Skeete, Clarke rally to third
THE?PAIR?of?Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete and Gary Clarke overcame problems of various kinds and finished third overall at last weekend’s Rally Jamaica.
The event was won in fine fashion by Jamaicans Jeff “Fudgie” Panton and Mike Fennell Jr in a Ford Focus WRC with a time of one hour, 26 minutes, 19.495 seconds.
The pair of Skeete and Clarke was one of three representing Barbados at the gruelling 21-stage, three-day event – which included competitors from Trinidad and Tobago and host country Jamaica – and Round 6 of the North America and Central America (NACAM) Rally Championship.
Skeete, who was seeing gravel action for the first time in three years, and co-driver Clarke, back in action after a long layoff, tackled the opening stage at Lydford in the former bauxite mines, battling a turbo charger problem before incurring an “over time limit” penalty.
“We made a wrong turn on the transit after lunch on the second day of the rally and dropped down to fourth place by the night stop with a time of 43 minutes, 32.479 seconds, behind James Betts and Robert Cadiz, who were having a good rally. But a mechanical problem three stages from the end of the rally worked in our favour . . . ,” said Skeete.
“But it was a good rally, well organized and competitive.”
He added that after the technical crew corrected the problem, the car worked well.
“I am happy with the result. I don’t think we could [have] finished any higher. But it was tough luck for Betts and Cadiz, but that is rallying.”
Skeete and Clarke, in the Sol/Michelin/Simpson Motors/Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre Subaru Impreza S12 ended with a total elapsed time of one hour, 33 minutes, 51.036 seconds.
The Trinidadian pair of Jamaican-born John “Penti” Powell and Nick Telfer, in a well-prepared Ford Fiesta WRC, took third spot after returning a time of one hour, 27 minutes, 56.329 seconds.
The NACAM pair of Ricardo Trivino and Alex Haro, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, finished fourth overall but won the NACAM Rally Championship with a time of one hour, 39 minutes, 44.761 seconds.
The Barbadian pair of Harold Morley and Mark Nelson, in a Booth Shipping Subaru Impreza N14, with a time of one hour, 41 minutes, 13.007 seconds, won top honours in JN8 and finished seventh overall.
Christopher “Teach” McFarlane and Wayne Piper, in a Mitsubishi Lancer GT, were the fastest two-wheel drive competitors and finished eighth overall in a time of one hour, 56 minutes, 54.056 seconds.
Of the 20 cars which started the 21-stage event, only 14 completed the trip.