June Safari Report

The Barbados Rally Club celebrated the 60th running of the June Rally at the end of June 2017. The event, sponsored by Sol, formed Round 3 of the Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship and started at Applwhaites in St. Thomas just as the first June Rally did back in 1957. Graham Bannister flagged the vehicles off at the start just as his father did 60 years ago, sending the crews on the arduous task of navigating around 150 miles of surfaced and unsurfaced roads. The event comprised 4 routes set by 4 different route-setters, with Route 4 providing the opportunity for some of the event’s former competitors over the years to join in with those who went through the night.

Chris Armstrong and Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux) led after route 1, from Applewhaites to the Dinner Halt at Sol Speightstown, St Peter; the leading crews were closely-matched, with a spread of just 184 penalties from first to fifth. Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney were second, with last year’s winners Michael Ward and Warrick Eastmond third, and Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal fourth, followed by Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards.

As night set in for Route 2, Alleyne/O’Neal took over the lead, 128 penalties ahead of Armstrong and Clarke, an advantage they consolidated in route 3 where endurance was key. Sol Six Roads, St Philip was the sunrise restart on the Sunday where the Stalwarts joined the rally for Route 4. By now Cozier/Croney had moved up to second place, 254 penalties behind, with Corbin/Edwards third. The crews headed north-west to the Vaucluse Raceway (VRW)and no fewer than six crews completed the route without penalties.

When all of the calculations were done at the Vaucluse Raceway, Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal emerged victorious once again with this edition being Alleyne’s eighth win, O’Neal’s fourth and four together as a pair. They completed the event with 990 penalties, giving them a winning margin of 198 over Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney, with Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards third, 254 penalties behind.

Article published July 17, 2017

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