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Decision time for MudDogs

Competitors in the Barbados Rally Club’s Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship have arrived at the last chance saloon.

The 2016 title chase will go down to the wire during this Sunday’s fourth and final round, the Nassco November Safari, with a spread of just six points across the four leading crews, once dropped scores are taken into account.

Leslie Alleyne and  Chris O’Neal will be the  ones to watch this Sunday.

Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal will be the ones to watch this Sunday.

Having won the March Safari and Chefette September Safari and finished third in the Sol June Safari, multiple Champions Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max) have amassed 176 points. That places them four ahead of Michael Ward and Warrick Eastmond (Suzuki Jimny), who joined the roll of honour of the BRC’s longest-running event with victory on ‘The June’ this year.

A further eight points adrift are Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins in a Ford Ranger, the most consistently successful crew in recent times not to have won an event. Since they first teamed up in ‘The June’ in 2014, they have finished second four times and third twice in the nine events they have contested, so could play a crucial role in the outcome of this year’s MudDogs title chase.

Route-setters for the Nassco November Safari are Willie Hinds and Wayne Manning, who are currently fourth in the navigator and driver standings respectively in the ZNA Rich, another eight points behind Norris and Watkins.

Once dropped scores are taken into account, however, the picture changes: Alleyne/O’Neal and Ward/Eastmond are tied in the lead on 120 points, with Norris/Watkins and former champions Chris Armstrong and Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux) tied in third on 114, Manning and Hinds slipping to fifth with a reduced total of 108.

Sunday’s event will feature two routes, the first crew scheduled to leave the start at the Vaucluse Raceway, St Thomas, at 8 a.m., heading into the northern parishes. The lunch halt will be at Benthams Rubis, St Lucy, at approximately 11.30 a.m., with the finish back at Vaucluse at around 4.30 p.m.

MudDogs chairman Ricky Holder said: “The heat is on. I think Sunday will be a really good day. It is great to get to the end of the season with the title undecided, and it is not often as close as this, although I know Leslie and Chris have gone into the final round tied on points before. I wish everyone good luck.

“I’m also really pleased to see some new and returning names on the entry list this time round and hope they enjoy themselves enough to come back for a full season next year. I must thank Roger Hill and his team at Nassco Ltd for its long-standing support of our events and also thank our crew of volunteers, without whom we could not do what we do.”

Positions after three rounds:

Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – navigators:

1st Chris O’Neal, 176 points

2nd Warrick Eastmond, 172pts

3rd Kirk Watkins, 164pts

4th Willie Hinds, 156pts

5th Kevin-Jon Manning, 134pts

6th Bridget Garrity, 130pts

7th Wayne Clarke, 114pts

8th Garry Mendes, 100pts

9th Brett Barber 90pts

10th Ian Warren, 84pts

Drivers:

1st Leslie Alleyne, 176pts

2nd Michael Ward, 172pts

3rd Ben Norris, 164pts

4th Wayne Manning, 156pts

5th George Mendes, 150pts

6th Richard Hinkson, 134pts

7th Dean Springer, 130pts

8th Chris Armstrong, 114pts

9th Nicholas Lorde, 90pts

10th Robert Warren, 84pts (RB)

Source: (RB)

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