Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal won last Sunday’s MudDogs September Safari in the Isuzu D-Max, easing ahead in the Barbados Rally Club’s Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship.
While recent weather patterns had created a good degree of mud, Sunday’s heavy rains fell mostly on the west of the island, while the MudDogs were on the east coast, so had little further effect.
Alleyne and O’Neal’s victory created a new MudDogs record, as the first crew to win three consecutive events overall since the BRC’s off-road navigational championship was launched in 2004. The feat has been achieved in the novice category, while more than one partnership have won two consecutive events overall, but never a hat-trick.
Ben Norris and Kirk Watkins in the Ford Ranger claimed their best result of an impressively consistent season –– seventh, third, third and now second – finishing 358 penalties adrift of the winners, after a strong performance in winning route two. It has moved them to second in the driver and navigator standings, with one round remaining in November. With the dropped score rule yet to be applied, the Chefette Championship is poised for an exciting conclusion.
George and Garry Mendes (Mitsubishi L200 Sportero) were the final podium finishers, just over 500 penalties behind Norris and Watkins, while Derek Pinto and Adam Hunte (Toyota Hilux) clocked up a fourth straight Chefette Novice Championship win –– another MudDogs record –– finishing tenth overall.
The BRC MudDogs September Safari started at the Vaucluse Raceway, St Thomas, with the lunch stop at Chefette, Six Roads, St Philip, and the finish in the same parish at East Point Grill, Ragged Point. Route-setter was Sean Gill, four-time winner of the BRC’s longest-established event, the June Rally, which brought back happy memories for winner Alleyne.
“It was great to see Sean back in the mix, as we had some good years rallying against one another in the 1990s. We really have to thank him very much for stepping in as a route setter. Hopefully, it will trigger some memories and encourage him back to competition,” Alleyne said.
Of Sunday’s Safari and the contribution of his navigator O’Neal, Alleyne added: “We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The rally was full of surprises. For me, this rally was all about Chris –– he was on fire –– and certainly bailed us out of the trouble spots when it counted. Thankfully, the rain did not factor into the mix very much as we were on the east coast and watched all the rain falling on the other side of the island. As always, the Isuzu worked flawlessly and we look forward to the last event in November.”
After the prize-giving at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association’s Club House at Searles, Christ Church last night, MudDogs chairman Ricky Holder noted: “Sean has not set an event in a long time and our competitors were really happy to have someone other than another competitor as route-setter. Unfortunately, he could not make the prize-giving, but he did receive a big round of applause for doing it and the guys said that they look forward to him doing another when he has the time.”