Local ace Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete struggled with launch control issues as Jamaica’s Jeff Panton drove away with the Barbados Rally Club’s Winter Tarmac Sprint double-header last Sunday.
Decided over a course laid out from Josey Hill to Lamberts, St Lucy, the faulty system only allowed “The Sheriff” a few good launches of the Sol/LIME/ Simpson Motors/Williams Trading Inc. Subaru Impreza WRC S12.
Arch rival Panton, at the wheel of the the KIG/Rubis/Blue Orchids Hotel Ford Focus WRC06, the machine in which he won the Motoring Club Barbados Inc.’s (MCBI) Rally Of The Sun And Stars three weeks ago, turned in flawless runs to make off with top honours as the curtain event of the club and shore up his preparation for Rally Jamaica next month.
Speaking after the event, Panton said the events in Barbados afforded him the opportunity to put in valuable seat time as he prepared for the upcoming event in Jamaica.
He said the sprint layout made for a very relaxed atmosphere, a big difference from the usual stressful rally.
“We were on the limit from the start as we knew there could be no slacking with ‘The Sheriff’ and the ‘WRC Hunters’ around,” Panton said.
His times were one minute, 15.23 seconds for Round Seven, and one minute, 14.12 seconds when the course was reversed for Round Eight.
Skeete, in the WRC-1 Sol/LIME/Simpson Motors/Williams Trading Inc. Subaru Impreza WRC S12, was second with a time of one minute, 16.37 seconds in Round Seven and had a time of one minute, 15.83 seconds in Round Eight.
Trinidad and Tobago-based Jamaican driver John “Penti” Powell, in the Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services Ford Focus WRC08, finished third on both runs. He had to battle water pump problems which led to the engine overheating.
Barry Mayers, of the “WRC Hunters”, drove the Chefette/Digicel/Illusion Graphics/Pennzoil WR Starlet into fourth place with a time of one minute, 18.27 seconds. He also won SM10, while Andrew Jones, driving the A.P. Jones Pharmacy/Southern Surf Beach Apartments/Lucozade/Panadol/Precision Racing Ford Escort MkII, was an impressive fifth overall with a time of one minute, 20.26 seconds.
Title contender Rhett Watson won SM12 and rounded out the top six at the wheel of the Power King Batteries/Carter’s Pitstop/Gliptone/Stihl/Packaging Centre/The Unknown Entity/In Support Of Little Pink Gift BMW M3, with a time of one minute, 20.46 seconds.
His performance and that of Stuart White helped them maintain their 100 per cent records for the year with two more class wins, while Daryl Clarke, the other driver in the mix, won in the first run, then elected to sit out the second.
“Two clean runs were vital. With the title so close between Daryl, Stuart and I, it was definitely a nervous morning. Maximum concentration was the order of the day and push from the start,” Watson said.
White picked up two historic class wins in the 39 Steps Wine Bar/Hunikom Swim Wear/UpBeat Wholesale/Makita/Guava Tech BMW 325.