Ian Warren is the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Champion Driver elect, after claiming his sixth Clubman 2 class win of the season in Sunday’s (October 22) BRC Winter Rally at the wheel of his BimmaCup. The seventh and final round of the BRC Driver’s and Class Championships fought out in St John and St Joseph provided a dramatic climax to the season as the front-runners suffered a day of mixed fortunes.

 Overall victory confirmed Dane Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) as provisional 4wd Champion for the third time in five years. With a total time of 19 minutes 19.96 seconds for the nine stages, Skeete beat brothers Mark and Stuart Maloney (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) by just over 14secs, with Britain’s Rob Swann and local co-driver Geoff Goddard third in their Fabia R5, less than 3secs behind after swapping times all day.

 With three of the top drivers in the title chase - Neil Corbin, Horatio Brown and Stuart Maloney – absent for various reasons, points-leader Roger Mayers hit trouble before the start. When an incurable misfire grounded his Toyota WR Starlet, brother Barry handed over his Ford Fiesta (and co-driver Ben Norris), but switching ecus between cars sent them OTL, spelling the end of the strongest title challenge Mayers had mounted in some years. He will finish third but is still provisional 2wd and SuperModified 2 champion.

 Mayers was remarkably philosophical: “A tough pill to swallow after the results all year, driving safe and fast, winning all the events I entered. To then fall out like that is sad, but it is rallying, which comes with its ups and downs. Thankfully this year I've had much more ups than downs.”

 Having finished twice three times, most recently to Edward Corbin in 2019, Warren was delighted for him and co-driver brother Robert: “I'd been chasing the Rally Club championship for a while, so it is really good to win after 25 years in motorsport. We had accepted second place as Rog just needed to go out and do his thing and be Champion Driver, but mechanical gremlins gave him what I could only describe as a gut punch.”

 Further drama followed on the startline of SS1, the first Society to Cherry Grove stage, where Logan Watson’s BMW M3 broke an axle. After repairs, he returned for the last three stages before lunch, and while he slipped outside the overall top 10 and from second to fourth in 2wd, he is provisional Modified 3 champion.

 Skeete was fastest on that opening stage, two-tenths ahead of a determined Mark Thompson, who powered his Modified 4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX ahead of all the FIA R5 class, led by Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg (Fiesta Rally2), Swann and Gregg’s countryman Jeff Panton (Fabia Rally2 evo). While Josh Read (Fiesta R5) won the first Blackmans to Tappy Pond stage ahead of Maloney and Swann, Gregg’s fourth place moved him into the lead by half-a-second from Swann. Skeete had lost 10secs with a stall but won the morning’s remaining three stages to close within 5secs of Gregg, who still led at lunchtime, with Swann, Maloney, Panton and Roger Hill (Fabia R5) covered by just another 5secs.

 Thompson’s impressive run came to an end with the Evo resting against a palm tree on co-driver Kurt Seabra’s side on the last stage before lunch when they were running third overall, which promoted the leading protagonists in 2wd into the top 10. With a perfect five fastest times in Modified 3 (and only once beaten by Andrew Jones for best 2wd), Justin Campbell’s BMW M3 was ahead of Jones’s Ford Escort MkII by just over 4secs at the lunch halt at Pool Plantation, St John.

 Four stages after lunch would settle things, Blackmans running in the same direction, alternating with a reversed Cherry Grove to Society. Gregg’s lead did not survive the first Blackmans, where he lost nearly 20secs to a puncture, dropping to fifth, 14secs off new leader Skeete and 8secs off R5 leader Maloney. Skeete also won the other three, while Maloney and Swann battled over second and the R5 class. Swann said: “I dropped time to Mark through Blackmans but struggled to see where. I felt we attacked every corner, but I lost a couple of seconds each pass, which ultimately cost us the win in R5.”

 Skeete’s win on the final stage came just in time: “Unfortunately, after crossing the finish line of the last stage the engine gave up on us. It was a good rally nonetheless, the Rally Club put on a good event, which was perfectly run and I definitely had a good time despite chasing launch control problems most of the day.”

 Panton finished fourth ahead of Read and Hill, with a spin in the second Blackmans dropping Gregg to seventh at the finish and the top 10 completed by the Turks and Caicos Rally Team pair of Paul Horton (Citroen C3 Rally2) and Ben Hartling (Fiesta R5) sandwiching 2wd winner Jones. Campbell retired two stages from home with a broken oil cooler line promoting Suleman Esuf (BMW 1M) and Jonathan Still (BMW M3) to second and third in 2wd.

 With the Winter Rally falling just a week after the passing of Jamal ‘Kirby’ Brathwaite, it was fitting that Kyle Gill won Clubman 1, also the provisional year-end C1 Championship, in the Mitsubishi Mirage formerly campaigned by both Jamal and his father Trevor Mapp. Each car on the event bore stickers in memory of Rally Club stalwart Brathwaite, while his Honda Civic Type-R was the Zero Car crewed by Kyle Catwell and Mapp.

 Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard summed up the day: “What a drama-filled end to the season! From an organizer’s perspective we had a very good rally that ran pretty much on schedule. We had a bigger than expected entry and some terrific battles throughout the field - particularly at the sharp end. I am not sure anyone could have predicted what happened in the BRC Driver’s Championship, and I do feel for M&M Racing.

 “I have to thank the entire organizing team, all our marshals and of course our emergency support services. We are privileged to have the Medical and Roving Response Teams on hand and I want to wish Mark Thompson’s co-driver Kurt Seabra a quick recovery after their high-speed accident. There were some memorable tributes to Jamal Brathwaite and it was the kind of event he would have thoroughly enjoyed. I am going to really miss him. There is lots of work to be done in the off-season, but I think we can look back with some satisfaction on an amazing 2023 Driver’s Championship.”

BRC Winter Rally - Sunday, October 22
2023 BRC Driver’s & Class Championships, round 7
Provisional Results:

1st Dane Skeete/Eric Allamby (WRC Automotive Art/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Sol Subaru Impreza WRC S12), 19m 19.96s
2nd Mark Maloney/Stuart Maloney (FIA R5 Rock Hard Cement/Vision Equipment/M-Jet/Bushy Park Barbados/Sign Station Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo), + 14.24s
3rd Rob Swann – ENG/Geoff Goddard (FIA R5 GO Rent A Car/R A Swann/Cygnet Plant Sales Skoda Fabia R5), + 17.09s
4th Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr - JAM (FIA R5 KIG/Sandals Resorts/Bushy Park Barbados Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo), + 20.93s
5th Josh Read/Calem Maloney (FIA R5 Automotive Art/Java Island/Weetabix Ford Fiesta R5), + 24.55s
6th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (FIA R5 Esso/MaxMeyer Paints/MotorMac Skoda Fabia R5), + 31.89s
7th Kyle Gregg – JAM/Orry Hunte (FIA R5 BD Gregg Ford Fiesta Rally2), + 37.93s
8th Paul Horton – TCI/Matt Edwards - WAL (FIA R5 Java Island/HO2 Construction/Sky Motorsports Citroen C3 Rally2), + 48.19s
9th Andrew Jones/Lindsey Pilkington – ENG (F) (SM2 Gale’s Agro Products/AP Jones Pharmacy/Southern Surf Beach Apartments/Weetabix/GO ON Energy Ford Escort MkII), + 1:27.53
10th Ben Hartling – CAN/Kreigg Yearwood (FIA R5 The Hartling Group Ford Fiesta R5), + 1:31.28

WRC: 1st Skeete/Allamby, 19:19.96
FIA R5: 1st M Maloney/S Maloney, 19:34.20; 2nd Swann – ENG/Goddard, + 02.85s; 3rd Panton – JAM/Fennell - JAM, + 06.69s; etc
Modified 4: no finishers
SuperModified 2: 1st Jones/Pilkington (F) – ENG, 20:47.49; 2nd Jonathan Still/Heath Hazell (Ino-Gro Hydroponics/Young Island/Pure Water/Suga Apple Swim/New York Pizza/Weddings by Melissa BMW M3), + 53:81s
SM1: no finishers
M3: 1st Suleman Esuf/Asif Suleman (Prosales/Express Imports Inc/SY Adam & Son/Y Esuf Auto Clinic BMW 1M), 21:00.62 – 11th overall
M2: 1st Sean Corbin/Emily Kinch (F) (Super-S Premium Lubricants/Carter's Pitstop/Kikks Slippas/West Lake Tires/Gunk/Fabblast Barbados/M&M Tuning BMW 318ti Compact), 23:37.66 – 19th o/a
Clubman 2: 1st Ian Warren/Robert Warren (Motor Medic/Formula 1/West Lake/Guava Tech BimmaCup), 22:58.03 – 15th o/a; 2nd Chris Hoad/Allan Alkins (Subway/Dasani Water/Colour XL/Shell Helix/Guava Tech BimmaCup), + 04.87s; 3rd Robert Ryan Wood/Miranda Ho (F) – T&T (Carter’s Pitstop/Power King Batteries/Guava Tech/CA Autobody Repair/Sitemasters Construction BimmaCup), +17.38s; etc
C1: 1st Kyle Gill/Rashid Phillips (adhoc Industries/The Chicken Stop Mitsubishi Mirage RS Clone), 24:17.60 – 25th o/a
Group B: 1st Calvin Briggs/Fabian Morris (Sirrom Lighting/Flying Bell Farms Ford Sierra), 22:39.68; 2nd Shareef Walcott/Justin Lynch (Melwani’s/Lil Griff’s Hardware & Building Supplies/Reef Motorsport Toyota Corolla), + 31:35s; 3rd Chadane Holder/Shaquille Mayers (Toyota Starlet), + 1:09.00

For media information only. No regulatory value.

For further media information, robin@bradfax.com
Web site: www.barbadosrallyclub.com