It was a combination of sheer force of will, finely honed skill, and a powerfully tuned monster machine that propelled the Republic Bank Blue Machine Rally BMW3 Series to do the double and claim ninth place overall for the second year running in the 2017 Sol Rally Barbados.
The top ten finish for the driver/navigator team of Justin Campbell and Juan Watts was sweeter still, as they also won first in their class – Supermodified 3 – narrowly beating out arch rival Andrew Jones. Over two days of challenging stages and unexpected setbacks, with a little bit of luck the team also accomplished being the second fastest two-wheel drive car in the event overall – no small feat for the pair who came out among the ten fastest out of an original entry list of 89 – 42 of which were overseas teams.
It was a performance driver Justin Campbell is still reeling from and he said it’s taking a while to sink in.
“I remember just hugging my girlfriend Robyn and as we walked away from the car [at the end of the event at Bushy Park] … I remember guys saying ‘Campbell you drove really well’. I was hearing them but not really hearing them, I wasn’t really focusing. I remember sitting just trying to catch myself thinking ‘Justin do you realize what you just did? Do you realize what just happened?’ It’s a dream come true to win the group back to back in Rally Barbados, to finish in the top ten is every driver’s dream when they enter and we did it.”
Navigator Juan Watts was full of praise for title sponsors Republic Bank and described this year’s Rally as the team’s best year so far.
“This year’s rally season was a pretty good one and I feel good about the win. It was not an easy win; coming in to Saturday evening we started to have a few problems which made stages 10,11 & 12 our hardest stages, costing us some time. However, the car really pulled through for us on Sunday and we fought to the end. It wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing and dedicated service crew, they did an amazing job the past few weeks. A huge thank you to Republic Bank and all our sponsors.”
In congratulating the team managing director & CEO of Republic Bank, Ian De Souza, said their repeated success showed there was value in investing in the dreams and pursuits of young people.
“Justin and Juan did an amazing job and we – the entire Republic Bank team – are so proud of them. I’m particularly impressed by the grit, determination and maturity they showed during their most challenging stages in the face of a broken engine mount bracket. Two years running and they are continuing to make us proud,” said De Souza.
Blue Machine enthusiasts can still see the car in action as there are speed events and special stages provisionally planned for later in the year.