Neil Corbin, Mark Maloney and Trinidad and Tobago’s Justin Wortman won the knockout final at the ULTRAFEST RallySprint on Saturday at Bushy Park. The last three head-to-head races of more than 60 during the afternoon were run as the sun was setting and the venue’s all-arena lighting turned on, after which some of the island’s leading drag racers kept the crowd on their feet much later into the evening.
The RallySprint, run on the two-lane three-kilometre layout that was used for the Race Of Champions in 2014, was organised by the Vaucluse Raceway Motorsport Club (VRMSC), and the evening drag racing by the Barbados Association of Dragsters & Drifters (BADD). ULTRAFEST was promoted by Camber House and sponsored by Automotive Art, Digicel, Falken Tires, First Citizens, Valvoline and Williams Industries.
Wortman was one of five drivers from T&T. He and father Ronald, David Coelho, Christian Hospedales and Ryan Peyrau, all four of whom have raced at Bushy Park in the past, shared three of the Mazda sports cars which run in the Caribbean Spec Miata Series at the country’s Wallerfield Raceway. They were grouped with the BMW 318ti hatchbacks from the BimmaCup, which created some close-fought head-to-head races, despite the fastest Miata in Qualifying (Peyrau, 1m 47.750s) being nearly two seconds quicker than Ryan Wood’s best BimmaCup lap (1:49.511).
After the ‘Round of 16’ had reduced the original 13 starters to eight for the quarterfinals, the four races would each pit BimmaCup against Miata and Bajan against visiting Trini. After Wortman Junior, Peyrau and Hospedales had beaten Chris Hoad, Ian Warren and Allan Kinch respectively, the pressure was on Wood to beat Wortman Senior in the last quarterfinal, which was very close, ‘Woody’ winning by a length or so to an enthusiastic cheer from the crowd. The remaining Wortman beat countryman Peyrau in the first semifinal, while Wood kept home hopes alive by dispatching Hospedales in the second but lost out, just, to the young Wortman in the final.
The Modified two-wheel-drive (2wd) category suffered with attrition, the six entries cut by half after Jason Harewood (Toyota Starlet) lost drive and Paul Inniss (Honda Civic) assaulted the tecpro barrier in the second qualifying runs, then Mark Maloney’s new Group 3 Starlet also failed to appear for the third. That left one contested semifinal in which Neil Corbin (Starlet) beat Andre Corbin (Toyota Corolla) before meeting Edward Corbin (Daihatsu Charmant) in the final. The Starlet of the 2012 and 2020 Barbados Rally Club Champion beat the Charmant of the 2019 and 2022 Champion, a satisfying end to a fun one-off outing in his now-retired car.
Andrew Mallalieu beat Paul Horton of the Turks & Caicos Rally Team in a battle of Ford Fiesta R5s to claim the last seat in the Modified four-wheel-drive (4wd) quarterfinals but would be beaten by Stuart Maloney (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo). Dane Skeete, his Subaru Impreza WRC S12 the only non-R5 in the group, beat Britain’s Rob Swann (Fiesta Rally2) in the first quarterfinal, while Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Fiesta Rally2) prevailed in the second after Josh Read’s Fiesta R5 broke an axle. In the third, Mark Maloney (Fabia Rally2 evo) beat Roger Hill (Fabia R5) to set up a Semi-Final fight with brother Stuart.
Before that, however, Skeete faced Panton, the Jamaican having his last weekend in the Fiesta before switching to a Fabia; it was close, but the longer legs of the Impreza WRC carried it over the line ahead in a very close finish. The sun was setting as the two Maloney Fabias lined up and ran neck-and-neck throughout, with an even closer finish in which Mark beat Stuart. Up to now, Dane Skeete had crossed the line five times, in the qualifying runs, quarters and semis, and each time he had been the car in front, but all that changed in the final, in which a spin at the last hairpin on the course – then a few crowd-pleasing donuts for good measure – left Maloney the clear winner. (RB)