Shakedown proves valuable for local crews

Rallying the familiar Subaru Impreza WRC S12 in its new livery for the first time, Roger Skeete and Louis Venezia won the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Valvoline Shakedown Stages on Sunday (May 6) by just under 10 seconds from Trinidad’s John Powell. On a day of changing fortunes, Skeete won four of the 10 stages, Powell and last year’s winner Paul Bourne sharing the other six equally.

Skeete’s victory was overshadowed, however, by the late-afternoon incident in which motor sport journalist Trevor Thorpe and Island Constable Samuel Hackett were injured after being struck by a competing car. While prompt action by the BRC’s emergency services resulted in their swift transfer to QEH – both were discharged overnight after thorough tests – the mood on Sunday evening was muted.

On Monday, Clerk of the Course Barry Gale said: “It is excellent news that they have been discharged, and I would like to echo everyone’s best wishes to both gentlemen. I must say a massive ‘thank-you’, not just to Dr Brian Charles and our own emergency services team, but also for the impressive response from a number of medically-trained spectators, who assisted in whatever way they could.”

Satisfied with his day’s work in the Sol, Michelin, Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre and Simpson Motors-backed Impreza, Skeete said: “We had no problems, as we had prepared well for the event. The shakedown served its purpose, because we know some little areas we have to work on.”

For Powell, co-driven in the Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services/FT Farfan/Shell Impreza WRC S14 by local hero Trevor Manning, it was a step in the right direction, ahead of Sol Rally Barbados (June 9/10): “I enjoyed having Trevor sitting next to me, and it was definitely good to win a few stages, as I’ve never actually won stages in Barbados. I’m looking forward to next month, because the car and the driver have the potential . . . but it will be a tight one.”

Third-placed Sean Gill was another driver happy with the outcome: “We were a bit slow at the start, but were able to do top three times all day. It was a good shakedown and the car was flawless.” In the Simpson Motors/Automotive Art/Monster Energy/Shell V-Power Suzuki SX4 WRC, Gill and Michael Cummins were six seconds behind Powell.

Neil Armstrong and Barry Ward came fourth overall in the SuperModified 10 Chefette/Lubriguard/Hankook/Nassco/Redline Fuels/ARMAG Rentals Toyota Starlet; Skeete was the only driver they did not beat at least once and they led two-wheel-drive all day, despite minor brake issues.

Behind them came Stuart Maloney/Trevor Perkins (Automotive Art/Sign Station/Valvoline Peugeot 306 Maxi) and Roger and Barry Mayers, battling gearbox problems with the Chefette/Digicel/Automotive Art/Illusion Graphics Toyota Starlet. They were eighth and 10th overall and winners, respectively, of SM11 and SM9.

Seeded at number one with Megan Bryant co-driving the Chefette/LIME/Banks/Slam 101/MQI/Castrol Ford Focus WRC07, Bourne lost 10secs with a launch control problem on the first stage, then had recurring issues. He finished fifth, ahead of the remaining Modified 8-WRC drivers, Roger Hill (Esso/Nassco/MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC) and Dean Serrao (Sugar Ultra Lounge/Rush Restaurant Impreza WRC S9).

Hill said: “I still don’t think the car is working up to scratch and we had an interesting moment in the fast right before the Colleton 90, which was not a flat sixth-gear corner for me . . . but I tried to make it one, ending up well into the field, but I kept my foot down and got it back on the road.”

Winner Geoff Noel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) was ninth overall, winning Group N by nine seconds from Andrew Mallalieu (Impreza N10), who had one of his best outings since returning to the sport: “We won two Malvern runs in the morning, and were trading times with Geoff after lunch, which is a big improvement over last year.” Mark Hamilton (Evo IX) had been in the mix early on, leading by nearly two seconds when a selector shaft split on stage six, “a minor issue with a major consequence,” as he noted.

There were some stellar 2wd performances down the order, with M7 winner Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic), SM10 runner-up Ralph White (Starlet) and the SM11 BMW M3s of Brian Gill and Logan Watson all missing out on top 10 stage times by less than a second, Watson on no fewer than three occasions.

