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Watson leading ROC challenge

Trevor Thorpe

Watson leading ROC challenge

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Rhett Watson has taken an early lead in the race to find two drivers to represent Team Barbados in the Race Of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup.

After last Sunday’s drivers challenge, Watson, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) champion driver-designate for 2014, topped the scoresheet with 63 points, a whopping 21-point advantage over Roger “His Hotness” Mayers and Josh Read, who ended the day tied in second place on 42 points each.

Sunday’s action, the highlight of the Beacon Insurance BMF Club Meet, was settled on the “clubhouse straight” at Bushy Park in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

It also started the competition element of Suzuki Rocks, the quest for the best drivers in Barbados to make up Team Barbados in the ROC Nations Cup, the team event to be staged on Saturday, December 13.

Drivers took on each other in low-speed autocross-style tests in 1.2-litre automatic Suzuki Swifts.

After a briefing meeting and the distribution of the course layout and a driver walk-through, four-time BRC Autocross champion Omar Boodhoo demonstrated the course and set a benchmark time on the first test that was described as being “of moderate complexity”.

The second, however, was a more flowing slalom-style test.

In the first test Neil Armstrong took first use and returned a time of 55.26 seconds.

Former Motoring Club Barbados Incorporated (MCBI) and BRC Autocross champion Jamal Brathwaite snatched the lead but suffered a two-second penalty for knocking over a cone while Kenrick “Snappa” Husbands was the first driver to have his time disallowed for wrong direction.

Mayers, in his turn on the course, stormed into the lead and got the attention of the crowd after he returned a time of 54.35 seconds, moving him into the lead. However, he was upstaged by Tosh Read, who eclipsed Mayers’ effort by three-hundredths of a second.

Watson then clocked 53.43 seconds to win by nine-tenths of a second and collect the maximum 35 points, with Read second on 28, Mayers third (23), Armstrong fourth (19) and Brathwaite fifth (17).

The drivers are scheduled to meet for the second stage before the final selection of Team Barbados is made.

Competition will be against the clock but in a variety of vehicles, with double points available for each test.

Fans are encouraged to vote for their favoured driver in the online poll at

The results of both online voting and on-track performance will be taken into consideration in the final decision.