After a hard-fought season, with three different crews winning the four events so far, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship reaches a conclusion this Sunday with the November Safari, sponsored by Toyota dealer Nassco for the 10th consecutive year.
Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney (Honda Pioneer) have a two-point lead in the standings over Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Isuzu D-Max), who are the route-setters for the final showdown.
Cozier and Croney kicked off the 2017 season with victory in the March Safari – Alleyne and O’Neal were third – then finished second to the four-time champions in April and June. In September, it was the turn of 2010 Safari champions Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards (Toyota Hilux) to claim a victory, their first since the March Safari of their title-winning season, when Edwards was champion driver and Corbin champion navigator.
With the 2012 MudDogs champions Chris Armstrong and Wayne Clarke (Toyota Hilux) also on the entry list confirmed at Monday’s briefing, along with Michael Ward and Warrick Eastmond (Suzuki Jimny) and the crew of Trevor Manning and Derek Gill (Toyota Hilux), the outcome of Sunday’s event is not easy to predict.
The first crew will leave the start at the Country View Bar in Market Hill, St George, at 8 a.m, to tackle two routes in the island’s central parishes. After the lunch halt at Chefette, Welches, at around 11.30 a.m, crews will head towards the finish back at the Country View Bar at approximately 4.30 p.m.
Route setter Alleyne said: “We are very excited and pleased with what we have for the guys. In order, we pass through St George, St Michael, St Thomas, St Joseph and St John, then back to St George. There will be a nice driver challenge near the finish in front of the Country View Bar at around 4p.m. and an undisclosed challenge in Route 1, which will require team effort. There are four other exciting spots if we get rain . . . but I have to see what the weather does first.”
MudDogs chairman Ricky Holder said: “From what I have heard, Leslie and Chris have come up with something special to end the season, just as Wayne Manning and Willie Hinds did last year. As ever, thanks to the route-setters, our eager band of volunteer marshals, our title sponsor Chefette and, of course, Nassco, which is now in its 10th year of sponsorship for the November Safari. Without the involvement of all these individuals and organisations, we simply wouldn’t have a championship, so a big shout-out to them all. Good luck to all the crews at the weekend.”
Sunday’s event is the last of five staged between March and November to make up the 2017 championship. 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. The Nassco November Safari prize-giving will be next Tuesday (November 14) at Country View Bar.
Line-up and leaders:
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship & Chefette MudDogs Safari Novice Championship
Round 5 – November 12 – Nassco November Safari
1 Yousuf Patel/Abdullah Patel
2 Michael Ward/Warrick Eastmond
3 Ryan Corbin/Dustin Edwards
4 Chris Armstrong/Wayne Clarke
5 George Mendes/ (Mitsubishi Sportero)
6 Richard Hinkson/Kevin-Jon Manning (Suzuki Samurai)
7 Trevor Manning/Derek Gill (Toyota Hilux)
8 Jean-Marc Cozier/Andrew Croney
9 Kerry Renee/Andre Murrell
10 Nicholas Lorde/Brett Barber
(Land Rover Discovery)
11 Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Eastern Veterinary Clinic/Toyo Tyres Ford Ranger)
12 Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning
(Black Bess Group Suzuki Samurai)
Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship
Positions after round four:
1st Cozier/Croney, 232 points
2nd Leslie Alleyne/Chris O’Neal (Isuz D-Max), 230pts
3rd Corbin/Edwards, 222pts
4th Armstrong/Clarke, 208pts
5th Ward/Eastmond, 204pts
6th Mendes/Mendes, 184pts