Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson

Crucial event for Rally Club Championship on Sunday

Crucial event for Rally Club Championship on Sunday

Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson

Sunday’s (August 27) Double-Header Barbados Rally Club Summer Sprint looks set to be a turning point in the BRC Driver’s & Class Championships. There are two points-scoring opportunities on offer – the event counts as rounds five and six – and, with just one round remaining, Sunday’s results will play a major part in the outcome of the chase for the coveted Champion Driver title, also for victory in the 11 contested classes.

Thirty-six drivers are listed on the running order published Friday, with double Sol Rally Barbados winner Dane Skeete seeded at number one in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12. At two and three are the Skoda Fabia Rally2 evos of Stuart Maloney and Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton, who are separated by just four points in the battle for the FIA R5 class, with six more R5s in the top 12, led by Panton’s fellow countryman Kyle Gregg (Ford Fiesta Rally2).

Many fans will focus their attention on the fight for two-wheel-drive honours, with brothers Roger and Barry Mayers seeded at five and seven in Toyota WR Starlet and Fiesta respectively. Roger leads both the 2wd and SuperModified 2 class standings by 28 points after Barry failed to finish the final day of Sol RB23, but Barry hopes a new engine this weekend will return him to contention: “It feels great, actually faster than ever, but maybe that’s because have not driven it for two months. This weekend should be hot competition with Roger, he does have a bit of an upper hand, since he has driven about three-quarters of the course in RB, but I will be chasing him down for 2wd victory.”

But there’s more to the 2wd story than the brothers Mayers, with only seven points covering second to fifth: Neil Corbin (Toyota GT86 CS-R3), Logan Watson (BMW M3) and Andrew Jones (Ford Escort MkII) are next up and they will be joined on Sunday by Watson’s older brother Rhett, who won back-to-back Champion Driver titles in 2014 & ’15, top 2wd in Sol Rally Barbados in both years. Not seen in competition since the 2020 Winter Rally and not involved in this year’s title chase, he is aiming to have some fun.

With his revitalised BMW M3 ready to go at his St Philip workshop, Watson says: “I’ve lost a couple of years of development against the competition in my group and to commit to driving to try and catch them would be a bit foolish. I noticed that in 2020, when I was sliding around and let Barry and Jonesy fight it out for the championship in 2wd I got a big, big jump in reaction and shares on Facebook. As I’m not involved in the Championship at the moment, I think the plan would be to finish out this year and do the same thing, so a lot of sliding around and showboating and see if we can get the views and shares and likes for the sponsors and myself back up to where they used to be.”

Roger Mayers also shares the points lead in the Champion Driver title chase with Corbin, but the Modified 2 class leader is in one of the six classes that are not fully subscribed on Sunday, so will therefore score reduced points. Two more such drivers currently in the Top 10 overall – Jamaican Horatio Brown (M1 Citroen C2R2) and American George Sherman (M4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) – are in the same boat and, with three more of the Top 10 not entered on Sunday, a comprehensive shake-up in the standings is on the cards.

There will be four timed runs in each direction on a roughly four-kilometre course in St George, round five from Drax Hall and Ellesmere, round six in the reverse direction. The Service Park is at Ellco Rentals in Ellerton Yard, St George, where scrutineering will start at 9.00am and a Briefing Meeting will be held ahead of the start of round five at 11.00am. There will be the usual break after the first four runs to allow the stage crews to prepare for the reverse direction, with the event expected to be finished by 5.00pm.

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