MUDDOGS PREPARE FOR ALL-NIGHT JUNE SAFARI
Three routes, two Driver Challenges, 200 kilometres
Crews contesting the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 2019 Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship are making final preparations for the toughest challenge of the year. With three routes totaling almost 200 kilometres, two tough Driver Challenges and a route that touches all but one of the island’s parishes, this weekend’s (June 29/30) June Safari will be a real test of mental and physical stamina.
‘The June’ is the longest-established motor sport event in the region with a continuous history; weeks after it was first run in 1957, the organising committee called together the 60 or so participating crews and agreed to form the BRC. While it has been superseded by Sol Rally Barbados as the Club’s premier event, ‘The June’ remains a keystone of the calendar, and victory is on many a Club member’s ‘bucket’ list. With only six former winners on this year’s entry list, there is a real chance that new names could be added to the 71 currently listed on the event’s Roll of Honour.
Navigational rally veterans Leslie Alleyne and Wayne Clarke are the most successful of the previous winners entered. Alleyne tops the table with two victories as Navigator and seven as Driver and will be hoping to add to his remarkable record in his Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max, along with five-time winning Navigator Chris O’Neal. Clarke’s six wins have all come as Navigator, two with Don Hunte in the early 1990s, then four since 2000 with Chris Armstrong, the last in 2013; they, too, are ready for this weekend’s challenge in their Toyota Hilux.
Andrew Mallalieu is also driving a Hilux, with son Alexander as Navigator; between 1989 and ’97, with Navigator Sean Gill, Mallalieu won ‘The June’ four times, which remained the highest number of wins in the shortest time frame until Alleyne’s recent run of success. Navigator Warrick Eastmond is also a former winner, with Michael Ward in 2016, but sits again this weekend with Christopher King in a Nissan Frontier.
Of those yet to win, Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins are arguably the most deserving of joining the Roll of Honour, having finished on the podium three times in the past five years, in 2014 with Watkins driving a Hilux, in 2015 with Norris at the wheel of a Ford Ranger, then last year’s second place, with Norris again the driver in the Toyota Land Cruiser they campaign again this year.
Route-setters for the June Safari are former MudDogs crew-mates Jason Downey and Noel Edwards, along with Philip McConney, himself a previous winning Navigator, with the late Kenny Croney in 2004, then in the 50th Anniversary event in 2007 with Tyrone Moseley. The route will touch all but one of the island’s parishes – only St James is missed out - as Downey explains: “From the 3.00pm start at CGI Tower in Warrens, the first route makes its way through St Thomas, heading south-east through St Joseph and St John into St Philip. The first Driver Challenge will be at Edgecumbe Plantation around 5.30pm, shortly before the dinner stop at Chefette Six Roads at 6.30pm.
“The restart is scheduled for 8.30pm, route two keeping to the east coast of the island, winding its way up to St Andrew, then across to Chefette Speightstown for the midnight stop. The final route starts at 1.30am and covers the north of the island - St Peter, St Lucy and St Andrew – before heading back through St Thomas to the finish at the CGI Tower around 6.00am.”
The three routes total a little under 200 kilometres, route one at 55km, route two running in to the night at 60km, with the third route the longest at 80km. The June Safari will use both BRC and Tulip navigation, while Downey’s final thought on the forthcoming weekend is this: “We have used roads which are not designed to destroy the average pick-up, but having a set of good 'mud terrain’ tyres would be an asset, especially given the rain last Sunday.”
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Round 2 – June 29/30 – BRC June Safari
1 David Armstrong/Andrew Croney (Toyota Hilux)
2 Ben Norris/Kirk Watkins (Toyota Land Cruiser)
3 Christopher King/Warrick Eastmond (Nissan Frontier)
4 George Mendes/Gary Mendes (G&G Sales and Service Daihatsu Rocky)
7 Leslie Alleyne/Chris O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max)
8 Stephen Mayers/David Reece (Toyota Hilux)
9 Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger)
10 Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning (Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai)
13 Chris Armstrong/Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux)
5 Damien Johnson/Justin Lynch (Suzuki Samurai)
6 Andrew Mallalieu/Alexander Mallalieu (Toyota Hilux)
11 Sam Ramsey/tba (Suzuki Samurai)
12 John Pinto/Adam Hunte (Structural Systems/Amsoil GMC Sonoma)
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship: Round 1 - April 13, Chefette April Safari; Round 2 - Jun 29/30, BRC MudDogs June Safari; Round 3 - Sep 14, BRC MudDogs September Safari; Round 4 – Oct 20, Nassco October Safari. Non-championship: May 1 - MudFest
For media information only. No regulatory value.