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Neil on cloud 9

Stefan Walker

Neil on cloud 9

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Last Weekend’s EZ Pave MCBI Rally of the Sun and Stars produced a host of two wheel drives headed by winner Neil Armstrong.
The results from the Motoring Club Barbados event may have been a one-off, but it brought with it a sense of history for it may never happen again.
This rally also received high praise from the drivers as it was one of the very few that finished before its time.?More impressive is that it did do after starting 45 minutes late.
Kudos must go out to the organizers and, most important, the marshals.
The highest praise goes out to the two-wheel drive boys who successfully invaded the Top 5 after all the top drivers bowed out of the event. In first place was Neil Armstrong who once again had Barry Ward alongside him.
For Armstrong, it would have been his first overall win in his specially built Toyota Starlet.
“It’s a very good feeling, a feeling of accomplishment,” Armstrong said. “We worked hard. We’ve been pushing hard, pushing the boundaries of what we could do with the car and trying to improve my driving step by step.”
Armstrong said he didn’t really want to win a rally in such a manner, but that was just the way things happened.
After Jeffrey Panton, who had been leading, did not restart following the dinner stop, Armstrong and Ward knew they were leading but they also knew that Roger Skeete would have been a serious threat.
Skeete soon regained the lead and Armstrong knew it would be pointless to push after him.
When Skeete ran off the road, even though he felt bad, Armstrong knew that the rally was his if he could make it to the finish, so he settled himself and drove smartly.
Third place Rhett Watson was satisfied with his spot.
“It was within our reach going into the last two stages, and then passing Skeete off the road in the second to last stage, pretty much confirmed it,” he said.
In the evening stages, Watson enjoyed an intense battle with Roger Hill which was originally for the third place but soon turned into a battle for second.
Having his most impressive result in recent times was Ralph White, who was also in a Toyota Starlet.
White said he had a very good event with one or two minor issues. The car has come along by leaps and bounds over the last two years as he has spent time developing the vehicle.
“To finish fourth was real good. Fourth is fourth, real excellent. I had a new co-driver in Tony Pile and he was also a great help.”
Completing the quartet was Stuart Mchlery whose Escort has been passed down through the family after his father drove it back in the 1970s.
“I had a lot of fun. It felt like when I first started rallying. Everything worked well.?The event ran really smooth, a great event,” Mchlery said.
He and co-driver Julian Goddard had no idea of the times or that they were in a such a great position.