Sol Rally Barbados, Shell V-Power King of the Hill and the Valvoline Shakedown Stages are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB12 is the 23rd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the fifth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

VALVOLINE SHAKEDOWN STAGES
Provisional results

1st Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia (M8-WRC Sol/Michelin/Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre/Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12), 19m 49.27s
2nd John Powell – TRI/Trevor Manning (M8-WRC Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services/FT Farfan/Shell Subaru Impreza WRC S14), 19m 59.15s
3rd Sean Gill/Michael Cummins (M8-WRC Simpson Motors/Automotive Art/Monster Energy/Shell V-Power Suzuki SX4 WRC), 20m 05.84s
4th Neil Armstrong/Barry Ward (SM10 Chefette/Lubriguard/Hankook/Nassco/Redline Fuels/ARMAG Rentals Toyota Starlet), 20m 13.72s
5th Paul Bourne/Megan Bryant (M8-WRC Chefette/LIME/Banks/Slam 101/MQI/Castrol Ford Focus WRC07), 20m 16.24s
6th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (M8-WRC Esso/Nassco/MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC), 20m 51.39s
7th Dean Serrao/Clint Gregory (M8-WRC Sugar Ultra Lounge/Rush Restaurant Subaru Impreza WRC S9), 21m 15.06s
8th Stuart Maloney/Trevor Perkins (SM11 Automotive Art/Sign Station/Valvoline Peugeot 306 Maxi), 21m 16.54s
9th Geoff Noel/Kreigg Yearwood (P4 Globe Finance/Sentry Insurance Brokers/Cargo Solutions International Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 21m 26.80s
10th Roger Mayers/Barry Mayers (SM9 Chefette/Digicel/Automotive Art/Illusion Graphics Toyota Starlet), 21m 26.94s
etc
Modified 8-WRC: 1st Skeete/Venezia; 2nd Powell/Manning; 3rd S Gill/Cummins; etc
Modified 8-A: 1st Avinash Chatrani/Martin Goddard (Electric Avenue/Hankook/Solder Seal Gunk/Lubriguard/Sign Station Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI)
Production 4: 1st Noel/Yearwood; 2nd Andrew Mallalieu/Jeremy Foster (Terra Caribbean Subaru Impreza N10); 3rd Mark Hamilton/Clive Howell (CIBC-FCIB/Simpson Motors/MAXI Malta/PowerMaster/Boston Seasoning/Automotive Art Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
SuperModified 11: 1st Maloney/Perkins; 2nd Logan Watson/Rhett Watson (Oreo/Chips Ahoy!/Club Social/Formula1 High Performance Auto Care Products/Liquid Wrench/Sign Depot/The Unknown Entity/In support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3); 3rd, Brian Gill/Heath Hazell (Coca Cola BMW M3); etc
SM10: 1st Armstrong/Ward; 2nd Ralph White/Joe Troulan (Barbados Villa Services/Island Safari/Amsoil Toyota Starlet); 3rd Nigel Reece/David Reece (Subzero Services/IGM Air Conditioners/Ullyetts Machine Shop Service/Valvoline/Gatorade/Frito-Lay/Trident International Ford Escort MkI); etc
SM9: 1st Mayers/Mayers; 2nd Allan Maynard/Marcus Beck (Marshall Trading/Lubriguard/Roberts Manufacturing Toyota Starlet); 3rd Carlos Edwards/Andre Waithe (Courts I-Finance/Enermax Toyota Starlet); etc
M7: 1st Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (Ellco Rentals/Mom’s Pasta Products/MQI/Roberts Manufacturing Honda Civic); 2nd Kyle Catwell/Norman Catwell (Chicken Pen Racing/Kumho/Valvoline/Mackeson/Ellesmere Quarries Volkswagen Golf GTI); 3rd Sean Field/Darnley Rayside (Beacon Insurance/Castrol/Landscapes in Harmony/Field Insurance Brokers/Ackee Tree Restaurant Peugeot 306 GTi6); etc
M6: 1st Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (Valvoline/Mackeson/Kumho/Ellesmere Quarries/Codgi’s Customs Brokers/Chicken Pen Racing/AutoPlus Motors Mitsubishi Mirage RS); 2nd Jeremy Croney/Damien Johnson (Peugeot 206); 3rd Shareef Walcott/Rashid Phillips (Castrol/Melwani’s/Rallymaxx/Sammy Lee Towing & Recovery Toyota Corolla); etc
P2: 1st Fabien Clarke/Arlington Hoyte (Barbados Business Listings/RCR Tours/Bovell Auto Repair/Simple Trucking Suzuki Ignis Sport); 2nd Paul Inniss/Jan-Yves Hinds (HIV Aids Commission/Illusion Graphics/Bartex Concrete Works/Downes Auto Body Repair/Erie Tyre Services/J’s Freighting Honda Civic)

Sol Rally Barbados, Shell V-Power King of the Hill and the Valvoline Shakedown Stages are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB12 is the 23rd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the fifth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

Web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com

Winner Roger Skeete, second-placed John Powell and the highest-placed two-wheel-drive car of Neil Armstrong
Photos by Sean Chandler/vtcarribean.com

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