Photo by Corey Reece/Image Vault

Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal made an excellent start to their title defence when the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari & Safari Novice Championships got under way with the March Safari last Sunday (March 6). They won both routes in the south-east corner of the island in the Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max to end the day 282 penalties to the good.

  And they were not the only crew with cause for celebration, as Wayne Manning and Willie Hinds claimed their best Safari result since they teamed up to campaign the AS Auto Stop Suzuki Samurai; they were within striking distance of the winners on both routes, but had to settle for second. Their previous best together had been third in the April Safari in 2014, although Hinds already has one second-place finish to his credit, in September 2007, when he was Navigator to Michael Ward.

  Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins carried over the good form they showed throughout last season, to finish third in the Birdies Restaurant Ford Ranger; this was their fifth consecutive top three finish, second twice and third three times, so that elusive win can surely not be far away.

  In the Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship, last year’s runners-up, Richard Hinkson and Kevin-John Manning prevailed in the Goodyear Tyres Suzuki Samurai, winning both routes and finishing ninth overall. The Highest-placed Female competitor was Renata Roett, Navigator to George Mendes in the G & G Sales & Services Inc Mitsubishi L200 Sportero; they finished sixth.

  With three consecutive Driver and Navigator titles behind them, Alleyne and O’Neal were on form from the start, unlike last year, when they started the season with a sixth-place finish in the March Safari, leaving them playing catch-up. Alleyne said: “For a change, we were not too rusty to start the season! The rally was very well set with quite a few well thought-out tricks.

  “I remember seeing Chris Armstrong at a D Check and he gave us a wrong direction penalty, with a smile and said: ‘Young man, I see you need to clean your glasses!’ We had turned into a road that had two gateposts; by the time we saw them it was too late. It was very hot and dusty, but nonetheless a most enjoyable day of rallying. We must thank the route setters for a job well done, as well as the marshals who came out to assist while enduring the dust and heat.”

  Route-setters for the season-opener were Nicholas Branson, Andrew Pinto and Mark Western; the first route started at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association (BCTSA) Club House at Searles, Christ Church and finished at the Armag Shop in St Philip; after the lunch halt, crews headed for the finish at Wells House in the same parish.

  After last night’s (Tuesday) Prizegiving at the BCTSA Club House, BRC MudDogs Sub-committee Chairman Ricky Holder said: “We had a great evening, everyone commented on what a great time they had on the Safari, even if there was a real lack of mud! Although we did not have a title sponsor, I would like to thank Lucky Horseshoe and Courtesy Garage for donating some of the prizes.”

  There is now an unusually long break before the second round of the Championship, as the Chefette Safari has moved from its traditional April date and will take place on Saturday, May 14.

March Safari, March 6 Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – round 1 

1st Leslie Alleyne/Chris O’Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max), 571 penalties 2nd Wayne Manning/Willie Hinds (AS Auto Stop Suzuki Samurai), 853pens 3rd Ben Norris/Kirk Watkins (Birdies Restaurant Ford Ranger), 1034pens 4th Nicholas Pinto/Derek Gill (Jeep Grand Cherokee), 1276 pens 5th Michael Ward/Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire & Security Suzuki Jimny), 1327pens 6th George Mendes/Renata Roett (G & G Sales & Services Inc Mitsubishi L200 Sportero), 1846pens 7th Derek Pinto/Adam Hunte (Impulse Services Inc Toyota Hilux), 2276pens 8th Nicholas Lorde/Brett Barber (Konstruk Caribbean Inc/Comfeet/Sam Lorde’s Enterprises/First Step Rentals Mitsubishi L200 Sportero), 2960pens 9th Richard Hinkson/Kevin-John Manning (Goodyear Tyres Suzuki Samurai), 3400pens 10th Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger), 3532pens etc Route 1 – 1st Alleyne/O’Neal, 217pens; 2nd W Manning/Hinds, 435pens; 3rd Ward/Eastmond, 446pens; 4th Norris/Watkins, 585pens; 5th N Pinto/Gill, 728pens; etc Route 2 – 1st Alleyne/O’Neal, 360pens; 2nd W Manning/Hinds, 418pens; 3rd Mendes/Roett, 445pens; 4th N Pinto/Gill, 548pens; 5th D Pinto/Hunte, 642pens; etc

Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship – round 1

1st Hinkson/K Manning, 3400pens – 9th overall 2nd Christopher Haywood/Nicholas Czuchnicki (Courtesy Garage & Rent a Car/ZNA/Tropical Battery/Windforce Tyres ZNA Rich), 4448pens – 12th o/a Route 1 – 1st Hinkson/K Manning, 2101pens; 2nd Haywood/Czuchnicki, 2350pens Route 2 – 1st Hinkson/K Manning, 1299pens; 2nd Haywood/Czuchnicki, 2098pens


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