Four-time Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari champions Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max) returned to winner’s Row last Saturday with victory in the Chefette April Safari, becoming the first recipients of the Audley Croney Memorial Trophy.
They had trailed March Safari winners Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney (Honda Pioneer) by 231 penalty points on the first route between the Chefette outlets at Wildey, St Michael and Six Roads, St Philip, but fought back on the return route to win by a margin of 618 penalties. Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards (Corbin’s Catering Services Toyota Hilux) finished third, a further 113 penalties adrift.
At last night’s prize-giving at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association club house at Searles, Christ Church, second-place finisher Andrew Croney presented the new trophy, named in honour of his late father. A long-standing member of the BRC and enthusiastic and skillful competitor in navigational events, Audley and son Jeremy were regular top three finishers in MudDogs events, and placed second to Alleyne and O’Neal in the 2013 Championship. The new trophy will be presented annually at the April Safari and be engraved with the year and winning crew.
Alleyne said: “We were humbled and honoured to have won the Audley Croney Memorial Trophy. Audley was a man that had been involved with the sport for many years and he had a great passion for it, both as a competitor and route-setter. We were all deeply saddened by the news of his passing last week, but he will always be remembered . . . and his spirit will remain a part of every event for the future.”
MudDogs Chairman Ricky Holder and Richard Johnson, the route-setters for the event, earned Alleyne’s praise. “The route setters did a great job, especially since they are both pretty green at setting rallies. This was Richard’s first time, having only ever marshaled previously, and I am glad to hear he would like to do more.”
It was not all plain sailing for the winners, however, as Alleyne noted: “We knew this year was going to be more challenging, since there are now two driver challenges in each event, which are scored towards the overall result, and the new Shelbury Construction Trophy at year-end. This was done in an effort to give the drivers a chance to contribute more to the result. Depending on the challenge, my truck has low ground clearance and is not ideally suited. Unfortunately, we made a mistake in both challenges for this event and as a result we gained maximum penalties. This meant, as darkness set in, Chris had to be on the ball with the navigation . . . and he was!”
Holder added: “Well done to Leslie and Chris – it looks as though there will be close competition all year. My thanks again to Chefette Restaurants for their sponsorship, also our marshals for helping these events run so smoothly. Roll on our 60th Anniversary event in June!”
Saturday’s event was the second of five scheduled between March and November, which qualify for the 2017 Championship. As before, crews are required to compete in four out of the five Safaris to be eligible for year-end championship points. If they compete in all five Safaris, then their best four scores will count.