Tight title race
five fighting for top honours as rallying action continues
As competitors in the Barbados Rally Club’s Virgin Atlantic driver’s and class championships start preparations for the upcoming Valvoline Rally on April 28 – round three of 10 in this year’s championship – there is a five-way tie in the driver’s title chase, while Paul Bourne and Josh Read lead the four-wheel-drive and two-wheel-drive standings respectively.
Similar to last year, the BRC’s points-scoring for the season opened with the Spring Blaze double-header speed event in March, shared with the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc. The event was much better supported than last year, however, with more classes fully subscribed, resulting in better scores for more drivers. If there are fewer than three starters in a class, reduced points are awarded. In 2012, just two drivers were tied as early front-runners, compared with five this year.
Class wins in both directions earned the maximum 30 points for Josh Read (Toyota Starlet), an impressive third overall both ways, Rhett Watson (SM12 BMW M3), sixth overall both ways, Geoff Noel (Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), Daryl Clarke (Modified 7 Honda Civic) and Conor Roach (Clubman Peugeot 106).
A further five drivers are tied in sixth place after consistent performances at Spring Blaze, including Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07), who collected only 26 points for winning WRC-1 both ways, as there were only two in the class. The others all finished second both ways: Martin Atwell (SM12 BMW M3), Ian Warren (SM10 Suzuki Swift), Edward Corbin (M7 Toyota Corolla Run X) and Trevor Mapp, returning to competition after some years away in a Clubman Mitsubishi Mirage.
Reigning four-wheel-drive champion Bourne started his title defence well, his wins on both runs giving him a four-point advantage over Roger Skeete (WRC-1 Subaru Impreza WRC S12), in turn four points ahead of Roger Hill (WRC-2 Toyota Corolla WRC).
In the two-wheel drive standings, Read’s double victory gives him a four-point lead over Warren, with Watson third.
Entries for the Valvoline Rally opened at Motorsport Services in Haggatt Hall, St. Michael today and close next Thursday, April 25, with the briefing meeting that same evening at 6.30p.m. at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Club House, Searles, Christ Church. (RB)