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BRC Rally Barbados 2004,
Island Wide,
May 29 & 30, 2004
Intro Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 BRC Report
News From The Barbados Rally Club.

Skeete Moves In To Number 10
Demanding weekend for 89 crews

Roger Skeete (right) notched up a memorable 10th win in the 15-year history of the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) premier event with victory on Rally Barbados 2004 at the weekend (May 29/30). Changeable weather conditions on Saturday posed major problems for drivers, while some crowd disturbances on Sunday resulted in the cancellation of a number of stages; 24 of the planned 32 were run.

With co-driver Dave Crawford - Skeete's partner in seven of his previous triumphs and the senior engineer on the car - 'The Sheriff' completed the demanding two-day event nearly 50 seconds clear of last year's winning crew, Paul Bourne and Louis Venezia. The 1999 winner Trevor Manning, with co-driver James Betts, finished third.

Of the 89 crews that left the start at Simpson Motors on Saturday morning, 42 were classified as overall finishers, split equally 21-21 between local entries and those from overseas that had travelled to contest the fourth Barbados Rally Carnival. Highest-placed overseas crew on Rally Barbados 2004 were Englishmen Kevin Procter and Mike Gilby, who finished an impressive fifth.

But the story of the event might have been very different. Rising young star Roger Mayers had dominated the first day of competition in his Trivial Pursuit/McEnearney Quality Ford Focus WRC. With co-driver Max Ferri, Mayers was fastest on nearly all the first day's stages, leading by 40 seconds after stage 15, Automotive Art Shell Canefield; this proved to be the last of the day, as delays caused by the weather and a number of accidents resulted in the cancellation of the final two.

Roger Mayers

As Mayers left that final stage, however, the oil pressure dropped to nothing and, once the car had been nursed back to base, an engine failure was diagnosed, caused by a minute sliver of metal. It was a sore disappointment for Mayers, although younger brother Barry was once again in giant-killing mood, well into the top 10 in his Trivial Pursuit Toyota Starlet.

Although Mayers was no longer at the front, Sunday would still prove to be an interesting day. Skeete, who had experienced a couple of problems with the Havoline/McEnearney Quality/Michelin Ford Escort WRC on Saturday, was now really flying, although Bourne/Venezia (Banks/Havoline/Williams Industries/Pirelli Subaru Impreza WRC) was in determined mood, too, the experienced pair swapping fastest times during the morning.

In third place - and destined to stay there - were Manning and Betts, 'Electric Micey' still getting used to his new Automotive Art/Courts/Kerridge/Yokohama Simpson Motors Rally Team Mitsubishi Evo VIII (right). The gaps between these three crews were roughly equal at the start of the day, around 40 seconds each.

But there was a tremendous battle in progress just behind them between the English crew Procter/Gilby (Motoscope/Procters Coaches Ford Escort Cosworth) and Bajans Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (Mobil 1/Nassco/Michelin/Motor Mac Toyota Celica GT4). At the start of the day, Hill was ahead by a little under 4secs, then Procter moved in front, only for Hill to snatch back the advantage on the rally's longest stage, the 8.1-kilometre Da Costa Mannings AutoCentre Kendal. Once ahead, Hill was not to be denied, not least thanks to the cancellation of the final two runs through the long Kendal stage, then the loss of three more late-afternoon stages, on the recommendation of the Royal Barbados Police Force, which had been called in to deal with some disturbances.

The younger Mayers brother, with co-driver Adam Hart, finished in sixth place for the second year running, an impressive achievement in the two-wheel-drive Starlet; Barry Gale/Ryan Rodriguez (Automotive Art/Courts/Kerridge/Yokohama/Simpson Motors Rally Team Mitsubishi Evo VI) claimed a hat-trick of Group N victories, finishing seventh overall, while Sean Dowding/Jason Cozier (Pro Pac/Globe Finance Mitsubishi Evo V) finished eighth, their second top 10 finish in succession.

Another solid drive from former British champion Harold Morley and Geoff Goddard claimed ninth place for the Sunbeach Subaru Impreza WRC, while the delighted Jonathan Still and Heath Hazell finished a crowd-pleasing 10th in the rumbling Nescafe/Philips Lighting/Castrol/Crane & Equipment BMW M3.

Procter (right) was not the only European driver to impress: co-driven by Bajan Michael Carrington, Olly Clark, son of the late Roger Clark, Britain's leading rally driver of the 1960s and '70s, finished 11th and second in Group N in his Mitsubishi Evo V, maintaining the car's 100 per cent finishing record; Ray Brammer/Steve Lloyd (Subaru Impreza) finished 15th, while Ernst Harrach/Josef Pointinger finished 17th overall, winning the historic class and the Andrew Phillips King of the Carnival Trophy, which gives Harrach a free entry to next year's Barbados Rally Carnival.

Northern Ireland's John Hardman won Group B, co-driven in his four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta by Jim Holder; Scotland's Kenny Hall/Colin Smith (Opel Corsa) won Modified 5 and Irish crew Martin Taylor/Peter Gallagher (Proton Satria) Production 2.

There was less luck for the regional crews, none of which managed a top 10 finish this year. Highest-placed were Jamaicans Peter Moodie Jnr/Mike Fennell Jnr (Mitsubishi Evo VI) (right), who finished 12th after an charging Sunday run, which promoted them from 18th overnight after Saturday turbo problems. Fellow-countrymen Noel Golding Jnr/Peter Clarke (Suzuki Swift) finished 26th overall and third in Modified 6.

One of Jamaica's strongest crews, Gary Gregg/Hugh Hutchinson, were involved in a major accident in the fourth on Saturday's stages, when the Mitsubishi Evo VI left the road and struck a power pole. Hutchinson was only shaken, but Gregg suffered injuries to his right leg, from which he is already recovering well.

The BRC's new group of awards for Rally Barbados 2004 was popular with local as well as overseas crews. The DMS Distributors.com Sunday Cup provided a separate rally-within-a-rally - and the chance to take home a trophy - for those crews who failed to complete all the Saturday stages, based only on their Sunday performance.

Winning crew was Bajan crowd favourite Martin Stockdale/Mark Swallow (BMW M3 GTR); the English pair had missed seven of Saturday's stages with a variety engine problems, including oil leaks which proved hard to trace.

Rally Barbados 2004 was organised by the BRC in association with Automotive Art Shell, Banks, DaCosta Mannings Autocentre, Digicel, DMS Distributors.com, McEnearney Quality and Simpson Motors Inc. The event was supported by Abacus Builders, The Boatyard, Nassco, Orchard Vibe, Stoute's Car Rental Ltd and Total Sport.

The Barbados Rally Carnival comprised two international motor sport events: on May 23, competitors tackle the Total Sport International SuperSprint at the Bushy Park racetrack (replacing the planned RallySprint at the Vaucluse Raceway); on May 29/30 crews contested Rally Barbados 2004.

2001 JustBajan.com®. Contact: e-mail info@JustBajan.com, Tel: (246) 429-6779