MAKING A POINT AT SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2015
As competitors in the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Driver’s and Class Championships prepare for the two most important weekends of the year – LIME King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados 2015 – Reigning Champion Rhett Watson has picked up where he left off last year, leading the standings by two points from Wayne Archer, with Justin Campbell, Jeremy Croney and Paul Horton tied for third, three further points behind.
With two of the eight rounds run, SuperModified 12 class-leader Watson (BMW M3) has a perfect record, with two class wins and the maximum possible 35 points; he is helped by competing in one of the more popular classes, as the points scale is reduced if there are fewer than three starters, which has affected Archer (Historic BMW 325), who has also accrued two class wins, but against reduced competition in the opening round.
Campbell (M3) has twice finished second to Watson in SM12, while Croney (Clubman Peugeot 206XS) is another to have achieved two wins, but once with a depleted class; Horton, who travels from the Turks & Caicos Islands to contest Modified 7 in his Ford Escort MkI, has twice finished second.
Horton is not alone in inter-island travel: the WRC-1 and 4wd standings are both led by Trinidad’s John Powell (Ford Focus WRC08), with Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Focus WRC08) second in the class and WRC-2 class-leader Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC) second in 4wd. Andrew Mallalieu (Subaru Impreza N10) is third in 4wd and leads Group N from Trinidad’s David Coelho (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), another regular at BRC events.
In the 2wd title chase, Watson has a five-point advantage over Campbell, who is tied in second place with SM11 points-leader Andrew Jones (Escort MkII), with Barry Mayers (WR Starlet) fourth after his 2wd victory in the Shakedown Stages.
British drivers and co-drivers who will soon be heading to the Caribbean for Sol Rally Barbados 2015 enjoyed mixed fortunes in the IMGold Manx National Rally at the weekend (May 8/9), with the biggest disappointment suffered by double Sol RB winner Paul Bird – he retired, while leading, for the second year in a row.
With co driver Aled Davies in his Ford Focus WRC08, ‘Birdy’ looked set to add to his wins of 2009, 2010 and 2013 after he followed five out of six stage wins in dreadful conditions on Friday night with three more on Saturday’s opening four stages.
On the bright side, there was a class win for Aled Edwards, who will co-drive for Sol RB14 runner-up Rob Swann this year in the absence of regular partner, Darren Garrod; in the Manx, Edwards finished 13th overall and won class B12 in a Citroen DS3 with Andrew Hockridge. Simon Mauger, whose Major Motorsport Ford Escort MkII is already in Barbados, finished seventh on the Isle of Man in his Metro 6R4/4M4, retaining his lead in the REIS National Asphalt Rally Championship.
Less fortunate was Steve McNulty, who will co-drive for Mauger’s father, Dick – the Proton Satria he was co-driving for Alan Oldfield ended up stuck on a bank, while other casualties included Nigel Worswick, whose Ford Escort WRC retired mid-way through Saturday, and Ashley Trimble (he will co-drive in Sol RB15 for Oliver Hopkins), who sat with Bob Fowden until his B13 Subaru Impreza’s gearbox gave up on Friday evening.