Leslie Alleyne, who claimed his 11th win in the Chefette MudDogs June Safari last weekend (June 24/25), was quick to commend the performances of the navigational rallying newcomers. For Alleyne’s navigator Chris O’Neal, it was a seventh win on highlight of the MudDogs’ calendar, which this year marked the 66th Anniversary of the formation of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC).
They incurred 505 penalties in their Pod Store/Maxxis/Lucky Locks Suzuki Jimny, giving them a margin of 181 over Simon Parravicino and Andrew Croney in the Realtors Ltd Jeep Wrangler, Croney on the podium for the third time. Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins (Jeep Rubicon), who won what is affectionately known as ‘The June’ in 2019, finished third, ahead of Class B winners Stephen and Ben Moore (Moore & Moore Services/Maxxis Isuzu DMax). The top six was completed by Stephen Mayers and David Reece (Toyota Hilux) and the event’s only all-female crew, Biddy Barber and Bridget Garrity in their KG Enterprises Suzuki Samurai.
All 10 crews which started the 16-hour overnight test of skill and endurance completed the event, which is unusual in itself, particularly for an event covering nearly 200 kilometres. Alleyne said: “Despite the unfortunately low entry, all the crews made it successfully to the finish, which is commendable, particularly for the newer competitors. This would have been an excellent event for a newcomer, as you were able to follow along and learn while doing so.
“Worthy of mention is the fourth place in route two for George Mendes and Leslie Evanson; very consistent throughout, they were the only crew to get one of the many controls correct! They were also one of only three crews which got another of the controls correct, those three also including Tyrone Chase and Sameisha Williams, who have stuck with us in every event for the year. We can see great progress, which will soon be shown in the results tally – keep it up! Young Josh Richings entered in an immaculately turned-out classic Suzuki SJ40 that impressed us all. He seems very keen and I hope he will be back for many more!”
Alleyne and O’Neal won the first route, which started at Chefette Charles Rowe Bridge in St George at 2.01pm on Saturday and finished around four hours later at Chefette Six Roads, St Philip. Parravicino and Croney were second, the Moores third and Mayers and Reece fourth. Two Driver Challenges just outside the Bushy Park Barbados Pit Gate ended route one and started the longer route two, which carried the crews to a second stop-over at Chefette Warrens at around 1.15am.
In his best performance of the year so far in the Challenges, Parravicino won the first and finished second in the other to be the highest points-scorer of the day, ahead of Alleyne, who won the second Challenge, with George Mendes and Norris tied for third.
Alleyne and O’Neal increased their advantage over Parravicino and Croney on route two, again the top two; the Moores remained third, while eighth place on this leg dropped Mayers and Reece to fifth behind Norris and Watkins, who finished third. The final route headed into the north of the island, finishing at the Vaucluse Raceway in St Thomas at 6.00am Sunday, with Alleyne and O’Neal the event winners, despite conceding the final route to Norris and Watkins, with Parravicino and Croney third and Barber and Garrity an impressive fourth.
Of their own experiences over the weekend, Alleyne added: “It was a pleasant surprise to see the result yesterday. I had predicted that it would be closer and that one of the others had probably won. There are so many unknowns and it shows that you must keep focused right to the very end and see where the dust settles. Huge thanks to the route setters, marshals and the challenge crew, all of whom did an amazing job. The technical challenges were a nice twist which showed that aggressive driving was not always the quickest way. As always, big thanks to our sponsors, Maxxis, Pod Store & Lucky Locks, their support has been integral in our success.”
Route-setters Warwick Eastmond and Chris King, themselves former winners of ‘The June’ in 2020, had some thanks of their own to offer: “To Mike Ward and Derek Gill for their advice after checking the route and sweeping the event very efficiently; Brett Barber and the Challenge Crew for their hard work in preparing and running the challenges; Barry Ward for donating his time and equipment to clear and prepare the area for the challenges; Johnny Pinto for securing the necessary permissions for use of land and all of the very dedicated marshals who worked the entire event and through the night! And, last but not least, our thanks to the competitors.”
‘The June’ is the longest-established motor sport event in the region with a continuous history, although it was not run in 2021 when prevailing Covid-19 protocols prevented driver and navigator sitting in a vehicle together; weeks after the inaugural event was run, the organising committee called the participants together – there had been a 60-strong entry in 1957 – and agreed to form the BRC, which is now the oldest organisation in the island devoted to a sport not played with a ball and the oldest motor sport club in the region still bearing its original name.