After a break of nearly 5 months, the Barbados Rally Club's 2018 season began with the Motorsport Season's first rally, the Carter's Pit Stop Shakedown Stages. This event was staged at two venues in the rural parish of St. John; Society to Pool and Wilson Hill to Malvern. With each stage slated to have five runs in the day, the 40 entrants faced just over 40km of competitive driving.
Speed Team drivers Rhett and Barry came under starter's orders to run their machines through their paces in an event which gives crews their best gauge heading into Sol Rally Barbados. Barry had started the process a fortnight earlier at the Lambert's Sprint. Still making adjustments to the car's setup, the unpredictable weather and stage conditions made it difficult for Barry and co-driver Ben Norris to get into a groove. Despite this, the crew was able to come away with the class win in SM2 ahead of Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker who has emerged as their main competition in the group thus far. After the event, Barry remained optimistic and acknowledged there was still some work to be done; "Today was up and down with the weather conditions. We did some more changes on the car which we were happy with especially on the dry tarmac. However, the pace isn't there yet on the wet tarmac."
This event served as Rhett's season opener. Partnering him for this event was Bradley Weekes. The pair didn't take long to dust off their cobwebs and were quickly leading their class and went onto set fastest times in the group from Stage 2 onwards. Although trailing Clarke in the 2WD runnings before lunch, Rhett was able to find back some time as conditions played into his hands to finish fastest 2WD. He stated that "The day went pretty good and I took the first two stages to try a new tire. They felt good and we had the confidence to push a bit more. After lunch I had some good runs in the wet where we pulled back like 10 seconds, only to have a spin on SS8 and undo it."
The Shakedown Stages proved to be good for just that. The teams now have to make the necessary changes and put the preparations into high gear for activities of the weekends to come such as the Chefette Fun Run, Speed Team Lime, Sol Rally Barbados Rally Show, Flow King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados.