SKEETES SWAP ROLES FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2019
Roger Skeete, the most successful driver in the history of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, is switching roles with son Dane for Sol Rally Barbados 2019, the event’s 30th running. With 13 victories under his belt, ‘The Sheriff‘ is stepping down to facilitate “an all-Barbadian crew capable of taking the attack to them all“, swapping his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, which has won the event three times in his hands, with the Peugeot 306 Maxi in which Dane finished eighth overall last year.
On-line confirmation of the entries – on official web site rallybarbados.net – comes days after Dane won the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc’s Spring Blaze double-header last Sunday (March 17), using the first event of the season as “a shakedown”. With the Peugeot not yet ready, Roger looked proudly on from the sidelines as his son put the CO Williams Sand & Lime, Sol and Automotive Art-backed Impreza through its paces. Dane’s co-driver will again be Tyler Mayhew, with Roger’s yet to be confirmed.
Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed by Flow King of the Hill at its new Stewarts Hill location on the Sunday; in three decades, it has evolved from small beginnings as the All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.
Roger said: “At 64, it is not likely I can do what I used to do 15 to 20 years ago, so the Subaru is now in more capable hands to sustain a consistent attack on the opposition. Dane and Tyler give us an ‘all-Barbadian crew‘ – Barbados needs them to take the attack to them all. Dane is more than ready to drive the Subaru, he just needs time to become familiar with the additional weight that SM2 cars don’t have to carry.”
Of his performance on Sunday, when some of his moves in the tighter turns had the fans jumping, Dane said: “It was more a shakedown than anything else. The car was on some very old rubber and the surface was quite loose, so I used the opportunity to feel out how the car reacts to being tossed around a bit. I’m hoping that the Shakedown Stages are dry, so I can be a little tidier.
“In terms of seat time, I still have a long way to go. It’s going to take a while to build up the commitment level, especially in the high speed and heavy braking areas. The trickiest thing to deal with so far is the braking. The S12 carries a cool 250 kilos more than the 306 and that makes itself apparent under heavy braking.”
Roger is no stranger to Peugeot; his first five wins on the island’s premier event in the early 1990s came in 205 GTis, the sixth in a 306 S16: “I shall enjoy the iconic Peugeot Maxi. I still have a fondness for them and the Maxi is a great car. Simon Gillmore and I are still trying to get it together so the ‘Ol Boy’ can drive it effectively! There’s a huge difference between driving a WRC car and almost any other type in terms of ease and comfort. The Peugeot will be quick, but a lot of hard work, compared to the Subaru.” Dane added: “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my Dad in the Maxi.”