Jamaica's Gary Gregg
and Hugh Hutchinson became the first overseas competitors in eight
years to carry away the crown jewel of Barbados motor sport at the
weekend (June 3/4) when they won Rally Barbados 2006 by a margin of a
little under five seconds.
In a dominant display of driving in the BD Gregg Bros/McEnearney
Quality Inc Ford Focus WRC, reigning Jamaican champion Gregg was
fastest on 13 of the 19 stages which counted toward the result. The
trophy last left the island in 1998, when Gregg's fellow-countrymen
Jeffrey Panton and John de Mercado won in a Toyota Celica GT4.
Winners in 2003 Paul Bourne and Louis Venezia (Warrens Motors
Subaru/Plus Impreza WRC) finished second, with the much-improved
Simpson Motors/Shell Helix/Automotive Art/VISA/Garbage Master
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII of 1999 winner Trevor Manning and co-driver
James Betts coming home third.
With a penalty hanging over Gregg and Hutchinson, Bourne and
Venezia were initially declared the winners when provisional results
were published on Sunday evening after the DMS Distributors.com
SuperSprint at the Vaucluse Raceway; a protest dealt with by the event
Stewards during Monday, however, resulted in the local crew dropping to
second place and Manning/Betts to third.
An official statement was issued by the Stewards and posted at The
Boatyard prior to the Prizegiving on Monday afternoon. It read: "The
Special Stages listed as numbers three and six have been cancelled from
the Rally Barbados 2006 in accordance with ASR item 6, numbers 1 to 4.
"On investigating a competitor's protest on Special Stage 3, the
Stewards have determined, from interviews with the Stage Flying Finish
(SFF) marshal, Car Zero, the Stage Commander and the Clerk of the
Course, as well as a physical visit to the stage, that the SFF was in
fact not placed in accordance with the official markings (and as such
with the official route) of the stage.
"No notification of this change in the official route was
communicated to any competitor, either in writing or verbally. Based on
the ASR-laid out rules on Amendments, Interpretation of Regulations and
Bulletins, the official procedure for notification of changes was not
carried out and, as such, these stages cannot be considered in the
tallying of the total elapsed time for Rally Barbados 2006."
Gregg had been on the pace from The Start at Simpson Motors,
fastest over the first two stages, and a hard-fought event was in
prospect, attracting thousands of spectators enjoying very favourable
weather conditions. Although the entry was lacking in quantity compared
with last year - 70 cars left the start, as against 80 in 2005 - there
was no shortage of quality competition. Gregg claimed five fastest
stage times on Saturday, Bourne two and Manning three, and there were
others knocking on the door: England's Kevin Procter, co-driven in the
Procters Coaches/PC Vehicle Rentals/Motoscope Subaru Impreza by
experienced local co-driver Stewart Gill, was rarely out of the top
four before his retirement with a third blown turbocharger of the week,
while 2004 UK National Champion Steve Perez was regularly setting top
three times by the Saturday lunch halt in the VK Vodka Kick Ford Focus
WRC, co-driven by Neil Dashfield.
By the close of play on Saturday, although all was provisional
thanks to the issues surrounding stages three and six, Bourne led Gregg
by nearly 10 seconds, with Manning, Perez and Harold Morley/Geoff
Goddard (Warrens Motors/Sunbeach Communications Subaru Impreza WRC S9)
completing the top five.
There had been impressive performances early on Saturday from some
of the two-wheel-drive runners, especially 10-time winner Roger Skeete,
co-driven in the Havoline/Michelin/FB Batteries Peugeot 306 Maxi by
Stuart Maloney, Sean Gill/Michael Cummins in the new Simpson
Motors/Shell Helix/Automotive Art/VISA Suzuki Swift and Nick Gill/Tony
Pile in the McEnearney Quality Inc Mazda 3. All clocked stage times to
embarrass four-wheel-drive cars, but would succumb to mechanical
problems before the day was out.
On consistency, however, the two-wheel-drive challenge was led by
Jonathan Still and Heath Hazell in the Hitachi Power Tools/Philips
Lighting/Warrens Motors/Crane & Equipment/VP Racing BMW M3; Still
lay sixth overnight, just ahead of Modified 8 leaders Roger Hill and
Graham Gittens (Mobil 1/Nassco Ltd/Motormac/PPG Toyota Celica GT4) and
Group N leaders Steve Ollivierre and son Dominic in the ECMIL/Empire
Cigarettes Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII.
The overnight top 10 was completed by the leaders of Modified 6 and
7, Ian Warren/Matthew Staffner (Subzero/Details Car Valet
Inc/McEnearney Quality Collision Repair Centre/Aqua Pur Peugeot 206GTi)
and Adrian Linton/Jonathan Linton (M7 Ravensden/Crane &
Equipment/Garbage Gobbler/West Coast Garden Centre/Edwin Clarke
Furniture Vauxhall Astra GSi).
While Sunday produced some stunning drives to entertain the massive
crowds, there was little change in terms of overall position. Gregg was
fastest on nine of the 10 stages run - Manning took the 10th - the
Jamaican continuing his dominant form. The battle between Bourne and
Manning continued to rage, each taking time off the other in various
stages with Manning closing from eight to just over two seconds, but
the only change in the top 10 was the demise of Morley, who suspects a
mechanical failure resulted in his very solid contact with a power
Still's fifth place guaranteed him repeating last year's
SuperModified 13 win, while Hill claimed a fourth consecutive Modified
8 win in a car which had been undriveable just days before after a roll
in the Red Bull International RallySprint. Ollivierre won Production 4,
with Ian Warren and Adrian Linton claiming Group wins in Modified 6 and
By the end of the day, the newcomers to the top 10 were Barry Gale
and Ryan Rodriguez in the Dentyne Ice/Simpson Motors/Nishikoi Fish
Foods Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI; after curing the Saturday fuel pressure
problems, which had left him 16th overnight, Gale was a man on a
mission on Sunday, finishing fifth on both the day's routes, to climb
to 10th by the finish.
Rally Barbados 2006 was rounds three and four of the Texaco BRC
Rally Championship; it was organised by the Barbados Rally Club in
association with Armstrong Agencies, Automotive Art Shell, Da Costa
Mannings Autocentre, Digicel, DMS Distributors.com, McEnearney Quality
Inc, Red Bull, Simpson Motors and Texaco West Indies. The event was
supported by The Boatyard, J E Security Systems & Services, Nassco,
Office Solutions & Systems, SBI Distribution and Stoute's Car
For further information:
e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
web sites - www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallycarnival.com
Jamaicans Gregg and Hutchinson prevail