Thursday, April 11, 2024

Bird takes flight

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Champion Paul Bird of England made a great start in his defence of the Sol Rally Barbados title yesterday.
He was leading in his Ford Focus WRC08 after seven of the 11 opening day’s stages.
Jamaican Jeffrey Panton was occupying second place in his Ford Focus WRC06, while 12-time champion Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete was third in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12.
Neil Armstrong, winner of last weekend’s Scotiabank King Of The Hill, was fourth in his Suzuki SX4 WRC.
The action got started about 10 a.m with the Luke Hill to Pickering, St Lucy stage where Armstrong was leading off the action but he developed problems with his brakes.  
Bird was hot on his heels into the stages and as some expected, he assumed top position, capitalizing on Armstong’s plight. Skeete was next and with a new engine he was on the charge but didn’t manage to take the lead.
Steve Perez was the first of the top drivers to end the rally early after his Ford Focus caught fire.
Roger Duckworth had a bit of spin and lost time but Panton climbed the standings early on and settled into second place.
The two-wheel drive battle was hot and there is no doubt that if WRC cars mess up they will be taken out.
Roger Mayers had gearbox problems early and was playing catch up, while Ian Warren and Josh Read were also in the mix.
Newcomer Tommy Doyle brought his Renault to do battle and held off a charge from Daryl Clarke.
Unfortunately, Paul Bourne was apparently unable to start the rally because his hydraulics and paddle shift had done him over.
Also out early were Geoffrey Ullyett and Bret Clarke who were both thought to be in with a chance for top honours in their class.
On the day, the Dark Hole stage was the talk of the town and an altercation between some spectators halted stage five.
The stage was very slippy and Geoffrey Goddard, a co-driver, said that he and his driver thought that the car had snapped in half a few times; the bumps and sudden jumps turning the car backwards.

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