Betts, Costelloe second in Jamaica
A broken rear axle was not enough to stop the pair of James Betts and Jason Costelloe from taking second place in last weekend’s Rally Jamaica organised by the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club.
They finished with a total elapsed time of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 39.577 seconds, compared with 1 hour, 28 minutes, 07.008 seconds returned by winners Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell Jr in a Ford Focus WRC.
Competing in Group JA 8, much rested on the shoulders of Betts and Costelloe after the top Barbadian pair of Sean Gill and Michael “Zippy” Cummins in the Simpson Motors/Shell V-Power/Monster Energy Suzuki SX4 crashed out of the rally early Saturday morning and last year’s winners John “Penti” Powell and Nick Telfer in a Subaru Impreza crashed out in the afternoon.
Both pairs were unhurt, but the cars were extensively damaged in the event which attracted 23 cars from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, United States and hosts Jamaica.
Betts and Costelloe, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, went to the overnight stop in second place with the knowledge that they, and their works crew from Stewart’s Motors, had much work to do.
“We knew that we had to replace the rear axle and we set about doing it. We had picked up a three-minute penalty battling with the problem before the stop over, but we were determined to be cautious and give of our best,” Betts said.
“Our mechanical crew did a fantastic job under the conditions and worked hard to ensure we were in with a chance.”
And although it was the first time competing in Jamaica for Costelloe, Betts said his co-driver had equipped himself well to the task and the result that they were able to achieve was a total team effort.
They were also the highest placed overseas competitors and took away the prize donated by Club Kingston and the special prize from Knutsford Court Hotel for winning their group JA 8. They also won legs one and two during the gruelling event.
They finished second in the downtown Super Special to the another Barbadian entry, Harold “Doc” Morley, in a Subaru Impreza, who also won the Mayor’s Trophy, in the company of Jamaican co-driver Mark Nelson and who finished fourth overall with a total elapsed time of 1 hour, 39 minutes, 12.577 seconds.
The Jamaican pair of Joel Jackson and Robert Thelwell in a Subaru Impreza were third with a time of 1 hour, 37 minutees, 30.289 seconds.
Only 12 starters completed the 20-stage course.