Gregory Dickenson claimed his debut win in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship in last Sunday’s Carter’s Pit-stop September Safari.
Partnered in his Toyota Hilux for the third time this season by former champion novice navigator Andre Murrell, Dickenson’s winning margin was just seven penalty points after a demanding day of competition.
By finishing second, Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max) have drawn level with fellow title-contenders Derek Gill and Andrew Croney (Mitsubishi Pajero), who finished fourth. George and Gary Mendes (Mitsubishi L200) came home third, maintaining their solid form for the year.
Sunday’s event has set up a thrilling climax to the 2014 Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship, with just one event to go: even after a dropped score is taken into account, Alleyne/O’Neal and Gill/Croney remain on equal scores, so it will be a straight fight for supremacy in the November finale.
After a day in which the recent rains had created ideal conditions for the MudDogs, who covered a demanding route set by Kirk Watkins and Ben Norris, often through dense undergrowth, the event’s new sponsor was full of praise for all involved.
Carter’s Pit-stop store manager Rhett Watson said: “It was good to see a first-time winner in the Pit-stop September Safari, and by such a close margin – with the difference between first and second being only seven points, it seems to have been a very challenging rally. Congrats go to all the competitors, and a huge thanks to the route setters and marshals – with the recent weather, it must have been very tough both setting and marshalling in those conditions.”
Dickenson has been one of the most loyal supporters of MudDogs events in recent years. Since the start of 2010, he has not missed an event, claiming 19 top ten finishes, with his best results before last weekend a pair of fourths in March this year and September 2013, both achieved with Murrell as Navigator. His best year-end result came in 2013, when he finished fourth in the driver’s championship, having finished seventh for the previous three years.
Unlike driver Dickenson, Sunday’s win was not the first for Murrell, who won in October 2010 as navigator to Adrian Sinckler, with whom he had won the Novice Championship the previous year; Murrell went on to claim a second Novice Navigator title in 2010.
From the 8 a.m. start in the car park at the Carter’s Complex, Wildey, St Michael, it was the Mendes crew who made the running, winning the first route towards the lunchtime stop-over at Conset Bay, St John, by 71 penalty points from Alleyne and O’Neal, with Dickenson and Murrell third.
The eventual winners incurred only 50 penalties on route two, which ended in Kirton’s, St Philip. The consistent Alleyne and O’Neal finished second again, with their rivals for the title, Gill and Croney, third.
In the Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship, Damien and Brandon Johnson (Suzuki Samurai) have now edged ahead, to lead Julian Kirton and Dominic Straker (Jeep Wrangler) by two points. Kirton and Straker had been the top novice crew in route one, but hit trouble after the stop-over, leaving the Johnson brothers to claim victory, finishing eighth overall, ahead of Nicholas Pinto and Adam Hunte (Power King Jeep Grand Cherokee), who were tenth.
Pit-stop September Safari – September 21
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – round 4
1st Gregory Dickenson/Andre Murrell (Toyota Hilux), 1232 penalties
2nd Leslie Alleyne/Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max), 1239pens
3rd George Mendes/Gary Mendes (Mitsubishi L200), 1452pens
4th Derek Gill/Andrew Croney (Mitsubishi Pajero), 1625pens
5th Chris Armstrong/Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux), 1636pens
6th Nicholas Lorde/Brett Barber (Land Rover Discovery), 1834pens
7th Wayne Manning/Willie Hinds (Suzuki Samurai), 1957pens
8th Damien Johnson/Brandon Johnson (Suzuki Samurai), 2157pens
9th Warrick Eastmond/Trina Griffith (Daihatsu Feroza), 2262pens
10th Nicholas Pinto/Adam Hunte (Jeep Grand Cherokee), 2427pens
Route 1: 1st Mendes/Mendes, 964pens; 2nd Alleyne/O’Neal, 1035pens; 3rd Dickenson/ Murrell, 1182pens;
Route 2: 1st Dickenson/Murrell, 50pens; 2nd Alleyne/O’Neal, 204pens; 3rd Gill/Croney, 241pens;
Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship – round 4
1st Johnson/Johnson, 2157pens – 8th overall
2nd Pinto/Marshall, 2427pens – 10th o/a
3rd Julian Kirton/Dominic Straker (Jeep Wrangler), 3718pens – 11th o/a
Route 1: 1st Kirton/Straker, 1518pens; 2nd Johnson/Johnson, 1844pens; 3rd Pinto/Marshall, 2092pens
Route 2: 1st Johnson/Johnson, 313pens; 2nd Pinto/Marshall, 335pens; 3rd Kirton/Straker, 2200pens
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