Jamaica’s Jeff Panton and Mike Fennell Jnr laid down a marker for next month’s LIME King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados, with victory in yesterday’s (April 19) Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Shakedown Stages. In the Rubis / Total / Sandals Barbados Ford Focus WRC06, they finished more than 18 seconds up on Trinidad’s John Powell, with Roger Skeete third, having fought back after early problems.
  Deputising for brother Roger, who has been suffering from a severe bout of tonsillitis, Barry Mayers won the battle for two-wheel-drive honours, finishing fifth overall in the Chefette / Digicel / Sol / Hankook / Illusion Graphics WR Starlet, heading home Rhett Watson, who enjoyed a day-long battle with the returning Neil Armstrong.
  Panton won the first run from Four Hills to Orange Hill, with Mayers an impressive second - “I nearly binned it a few corners in to SS1”, he said - ahead of Skeete (Sol / LIME / Automotive Art / Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12), who lost around seven seconds to the leader when a tyre burst in a pothole; lone WRC-2 runner Roger Hill (Nassco / Esso / Pennzoil / MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC) was fourth, ahead of Powell (Intercontinental Shipping / Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services Focus WRC08).
  The Jamaicans won all five morning stages - Lamberts to Pickerings was the other venue – to lead Powell by nearly 13secs at lunch, with Skeete down in fifth, after also collecting a 25secs early arrival penalty. Skeete won four of the afternoon’s five reversed stages on his way to third place, Panton fastest on SS10 - just four-tenths covered his Focus, Powell and Skeete on the final stage, a good omen for LIME KotH and Sol RB15.
  Panton said: “The plan was to get the seat time in. We weren't looking for a win, but it was good to get it as we head towards Sol Rally Barbados. Like most others, we ran on old tyres, which gave some really hairy moments, but we drove accordingly.”
  From Skeete’s perspective, the event was a vital chance to check out persistent launch issues: “After the rebuild, the car refused to launch or even go into launch sequence. We pulled the box on Saturday and discovered a leak from the centre differential, which when rectified cured the launch issues instantly. Everything else is working perfectly.”
  Mayers was fastest 2wd on all but one of the day’s stages, winning the category by 26secs; Watson (Chefette /Power King / Gliptone / Stihl / The Unknown Entity in support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3) was the other stage winner, as he and Armstrong (Rubis / Chefette / Hankook / Nassco / GUNK Starlet) swapped times back and forth.
  Watson said: “We figured we could be fast out of the box, but spoiled it with an overshoot at The Rock on SS1. However, we recovered and had a nice battle during the day with Neil.” Armstrong added: “I felt good in the car and was shaking off the rust.”
  Mayers won SuperModified 10, saying: “I'm the substitute driver. Any times I did, Roger could have gone two seconds faster”; Josh Read (Stihl / Gliptone / Sprite / Hankook / Weetabix / Chutney’s / Urban Kitchen / Royal Purple / Cell Hut / EZone Starlet) retired on SS1 with clutch problems and Cliff Roett (Nassco / Paulo’s Churrasco Restaurant / Roett's Garage Starlet) two stages later.
  Watson was the only driver in SM12 to complete the distance; Justin Campbell (Hilton Barbados / Itstaboo.com / Biz Needz / Dream Solutions / Castrol Racing / Acton Finance M3) did enough to score class points under the two-thirds rule, but Stan Hartling (suspension damage) and David St Hill (radiator) were out early.
  The top 10 was completed by class-winners Andrew Jones (SM11 Ford Escort MkII), Andrew Mallalieu (Group N Subaru Impreza N10) and Daryl Clarke (Modified 7 Honda Civic). Jones led SM11 all day, although Dane Skeete (Peugeot 306 Maxi) set a string of top 10 times after losing more than 1min on SS1, the car eventually heading home on a wrecker after an ‘off’ mid-afternoon.
  In Group N, Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg finished second in his first outing on tarmac in his Evo IX, finishing just 10secs ahead of David Coelho, using his ex-Geoff Noel Evo IX for the first time, another good omen for next month’s events.
  Among the day’s other casualties – 11 of 33 starters failed to finish - were Jamal Brathwaite (M7 Honda Civic Type-R), who struggled all day with gearbox problems, and Neil Corbin (M6 Starlet), an impressive 10th at lunchtime. When a wiring issue was then discovered that could not be resolved, he retired, allowing Paul Innis (Civic) to claim his first class win. Corbin spoke for everyone who had issues yesterday when he said: “It's better to happen at Shakedown than Rally Barbados! I had a great morning though!”
