Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney crowned an impressive first full season together in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship with victory in Sunday’s (November 12) final round . . . although it nearly went awry during the Country View Mud and Hill Challenge, just before the finish, when their Honda Pioneer tipped over. It was quickly righted, however, and they continued to victory.
  They were comfortably ahead of the opposition in each of the day’s two routes, winning by a margin of 884 points from Kerry Renee and Andre Murrell (Suzuki Samurai). Michael Ward and Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire & Security/Quality Tyre/McChlery Designs Suzuki Jimny) finished third, another 155 penalties adrift, with Willie Hinds and Wayne Manning (Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai) fourth. This long-standing pairing had switched seats for this event, winning the two Driving Challenges on aggregate.
  While Cozier and Croney won two rounds (March and November) and finished second in two more (April and June), once their lowest score (third in September) had been dropped, the partnership missed out on claiming the Chefette MudDogs Championship by just two points. That honour goes for a record fifth consecutive year to Leslie Alleyne and Chris O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max), who were the route-setters for Sunday’s final showdown.
  The crews got together once again on Tuesday evening (November 14) for the Prize-giving at the Country View Bar in Market Hill, St George, which had also been the start and finish point for Sunday’s Safari. Nassco, marking its 10th consecutive year of sponsorship, was represented by Thomas Hill, who confirmed the Toyota dealer’s continued support for 2018 and presented the awards. The top three crews received trophies and a Toyota gift bag, while the Novice crew, Yousuf and Abdullah Patel (Aquarius Faucets/ToolCraft Mitsubishi L200) received a Toyota token of encouragement.
  In a Safari praised by competitors for its technical challenges and off-road action, Alleyne and O’Neal had included 104 controls (which check that crews are following the route correctly, and in the right direction), 60 of them manned by marshals . . . so there was little chance for error, with a control every 1.15 kilometres. Having left the Country View Bar at 8.00am, the Nassco November Safari passed through St George, St Michael, St Thomas, St Joseph and St John, then back to St George.
  The two Driver Challenges, counting towards the new-for-2017 Shelbury Construction Trophy, gave crews pause for thought. In route one, the Applewhaites Navigation Challenge, which required a team effort, was won by Nicholas Lorde/Brett Barber (Konstruk Caribbean/Comfeet/NL Engineering/First Steps Property Services Land Rover Discovery), while Hinds and Manning prevailed in the second, the Country View Mud and Hill Challenge. With just three points spread across the top four scorers, George and Garry Mendes (G & G Sales & Services Mitsubishi Sportero) will be the first recipients of the new annual trophy.
  MudDogs Chairman Ricky Holder said: “It was a great way to end the season, and even better news that the success of the event means Nassco has confirmed support for next year. Leslie and Chris really showed us how to put a route together and I’ve heard so many guys say that this was one of the best Safaris we’ve had. Thanks to everyone who made it happen, especially the marshals who worked all those controls!”
  It was not plain sailing for everyone, however, with some notable casualties early in the day. Trevor Manning and Derek Gill (Garbage Master Toyota Hilux) were leading at the end of the first BRC leg, only to find they had no 4wd when they entered the first set of mud and couldn’t even climb a small incline. Former Champions Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards (Mahogany Ridge/Corbin's Catering Services Toyota Hilux) were also doing well, until they went off route in the St George valley, nose-dived into a hole in the ground and damaged the front chassis and steering alignment. Finally, Dean Springer and Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic/Toyo Tyres Ford Ranger), who had stepped up as route-setters for the first time for the September Safari, suffered a faulty cooling fan which caused overheating early in route one.
Nassco November Safari, November 12
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – round 5
1st Jean-Marc Cozier/Andrew Croney (Honda Pioneer), 638 penalties
2nd Kerry Renee/Andre Murrell (Suzuki Samurai), 1522pens
3rd Michael Ward/Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire & Security/Quality Tyre/McChlery Designs Suzuki Jimny), 1677pens
4th Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning (Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai), 2434pens
5th Nicholas Lorde/Brett Barber (Konstruk Caribbean/Comfeet/NL Engineering/First Steps Property Services Land Rover Discovery), 3115pens
6th George Mendes/Garry Mendes (G & G Sales & Services Mitsubishi Sportero), 3851pens
7th Yousuf Patel/Abdullah Patel (Aquarius Faucets/ToolCraft Mitsubishi L200), 5090pens
8th Richard Hinkson/Kevin-Jon Manning (Windforce Tyres Suzuki Samurai), 8536pens
Route 1 – 1st Cozier/Croney, 268pens; 2nd Ward/Eastmond, 854pens; 3rd Renne/Murrell, 1090pens; 4th Mendes/Mendes, 1430pens; 5th Hinds/W Manning, 1664pens; etc
Route 2 – 1st Cozier/Croney, 370pens; 2nd Renne/Murrell, 432pens; 3rd Hinds/W Manning, 770pens; 4th Ward/Eastmond, 823pens; 5th Lorde/Barber, 1034pens; etc
Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship – round 5
1st Patel/Patel – 7th overall
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Provisional final positions after round five (after lowest score dropped):
1st Leslie Alleyne/Chris O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max), 238 points
2nd Cozier/Croney, 236pts
3rd Ryan Corbin/Dustin Edwards (Mahogany Ridge/Corbin's Catering Services Toyota Hilux), 222pts
5th Ward/Eastmond, 214pts
4th Armstrong/Clarke, 208pts
6th Mendes/Mendes, 198pts
Shelbury Construction Trophy
Provisional final positions after round five:
1st Mendes/Mendes, 23 points
2nd W Manning/Hinds, 22pts
3rd Cozier/Croney, 21pts
4th Lorde/Barber, 20pts
equal 5th Hinkson/K-J Manning & Damien Johnson/Justin Lynch (Dce Tuned Suzuki Samurai), 14pts
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Photographs courtesy of Corey Reece/Image Vault
Nassco November Safari winners Jean-Marc Cozier/Andrew Croney (Honda Pioneer)