European
crew - Perez said at the Prizegiving that he'll be back next year -
while Procter and local co-driver Stewart Gill finished fifth in the
Procter's Coaches/ITC-backed Hyundai Accent WRC, fastest on the first
The top six was completed by the only other Jamaican crew to
feature in the overall results, 1998 winner Jeffrey Panton and
co-driver Justin Morin, in the Air Jamaica/Miami Freight & Shipping
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. A puncture early Saturday dropped him to
15th, but Panton's press-on driving style dragged him back up the order
by the close.
Not so fortunate was Trevor Manning, co-driven in the Shell
V-Power/Simpson Motors/Garbage Master Evo VIII by James Betts;
'Electric Micey' had been greatly encouraged by the performance of the
car this year, and his optimism seemed well-founded - second on each of
the first three stages to Gregg, Bourne and Powell, he was leading
Rally Barbados by nearly three seconds, when another turbo failure in
the second Canefield brought his rally to a stop.
Manning's team-mate Sean Gill flew the flag for Simpson Motors in
fine style, however; with 'Zippy' Cummins alongside him in the First
Caribbean VISA/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art Suzuki Swift, he was
fastest in SuperModified 10 on every stage, also fastest
two-wheel-drive, to finish seventh overall.
His times and fastest speeds - 177kmph uphill at Canfield, for
instance - were often precisely matched by the Red Bull/Hitachi Power
Tools BMW M3 of Jonathan Still/Heath Hazell, who finished eighth
overall, winners of S11.
Despite an engine that persisted in cutting out during Saturday
morning, a delighted Neil Armstrong finished ninth, winning Group N
with Barry Ward in the Shell Helix/Hankook/Solider Seal Gunk Evo VI, an
exact repeat of their result of Rally Jamaica last December . . . right
down to start number 17!
For the second year in a row, Barry Gale/Ryan Rodriguez finished
10th in the Simpson Motors/Dentyne Ice/VP Racing Evo VI; they also
claimed victory in Group M8-A, despite an alarming trip into the
undergrowth on the first stage of the day, when the steering wheel came
loose. Fortunately for Gale, everyone else in the Group had problems of
their own - the legendary reliability of Roger Hill's Toyota Celica GT4
took one of its rare downturns, with gearbox problems, Kirk Watkins
struck the bridge of the first Canefield damaging the rims and
suspension of his Evo V in the process, while British visitor Andrew
Johnson rolled his Subaru Impreza on the same stage, losing a lot of
Gale's 10th place, secured just a few stages from the finish, came
at the expense of M6 winners Ian Warren/Matthew Staffner, whose
giant-killing acts in the MQI/Subzero/Details Car Valet Peugeot 206 had
included a faster top speed through Dark Hole on Saturday morning than
two WRC cars, Gill and Still!
A determined drive resulted in a second M7 victory for Rally
Carnival founder Greg Cozier and Antonio Da Silva (Citgo/Hyundai
Industrial & Commercial Ford Escort RS2000), while five-times
Carnival visitor, Scotland's Kenny Hall, celebrated his 50th birthday
with a second M5 win, co-driven by Holland's Fenny Wesselink in the Car
Parts 4u/Simpson Motors Vauxhall Corsa; his co-driver was also
highest-placed female competitor.
Two other Groups were won by overseas competitors: after Northern
Ireland's John Hardman crashed his Ford Fiesta, England's Andrew
Costin-Hurley was the sole survivor in Group B, co-driven by Michael
Carrington in the Ford Puma and, while they were not classified as
overall finishers, Jamaica's Tarik Minot and Peter Clarke won S9 in the
Minott Motorsport Suzuki Ignis.
In the only small-capacity production Group, Neil Barnard achieved
a fifth Group win on the event, claiming P2 honours with Kevin Massiah
co-driving the First Caribbean VISA/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art Suzuki
Nicholas Gill and Sue Rogers in the Castrol/MQI Mazda 3 won every
stage to lift the Texaco Sunday Cup trophies, with Britain's Dave
Bellerby and Kev Franks (Procters Coaches Ford Sapphire) won the battle
for second place, after swapping times all day with the Evo V of
Watkins and Max Ferri.
Rally Barbados was organised by the Barbados Rally Club; each day
was a separate qualifying round of the Texaco BRC Rally Championship
and the BRC Driver's Championship. Principal sponsors were Automotive
Art, Banks Holdings Ltd, DaCosta Mannings Auto Centre, Digicel,
McEnearney Quality, Simpson Motors, Texaco and Williams Industries.
Associate sponsors were Armag, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism
Association, Crane & Equipment, Essco, Harris Paints, Nassco and
For further information:
e-mail - email@example.com
web sites - www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallycarnival.com
Rally Club's 50th Anniversary marked by toughest-ever event