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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 Team Report
Team Report: (Dri) Graeme Finlayson - SCO (Nav) Jamal Brathwaite
(MO Redline Oils/ Pagid/ Olaus Roe/ Hello/Quaife Engineering / George Polley / Yokohama Fluke WR1C)
Well, for us it was an up and down rollercoaster of a rally. Saturday morning and pouring rain was not exactly what we wanted to see, making the first run through the stages more of a sighting run due to the mud and gravel that got washed onto the roads. Taking it very easy in the morning just judging our times on the foreigners in our group we began to build up speed and confidence in each other.

Settling into an easy 75% rhythm the stages seemed to flow through quite easily and the car was performing excellently - service stops requiring nothing more than fluid and wheelnut checks. Moving onto the night stages was an eye opener as I have never had the chance to drive them before. It showed up a weak point in our package - our lights were woefully underpowered and badly misaligned. To his credit, it was Jamal that got us through the stages by not missing a single note, not one. Meaning that we came out the other end of the stage each time in one piece. Full credit to him.

We hit a problem on arrival to the second night-time Pickerins stage. After upgrading to a serious clutch package this year it appears the clutch cable couldn't take it and bent (we run a solid nylon clutch cable) so we had to wait for one to be shuttled out…all the way from service. After fitting it and getting our start time (18mins after the last car but before the sweeper and before the stage was shut) we got a drive-through on the stage but sadly no finish time. This gave us a DNS on the stage that we have to query (to be in the final results). Smoothly through the next night stages and home for a service check.

With Jamal and I servicing ourselves it meant just three hours sleep before it was time for Sunday's stages - which we were really looking forward to as they suit us so much more (fast, smooth roads). Hitting the limiter in sixth through Kendall and Stewarts Hill straight was great fun, being 140mph+ and seeing how late you could brake was a real test of nerves (for both driver and codriver!). Was funny pulling through all the gears with the look on Jamal's face "you've got another gear?!" as you pull yet more…

Going significantly faster on Sunday we started to make up a lot of places, car feeling great (despite a cracked exhaust header losing us power), flat-shift firing and I had full confidence in Jamal's notes and delivery. We even caught the car ahead (on pure speed) at the bottom of Stewarts Hill.

It was a shame the rally was terminated early due to spectator issues, I'm sure we'll hear the full story in due time so it would be wrong to jump conclusions but suffice to say it is a shame when a small minority of people (who aren't even rally fans) spoil it for the true rally spectators who enjoy the motorsport and socialising.

Onto Vaucluse, and despite the mudbath we decided to have some fun since the rally major was over. A good run round the first loop, the new tarmac giving a surprising (and misleading!) amount of grip. Coming down the main straight I took about 5mph more into the hairpin and broke about 4m later than normal. Coming onto the brakes they locked three times and just didn't slow the car down. Having the option of sending Jamal into the wall or going in nose first I chose nose first.

Jamal and I are both fine, the nosecone of the car doing it's job of a crash deformable structure. The car requires wishbones and some steering arms and we'll be good to go again (after a full check). A shame to get damage so late in the day but just happy we are okay and completed the rally.

We've got eight minutes or so of times to query (we were given an 8m30s time on a stage we did a 2m50s on and suchlike) on our final results but in the end, it was just so much fun competing, this time the results were irrelevant for us. We'll lower the gearing, tighten up the rear shocks, get some HID gas discharge lights and be back with the 1100cc engine to stop looking at foreign times and concentrate on those local ones…

Big thanks to all the marshals, spectators, crews, officials and sponsors that made this event possible. Here's to a great 2005.

Best Regards,

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