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Pressure on the Sheriff


TREVOR THORPE

Pressure on the Sheriff

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The pressure will be on “The Sheriff” if the Sol Rally Barbados title is to stay in Barbados this year.

Christened Roger Skeete, he will have Lewis Venezia as his co-driver in the Sol/Automotive Art/Simpson Motors/Flow Impreza S12B. Their lead the Skeete Team in the event and are seeded number four, the highest of the local teams of a total of 91 cars from 13 nations who make up the running order. Sol Rally Barbados 2018 begins with today’s ceremonial start at the Vaucluse Raceway (VRW) of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC).

Today there will be 13 stages at four venues and a further ten stages at four venues on Sunday, culminating in the final stage and official finish at Bushy Park at around 4 p.m.

And with all the remedial work completed, Skeete and Venezia are not taking things lightly and have been working around the clock, fine-tuning their skill and putting in much needed seat time ahead of the start of the event.

“My chances are good – better than they have been for the past few years,” Skeete said as he paused to respond to SATURDAY SPORT while doing pace notes yesterday.

Skeete, who has 13 wins to is credit in the BRC’s premier event, last found winner’s row in 2013. He was in an upbeat mood going into the event, having finished fourth in last week’s Flow King of the Hill,  as his “works crew” completed final tweaks to the Subaru S12B after the remedial work.

Flow King of the Hill was won by last year’s winners,  Jamaica’s Jeff Panton and Mike Fennell Jr. in their Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06, who were followed by former UK National Rally champion Paul Bird and new co-driver Jack Morton in the Frank Bird Poultry/Be Wiser Insurance/Hager/Fuchs Titan Race/Loco Energy Drink Focus WRC08.

Finished third

 

Britain’s Rob Swann and Darren Garrod in the Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury/Cygnet Plant Subaru Impreza WRC S12B finished third.

 Britain’s Kevin Procter and Andrew Roughead in the Procters Coaches Ford Fiesta are seeded at five, ahead of Team Esso Synergy headed by Roger “The Ninja” Hill and Graham Gittens in the Esso/Nassco/MaxMeyer/MotorMac/Pennzoil/Energizer/Refresh your Car/California Scents Toyota Corolla WRC, the second local crew in the top ten.

Another British pair, Tom Preston, back after a 15-year absence, and with co-driver Carl Williamson, in the Hippo Motor Group Skoda Fabia R5 are seeded sixth,  David Coelho and James Harris in the Subway/Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX are seventh, with local pairs Barry Mayers and Ben Norris in the Chefette/Rubis/Digicel/Hankook/DHL/Illusion Graphics Ford Fiesta, and Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew in the Sol/Automotive Art Peugeot 306 Maxi round out the top ten.

In addition to the battle for overall and two-wheel drive supremacy, there are 14 separate classes to be contested, in all but two of which local competitors will enjoy the challenge of pitting their skills against regional or international entries, or both.

With a total special stage distance of 128.20 kilometres and the reintroduction of night stages at the end of today’s action, there is much for competitors and spectators to look forward to. (TT)

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