More events to run from day into night
The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 2019 MudDogs Safari Championship kicks off with Saturday’s (April 13) April Safari, both the opening round and the series once again sponsored by local restaurant chain Chefette Restaurants. The season’s first event also marks a shift in the Championship’s format, which will this year include more events which run into the night, presenting crews with an even greater challenge.
 It is five months since the Nassco November Safari settled the 2018 title fight, in which Leslie Alleyne won a record sixth consecutive Drivers crown, and Andrew Croney became Champion Navigator for the second time, having won the title as a Novice in 2006. In a hotly-contested season, in which established driver-navigator partnerships were broken up on more than one occasion, the Club’s tie-break rules were needed to resolve both title fights. Champion Driver and Navigator respectively in the new Class B were Damien Johnson and Justin Lynch, while Jean-Marc Cozier won the Shelbury Construction Trophy, awarded to the highest points-scorer in the Driver Challenges.
 As the MudDogs – the BRC’s off-road division – prepare to do battle once again for the prized Peter Farmer Memorial Trophy and the Sextant Challenge Trophy, awarded to the Champion Driver and Navigator respectively, the entry list for the season-opener includes an encouraging number of new names. When the former Pro and Novice classes were replaced by A and B last year, it was part of an effort to broaden participation in the branch of the sport – navigational rallying – on which the BRC was founded in 1957.
 MudDogs Chairman Ricky Holder says: “While there were only two crews who competed in Class B who were had done enough events to be eligible for points at the end of last year, we saw a lot of new crews across the season. The entry for this year’s first rally also includes newcomers, so I believe we are moving in the right direction.”
 The route-setters for the season-opener are also new to the task, Yosuf Patel, Abdullah Patel and Bilal Patel, the family having become involved with the MudDogs in 2017. The first crew will leave Chefette Lancaster at 2.00pm on Saturday, heading across the island for the dinner halt at Chefette Six Roads at about 6.30pm; the second route will carry competitors back towards the finish in the centre of the island at around 11.40pm at the Country View Bar, Market Hill, St George.
 The Chefette April Safari includes two Driver Challenges, points for which will count towards the Shelbury Construction Trophy; the Challenges are popular with competitors and also provide a spectacle for the fans, with Saturday’s Safari including two tests of skill, one in each route; the first is near Three House at around 5.30pm, just ahead of the dinner halt, with the second following at 9.00pm in Searles Quarry.
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Round 1 - April 13 - Chefette April Safari
Class B
1 Sam Ramsey/Mikki Franklin (Suzuki Samurai)
4 Jonathan Jones/Kyisha Bullen (Suzuki Samurai)
8 Kai Prescod/Kristina Pinto (Ford Ranger)
10 John Pinto/Adam Hunte (Structural Systems/Amsoil GMC Sonoma)
12 Richard Hinkson/Kevin-Jon Manning (Windforce Tyres Suzuki Samurai)
Class A
2 Ben Norris/Kirk Watkins (Toyota Land Cruiser)
3 David Armstrong/Andrew Croney (Toyota Hilux)
5 Christopher King/Warrick Eastmond (Nissan Frontier)
6 Vaughndeen Harper/Bridget Garity (Toyota Hilux)
7 Leslie Alleyne/Chris O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max)
9 Chris Armstrong/Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux)
11 Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning (Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai)
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship: Round 1 - April 13, Chefette April Safari; Round 2 - Jun 29/30, Sol June Safari; Round 3 - Sep 14, BRC MudDogs September Safari; Round 4 – Oct 20, Nassco October Safari. Non-championship: May 1 - MudFest