BARBER FAMILY OUTING ON CHEFETTE SUMMER SAFARI

photo by Image Vault, photograph of Austin Barber (right) and Mike Ward before the start of the season’s first Safari in July

MudDogs return to action Sunday

Barbados Rally Club (BRC) stalwart Biddy Barber returns to competition after a long break this weekend, when she lines up for the Chefette Summer Safari. Having competed many a time in navigational events with son Brett, Sunday (September 20) will see her first outing in the Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship with her 12-year-old grandson Austin.

With Covid-19 protocols in place – there will be temperature checks, masks and gloves in use for competitors and volunteers – Sunday’s event is the second of three rounds in the 2020 Championship, with the final scheduled for November; all will count towards year-end totals, with no dropped score. The first crew will leave Chefette Six Roads at 7.30am, heading in to a single six-hour route, set by 2018 Champion Navigator Andrew Croney and David Armstrong, the crew who finished third in last year’s standings. The finish at Golden Grove will be followed by a Driver Challenge at the same venue, with the results posted on Sunday evening.

One of the longest-standing members of the Rally Club – she first joined in the 1960s – Biddy and husband Chris raised two rally-mad children, Ali and Brett, who is the father of Austin; a hardened enthusiast who has always had time for the Club, her early days as a competitor spawned a life-time commitment to events, particularly navigational rallies. ‘Rally Granny’, as she is known by many, last competed for a full season in 2011, when she and Brett twice finished second in the five-round MudDogs Championship in their Mitsubishi Pajero, son fourth overall in the year-end Navigator points, mother fifth in the Driver standings.

As well as enjoying the enthusiastic encouragement of his family, third-generation competitor Austin has also been schooled in navigation by multiple champion Leslie Alleyne, ever keen to encourage newcomers in to his favourite motor sport discipline. The youngster was navigator in former June Rally winner Mike Ward’s Suzuki Vitara in this year’s first Safari in July, where the plan was only to complete two of the arduous overnight event’s three routes. When asked whether this was to ensure young Austin made it to bed at a respectable time, Ward joked: “Yes, we were tired after the second route and the low average speeds really sapped us. The decision to stop there was unanimous . . . but I must say that I was really glad, too!”

When they withdrew from the event at the midnight halt, Ward and Barber were an impressive fourth overall, having won Class B on both the first two routes. Ward added: “Austin is definitely one to watch once he continues on this path - he enjoys the sport and is really good company. He is super keen to the point of getting upset with himself when some instruction has him baffled. He was upbeat for the two routes we completed and only struggled actually finding the roads - plotting the map was a breeze.”

In July’s opening round, sponsored by Shelbury Construction, Chris King claimed his first victory with navigator Warrick Eastmond clocking up a second win in ‘The June’, while Dean Springer and Bridget Garity (Ford Ranger) were second, their best result yet. Armstrong and Croney (Toyota Hilux) narrowly beat Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins (Toyota Land Cruiser) to third place, while newcomers Shaquille Jemmott and Shanica Toppin were the Class B winners in their Suzuki Escudo. With all these crews apart from route-setters Armstrong and Croney entered on Sunday, a close contest is in prospect.

Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Round 2 – September 21 – Chefette Summer Safari
Class B

1 Abdullah Patel/Bilal Patel (Patels Equipment & Hardware/Aquarius Plumbing/Total Tools Mitsubishi L200)
5 Shaquille Jemmott/Shanica Toppin (DreamAuto Kustomz/Blvck Diamond Kustomz Suzuki Escudo)
8 Biddy Barber/Austin Barber (First Step Security Mitsubishi Pajero)
10 John Pinto/Kristina Pinto (Structural Systems GMC Sonoma)

Class A

2 Gary Mendes/George Mendes (G&G Sales and Service/Goodyear Tyres Daihatsu Rocky)
3 Christopher King/Warrick Eastmond (Nissan Frontier)
4 Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger)
6 Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning (Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai)
7 Ben Norris/Kirk Watkins (Toyota Land Cruiser)
9 Stephen Mayers/David Reece (Toyota Hilux)

Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship: Round 1 - Jul 25/26, Shelbury Construction Summer Safari (‘The June’); Round 2 - Sep 20, BRC MudDogs Summer Safari; Round 3 – Nov 14, Nassco November Safari

For media information only. No regulatory value.

For further media information, robin@bradfax.com
Web sites: www.barbadosrallyclub.comwww.muddogsbarbados.com

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