BRC Shakedown Stages - Sunday, April 19
Provisional results:
1st Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM (WRC-1 Rubis / Total / Sandals Barbados Ford Focus WRC06), 22m 12.22s
2nd John Powell – TRI/Jason Costello - TRI (WRC-1 Intercontinental Shipping / Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services Ford Focus WRC08), + 18.37s
3rd Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia (WRC-1 Sol / LIME / Automotive Art / Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12), + 33.18s
4th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (WRC-2 Nassco / Esso / Pennzoil / MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC), + 47.67s
5th Barry Mayers/Sean Corbin (SM10 Chefette / Digicel / Sol / Hankook / Illusion Graphics WR Starlet), + 52.21s
6th Rhett Watson/James Hutchinson (SM12 Chefette /Power King / Gliptone / Stihl / The Unknown Entity in support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3), + 1m 18.21s
7th Neil Armstrong/Barry Ward (SM10 Rubis / Chefette / Hankook / Nassco / GUNK Toyota Starlet), + 1m 21.29s
8th Andrew Jones/Lindsey Pilkington – ENG (SM11 AP Jones Pharmacy / Southern Surf Beach Apartments / Lucozade Ford Escort MkII), + 2m 02.53s
9th Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (GpN Terra Caribbean / Blue Sky Luxury Subaru Impreza N10), + 2m 15.01s
10th Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (M7 MQI Collision Repair / Mom’s Pasta Products / Roberts Manufacturing / Valvoline Honda Civic), + 2m 16.03s
WRC-1: 1st Panton/Fennell; 2nd Powell/Costello; 3rd Skeete/Venezia
WRC-2: 1st Hill/Gittens
Group A: 1st Avinash Chatrani/Andrew Skeete (iShop Barbados / Electric Avenue / PowerBass / Lenovo / 1 of K / Copocabana / Sign Station Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI), 26m 05.47s – 14th o/a
GpN: 1st Mallalieu/Goddard, 24m 27.23s; 2nd Kyle Gregg – JAM/Sean Gill (Sunitrac Tires / B D Gregg Bros Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 24.13s; 3rd David Coelho – TRI/James Harris – ENG (Total / Lubetech / Zanzibar / Kaizan Sushi / www.machinerysalestrinidad.com / Quipsol Ltd Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 36.74s
SuperModified 12: 1st Watson/Hutchinson, 23m 30.43s; 2nd Justin Campbell/Juan Watts (Hilton Barbados / Itstaboo.com / Biz Needz / Dream Solutions / Castrol Racing / Acton Finance BMW M3), + 3m 00.50s
SM11: 1st Jones/Pilkington, 24m 14.75s; 2nd Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (Sol / LIME / Automotive Art Peugeot 306 Maxi), + 3m 30.90s
SM10: 1st Mayers/Corbin, 23m 04.43s; 2nd Armstrong/Ward, + 29.08s; 3rd Stuart Maloney/Orry Hunte (Kestrel / Se-Sash / Sign Station Peugeot 306 Maxi), + 8m 04.30s
SM9: 1st Kurt Ward/Kirt King (SDRR / Precision Racing Ford Escort MkI), 27m 36.89s – 18th o/a
Modified 7: 1st Clarke/Brancker, 24m 28.25s; 2nd Paul Horton - TCI/Carol Potter - TCI (Java Island / Real / Sky Motorsports Ford Escort MkI), + 21.02s; 3rd Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (Platinum Motors / Valvoline / Automotive Art / R S Electrical / Ellesmere Quarries / JSB Motorsport / Chicken Pen Racing / Codgies Customs Brokers Honda Civic Type-R), + 1m 43.62s
M6: 1st Paul Inniss/Jason Tull (Sun General Insurance / Durex / Illusion Graphics / Caribbean Villa Chefs / Hugh Autobody / Tint It / Chicken Stock Inc / JJ Racing Team / HIV Aids Commission Honda Civic), 30m 43.58s – 21st o/a; 2nd Chris Williams/Reuben Nelson (Cutters Barbados / 10 Saints Beer / Solo / Royal Chinese Restaurant Ford Fiesta), + 1m 43.70s
Historic: 1st Wayne Archer/Lucas Nicolao - ARG (Archer’s Hall Design Centre / Diamonds International / CACS BMW 325), 26m 43.07s – 17th o/a; 2nd John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Valvoline / Corbins Garage / Prosales Toyota Corolla), + 1m 08.19s; 3rd Jonathan Ince/David Armstrong (Ocean Fisheries / Hankook Daihatsu Charmant), + 2m 19.34s
Clubman: 1st Jeremy Croney/Andrew Croney (Warrens Lubricants / Sign Station / SRG Engineering  / Sweet Temptations Peugeot 206XS), 26m 39.20s – 16th o/a; 2nd Greg Cozier/Natasha Farnum (Vaucluse Raceway / Quality Tyre BimmaCup Car), + 2m 13.27s
Photos by Nicholas Bhajan
For further media information, robin@bradfax.com
Web site: www.barbadosrallyclub.com