After a break of more than two months since the Sol Go Further June Safari, competitors in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 2015 Chefette MudDogs Safari & Safari Novice Championships are making ready for round four, the MudDogs September Safari on September 20.
Once again, with just two more chances available for off-road crews to score points, it looks set to be a hard-fought climax to the season. The positions are the reverse of how things stood at this point last year, when Derek Gill and Andrew Croney (Mitsubishi Pajero) were leading the driver and navigator standings respectively by just four points from Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max), who went on to win last year’s titles by the narrowest possible margin –– in MudDogs terms, that is –– of two points.
This year, with two wins in the season’s three events so far –– including a record-breaking seventh win in ‘The June’ for Alleyne –– the Isuzu crew has the upper hand, by the same margin of four points. However, applying the dropped-score rule would increase that lead to six points, following their uncharacteristically low sixth place in the March Safari, which was won by Gill and Croney.
In the Chefette MudDogs Novice Championship, only two crews have contested every event. Derek Pinto and Adam Hunte have a perfect record of three wins so far in their Toyota Hilux and lead Richard Hinkson and Kevin-Jon Manning (Suzuki Samurai) by eight points. Once dropped scores are applied, that is cut to four.
Route-setter is Sean Gill, four-time winner of the BRC’s longest-established event, The June Rally, as navigator to Andrew Mallalieu. Their victories, in a nine-year period between 1989 and 1997, represent the most concentrated run of success in the history of the event.
While it has been confirmed that crews will start on September 20, from the Vaucluse Raceway, St Thomas, with the lunchtime halt at around 11:30 a.m. at Chefette Six Roads in St Philip, Gill is still working on the fine detail of the route and keeping his cards close to his chest.
MudDogs chairman Ricky Holder said: “The Championship is certainly heating up now, with two events to go and the dropped score rule yet to be applied. With a challenging event being set by Sean, I believe that the championship is set to go down to the wire again.”
Entries for the MudDogs September Safari are now open at Motorsport Services in Haggatt Hall and will close September 15 at 1 p.m. The briefing meeting will be at 7 p.m. the same evening, at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Club House at Searles, Christ Church, after which the entry list will be published. (RB)