Damien and Brandon Johnson (Western Union Suzuki Samurai) won the fifth and final round of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari & Safari Novice Championships on Sunday (November 8). As the Reigning Novice Champions claimed their first overall victory in the Nassco November Safari, third place was sufficient to clinch third consecutive MudDogs titles for Leslie Alleyne and Chris O'Neal as Driver and Navigator respectively.
  The Johnsons have been competing as a team since the Nassco October Safari in 2013; previously, Damien’s Navigators had been Nicholas Pinto and Daniel Christie in 2012, then Corey Williams and Jamal Brathwaite earlier in 2013; Damien and Brandon won the 2014 Chefette Novice title in 2014, top Novices in three of five events, with a best overall result of second in the Chefette April Safari.
  Sponsored for the eighth consecutive year by the island’s Toyota dealer, Sunday’s Safari was contested in the central and northern parishes, recent weather patterns helping to create a challenging event. MudDogs Chairman Ricky Holder said: “The rain really made it extra muddy, which was a nice change, as most of the Safaris for this year had been quite dry.
  “The route setters Biddy Barber, Nicholas Lorde and Brett Barber did a fantastic job and it turned out to be a well enjoyed rally to end off the year. While I am noting the support we receive, I would like to thank Nassco for their continued sponsorship, also our marshals and family of competitors – when George and Garry Mendes made a wrong turn in one of the challenges and got stuck, their fellow competitors and marshals were soon on the scene to help them out.”
  Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins (Birdies Restaurant Ford Ranger) looked set to improve on their best result of the season – second, in the September Safari – when they won route one from Four Roads, St John, to Morgan Lewis, St Andrew, by 76 penalty points. Alleyne and O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max) were second, with the Johnsons third, just 29 more points behind.
  As route two led the 14 crews from Morgan Lewis to the finish at Country View, St Thomas, the Johnson brothers were the comfortable winners, incurring just 78 penalties. The 2012 MudDogs Champions Chris Armstrong and Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux) were second – they won last year’s Nassco November Safari – with Dean Springer and first-time Navigator Bridget Garity third in the Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger.
  The Johnsons’ margin of victory at the end of the day was 142 penalty points, with only 41 between Norris/Watkins and Alleyne/O’Neal for second and third. Richard Hinkson and Kevin-Jon Manning (Goodyear Tyres Suzuki Samurai) were the narrow Novice winners, just 35 points separating them from first-timers Christopher Haywood and Justin Corbin, who made an impressive debut in the Courtesy Garage & Rent a Car/ZNA/Tropical Battery/Windforce Tyres ZNA Rich.
Nassco November Safari, November 8
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – Round 5
1st Damien Johnson/Brandon Johnson (Western Union Suzuki Samurai), 418 penalties
2nd Ben Norris/Kirk Watkins (Birdies Restaurant Ford Ranger), 560pens
3rd Leslie Alleyne/Chris O’Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max), 601pens
4th Chris Armstrong/Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux), 705pens
5th Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger), 817pens
6th Nicholas Pinto/Jamal Brathwaite (Jeep Grand Cherokee), 834pens
7th Derek Gill/Willie Hinds (AS AutoStop Suzuki Samurai), 994pens
8th Michael Ward/Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire and Security/Automotive Art Daihatsu Feroza), 1117pens
9th Richard Hinkson/Kevin-Jon Manning (Goodyear Tyres Suzuki Samurai), 1145pens
10th Christopher Haywood/Justin Corbin (Courtesy Garage & Rent a Car/ZNA/Tropical Battery/Windforce Tyres ZNA Rich), 1180pens
Route 1 1st Norris/Watkins, 235pens; 2nd Alleyne/O’Neal, 311pens; 3rd Johnson/Johnson, 340pens; 4th Pinto/Brathwaite, 370pens; 5th Armstrong/Clarke, 515pens; etc
Route 2 1st Johnson/Johnson, 78pens; 2nd Armstrong/Clarke, 190pens; 3rd Springer/Garity, 261pens; 4th Gill/Hinds, 270pens; 5th Alleyne/O’Neal, 290pens; etc
Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship – round 5
1st Hinkson/Manning, 1145pens – 9th overall
2nd Haywood/Corbin, 1180pens – 10th o/a
3rd Derek Pinto/Adam Hunte (Impulse Services Inc Toyota Hilux), 2353pens – 12th o/a
Route 1 1st Hinkson/Manning, 740pens; 2nd Haywood/Corbin, 767pens; 3rd Pinto/Hunte, 1128pens
Route 2 1st Hinkson/Manning, 405pens; 2nd Haywood/Corbin, 413pens; 3rd Pinto/Hunte, 1225pens
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Positions after round 5
Navigators 1st Chris O’Neal, 236 points; 2nd Kirk Watkins, 228pts; 3rd Wayne Clarke, 224pts; 4th Garry Mendes, 214pts; 5th Brandon Johnson, 212pts; equal 6th Brett Barber & Warrick Eastmond, 194pts; 8th Willie Hinds, 184pts; 9th Adam Hunte, 168pts; 10th Kevin-Jon Manning, 148pts
Drivers 1st Leslie Alleyne, 236pts; 2nd Ben Norris, 228pts; 3rd Chris Armstrong, 224pts; equal 4th Derek Gill (Insurance Brokers & Solutions Inc Mitsubishi Pajero) & George Mendes, 214pts; 6th Damien Johnson, 212pts; 7th Nicholas Lorde, 200pts; 8th Michael Ward, 194pts; 9th Nicholas Pinto, 172pts; 10th Derek Pinto, 168pts; etc
Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship
Positions after round 5
Navigators 1st Adam Hunte, 240pts; 2nd Kevin-Jon Manning, 216pts
Drivers 1st Derek Pinto, 240pts; 2nd Richard Hinkson, 234pts
Photo by Corey Reece
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Web sites: www.barbadosrallyclub.com , www.muddogsbarbados.com