‘Positive response’ to awards
Recognition, nostalgia and laughs are the ingredients that will help to make up the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) 2017 awards and 60th anniversary celebrations at the Mahogany Ridge, Plum Tree Road, St James, on February 3.
BRC chairman Mark Hamilton said there was a very positive response to the 2016 awards held early this year, which facilitated participation by many who could not make it during the busy Christmas season, and the club’s desire to celebrate its 60 years with as comprehensive a turnout from the membership as possible, led to combining the 2017 awards and 60th anniversary celebrations.
“For the second year in a row, the achievements of drivers will be celebrated at a gathering in the New Year, which will this time also serve to acknowledge and recognise individual contributions made to the club and to the sport, since the BRC was founded six decades ago, in June 1957,” Hamilton said.
In a near-flawless performance and 124 points to his credit, Jamaica’s Jeff Panton, who drove unbeaten in the Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06 is the champion driver for 2017, as well as the WRC and 4wd champion, while Barry Mayers took the 2wd title, and Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal, the Chefette MudDogs Safari champion driver and navigator for a remarkable fifth consecutive year.
Panton’s achievement helped him to write his name in the annals of Barbadian motorsport history when he became the first overseas driver to win the coveted BRC’s champion driver title. He did it after winning the BRC Winter Rally with a total elapsed time of 36 minutes, 35.34 seconds.
In the company of co-driver Michael Fennell Jr, Panton completed the seven-round season with a perfect record of class wins, adding the WRC and 4wd championships to his tally.
Another Jamaican driver, Christopher “Teach” McFarlane is also among the list of champions, as he chalked up a hat-trick of BRC Autocross Championship wins, and made off with that title. It means that two BRC top trophies are going off to the ‘land of wood and water’.
Barbadian Tristan Gibbs in a Toyota Trueno, won the new 2wd category.
Along with the leading points scorers across all disciplines, SuperModified 3 champion Andrew Jones, being the highest placed of the homesters, also grabbed his fourth BRC class title in five years, and finished second overall with 119 points, at the wheel of a Ford Escort MkII, while debutant Stuart Garcia took the Clubman 2 championship and finished third overall with 118 points, driving a BMW 318ti Compact.
Avinash Chatrani, who won Group A driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, led a cadre of class champions winning the remaining top positions. Among them is Mark Thompson in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, who won GpN.
Neil Corbin in a Toyota Starlet, won SM1, while the Historic 2 honours were taken by former Motoring Club champion driver Wayne Archer in a BMW 325.
Calvin Briggs at the wheel of a Ford Sierra drove away with the honours at stake in GpB, while Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal who campaigned in an Isuzu D-Max, extended their record run to a fifth consecutive MudDogs title. (TT)