Their victory was as emphatic as it could be.
Roger Mayers and Max Ferri defeated the opposition as well as the elements to win the BRC Summer Nights Tarmac Stages over the weekend.
As changeable weather conditions presented drivers with almost impossible tyre choices, the day and night event presented one of the biggest challenges of the season.
Having won by nearly 35 seconds in his WR Starlet, Mayers was ecstatic about his performance and that of his car.
“This was a great rally. I drove my heart out and the car never let me down. The weather made it very challenging as it made the stages unpredictable, but we gambled with running the dry tyres in all but one stage and it paid off.”
Trinidad’s John Powell and Nick Telfer (Ford Focus WRC08) finished second, almost 40 seconds clear of Rhett Watson and James Hutchinson (BMW M3). Watson’s SuperModified 12 class win keeps him in the hunt for the BRC champion driver’s title.
For many competitors it was a night of attrition and one which will have a significant bearing on the outcome of the 2014 BRC driver’s and class championships. Seeded at number one, in recognition of his almost perfect season so far, Roger Skeete and regular co-driver Louis Venezia were in trouble early. Skeete suffered a recurrence of the launch control issues which have affected his Subaru Impreza WRC S12 in the past, struggling off the start-line, then calling it a day after four stages.
As the changing weather made for unpredictable conditions, stage wins were shared. Watson and Trinidad’s David Coelho (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) were joint fastest on the first uphill run from Hangman’s Hill to Canefield, with Powell fastest on the first run from Haggatts to Springvale. Mayers claimed his first stage win on the second Canefield run (and repeated it on the third), with Powell winning the second Haggatts run. The final daylight stage was cancelled to make up for a couple of earlier delays.
A consistent performance from Roger Hill and Graham Gittens (Toyota Corolla WRC) kept them in the hunt, third behind Powell and Mayers as crews took the dinner break at Hopewell.
In addition to Skeete’s retirement, others to suffer in the daylight were his son Dane, who retired his Peugeot 306 Maxi when the oil cooler broke after four stages, Modified 6 joint leader Neil Corbin (Toyota Starlet) with a broken pulley on the engine, and both Group N runners, Andrew Mallalieu (Subaru Impreza N10 – broken axle) and Kurt Thompson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX – broken gearbox).
With a depleted field, the night-time stages ran smoothly. Mayers was fastest on four of the six stages with Powell winning the other two. Hill looked set for a top three finish until he struck a steel pole near the Challenor School on the penultimate stage, with an apparent stuck throttle. Driver and co-driver were unaffected, but the same could not be said of the car.
Daryl Clarke (M7 Honda Civic), joint leader of the BRC champion driver title chase with Watson, broke a cv joint, losing the last two stages before the break. He reappeared afterwards, however, to win his class and remain on a par with Watson.
Official results (top ten)
1st Roger Mayers/Max Ferri (SM10 WR Starlet), 30m 00.73s
2nd John Powell – TRI/Nick Telfer – TRI (WRC-1 Ford Focus WRC08), 30m 35.30s
3rd Rhett Watson/James Hutchinson (SM12 BMW M3), 30m 40.25s
4th David Coelho – TRI/James Harris – ENG (WRC-1 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 32m 52.46s
5th Brendon Mckenzie/Chris Hoad (M6 Toyota Corolla), 33m 14.25s
6th Jeremy Gonsalves/Chris Corbin (M6 Opel Corsa), 33m 36.62s
7th Edward Corbin/Rodney Clarke (M7 Toyota Corolla RunX), 34m 19.98s
8th Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (M7 Honda Civic Type-R), 34m 28.81s
9th Stuart McChlery/James Goddard (SM12 Ford Escort MkI), 36m 32.00s
10th Kurt Ward/Kirt King (SM12 Ford Escort MkI), 37m 09.53s