First-timers make their mark

Joshua Plaza in his Suzuki Samurai on his way to victory.

First-timers made their mark at the Barbados Rally Club’s MudDogs Summer Mud Fest last Sunday.

Staged at the Three Houses, St. Philip venue for the second time, following the successful May Day Mud Fest, the summer event saw crews eager to test themselves and their four-by-four machines on the challenging course.

Competing in the small tyre and big tyre categories, competitors dragged off, winding through obstacle courses and mud pits, much to the delight of enthusiastic fans.

Event course setters, Mark Western and John Pinto designed four sections suited to standard four-by-four vehicles; first-time Mud Fest competitor, Joshua Plaza, won the event in his customized Suzuki Samurai.

Commenting that the course was not as hard as he thought it would have been, Plaza said: “It was wet and fun getting the jeep dirty.”

Crediting the work of his mechanic on his jeep along with driver skill for his success, Plaza noted that the mud pits were the most difficult part of the event, particularly as the day went on and the mud became slushier.

No stranger to the MudDogs safaris, Plaza said competing on the Mud Fest was a bonus and planned to continue.

Another first-timer and the sole female driver, Melanie Western, was surprised at how well she did and is now hooked on the sport.

With plans already underway for her to secure her own jeep, Western commandeered her husband’s Nissan, winning the drag strip and finishing second on the large tyre category.

“The experience was exciting,” she explained, however the leaning trench was her least favourite aspect of the day while the level of difficulty of the courses was the most surprising part of the event.

Recent drier conditions forced organisers to pump water onto the course, which was purposely designed to be easier than the first.

Crews competed in the drag strip, obstacle course in two directions as well as the mud pit.

Plaza won the event and the small tyre category with 124 points ahead of Brian Collymore (Samurai) with 119 points and Johnny Pinto (Suzuki Jimny) third on 90 points.

In the small tyre category Mark Western lead with 143 points while his wife Melanie was second with 112 and Noel Edwards (Nissan Patrol) third with 60 points.

The third and final Mud Fest for the season is set for October 20th. (AB)

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