2017 Winter Rally Report

Some changes in the Barbados Rally Club’s event calendar saw their final event for the season being pushed down into November. This event, was the Winter Rally which was combined with the Historic Rally Carnival which had an entry that attracted foreign competitors from Europe. The event, a “mini-Rally Barbados” had names such as Paul Bird, Rob Swann and Jeffrey Panton on the entry list. With Roger Mayers out of the island, the Speed Team entry consisted of Rhett Watson and Barry Mayers.

The event had a Friday night start with two super-special stages at the Vaucluse Raceway with the cars running in a head-to-head format. The two Speed Team drivers squared off twice with Rhett drawing first blood, then Barry flipped the script and edged Rhett out in the second running.

After the overnight halt, the rally resumed the Saturday afternoon under very overcast skies. The teams managed a damp run through the Dark Hole for Stage 3 and arrived at the Hangman Hill stage to find a course with many places having dangerous standing water. This proved quite a challenge as many drivers found it difficult, with the water pulling a few car panels loose and causing some aquaplaning as well. After finding a watersplash too many, Rhett was forced to retire as the water had affected the car’s electrical systems. Rhett stated that “The event was not too bad but the weather made it quite challenging; I was very disappointed to have to pull out after running 3rd overall.”

The challenges faced were not unique to Rhett as Barry too expressed that it was a big task to drive with the amount of water on the road. He said that “I really tried to minimize my risks as I was focused on the overall Rally Club 2WD championship and even then, I came within millimeters of losing the car on the stage several times.” With the conditions as they were, the event organisers were forced to cancel a few stages and restart after the dinner halt. By this time, Rhett had retired and quite a few cars had collided with the scenery or also retired. Barry was able to endure as conditions improved in the night time to hold onto fastest 2WD and 3rd overall on what was one of the most challenging events for the 2017 season.

Article published December 18, 2017

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