Corbin and Edwards win September Barbados safari

by Robin Bradford

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, September 28, 2007 – Novice crew Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards in the Corbin’s Catering/Sweet Temptations Toyota Hilux beat some experienced practitioners in the art of navigational rallying to win the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) September Safari on Sunday, September 23.

Corbin and Edwards ended the day with 58 penalties, to edge out the experienced Pro crew of Mike Ward and Willie Hinds (Niccolls & Edghill Construction Jeep Wrangler), who incurred 90 penalties to finish second; another novice crew – Wayne Archer and Rhett Watson (Nissan Pickup) – placed third, with 100 penalties.

The day started well for the eventual winners, as they completed route 1 with zero penalties; yet another of the novice crews was looking strong during the morning – after route 1, Dominic Brooker and Stephen Dear in the SDRR Hydraulics/Joe Brooker’s Building Ltd Toyota Hilux were in second place with just 12 penalties, ahead of the leading Pro crew, Stewart Gill and Bruce Wilkie (Suzuki Samurai), on 16.

Ward and Hinds were fourth on route 1, incurring 40 penalties, ahead of Archer/Watson (50 pens), while Gregory Dickenson and Timothy Wells (Toyota Hilux) made it four novice crews in the top six, with 52 penalties.

Some of those early front-runners were to drop away in the second route, including Brooker/Dear, who finished 19th on route 2, dropping to 15th overall in the final result, and Gill/Wilkie, 18th on route 2 and 13th overall.

Two crews cleared route 2 with zero penalties, but both were recovering from being well down the order at the lunch break: Chris Beckley and Warren Gollop (Essco Mitsubishi Pajero) were the more successful of the two, joint first place on route 2 promoting them from 16th to 10th, while John Sealy and Lisa Roett (Land Rover Defender) moved up from 22nd at lunch to finish 19th.

Dave Barnard and Robert Warren were third on the afternoon route in the McEnearney Quality Inc Ford Ranger, moving up from 13th at lunch to finish sixth, while another steady performance from Ward/Hinds placed them equal fifth in the afternoon to consolidate their overall second place.

The zero score from the morning was enough to counteract 10th place and 58 penalties on the afternoon route for eventual winners Corbin and Edwards, while Archer and Watson repeated their fifth place of the morning, helping them to third at the finish.

The highest-placed female competitor was Tricia King (17th overall), while the Sportsmanship Award was presented to Rory Gray and Brian Fernandes (Land Rover 110), who went to the aid of ‘Girtie’, the well-known ex-Peter Bradshaw Land Rover, which had come to grief in the hands of its new crew, Ian Worrell and Wayne Manning.

The September Safari started at the Black Bess Quarry in St Peter, and crews tackled the terrain in the north of the island until the lunch halt at Lamberts Plantation in St Lucy. Thereafter, the event would its way through the parishes of St Andrew, St Joseph and St George on the way to the finish at the BCTSA Clubhouse at Searles in Christchurch.

The recent spell of largely dry weather meant the route was less challenging than competitors had hoped, causing joint (with Neil Barnard) route-setter Barry Gale to remark afterwards: “Next time I set a rally, I am going to attach a water cart to the pick-up. I cannot believe that the four or so mud holes in route 1 were as dry as they were!”

The fourth and final round of the 2007 BRC Safari Championship is the November Safari, slated for Sunday, November 11.