Skeete Moves In To Number 10
Demanding weekend for 89 crews
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
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.
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.
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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.