Friday, April 19, 2024

Watson, Roach share BRC lead


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RHETT WATSON and youthful Conor Roach hold a slender lead in the race for the coveted champion driver’s title in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Virgin Atlantic Championship.
The two both have 105 points as interest turns to the next event, the Summer Nights Tarmac Stages Rally, slated for August 17.
Drivers count their nine best scores at year-end.
Watson, competing in SuperModified 12 at the wheel of the Oreo/Chips Ahoy/Armstrong Agencies/Power King Batteries/Unknown Entity/Hankook Tyres/SpringBoard Marketing Platforms/In support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3, and Roach, in the Clubman Class, driving a Peugeot 106, have been class leaders since the start of the season.
They scored wins in the Spring Blaze double-header speed event in March, shared with the Motoring Club Barbados Inc. (MCBI), and in April’s Valvoline Rally.
But it was the intense competition over the two most important weekends of the year, the Scotiabank King Of The Hill and Sol Rally Barbados, which changed things.
Roach was beaten by Trevor Mapp in a Mitsubishi Mirage RS at King Of The Hill, to slip two points behind Watson, who maintained his 100 per cent record, while Josh Read also fell back, beaten by Roger “His Hotness” Mayers in a WR Starlet.
On the first day of Sol Rally Barbados (each is a separate points-scoring round) it was Watson’s turn for an upset, beaten by Brian ‘The Iceman’ Gill’s BMW M3, although he bounced back with a class win and maximum Power Stage bonus points the following day.
Roach took both class wins, but only two bonus points, to stay level with Watson, while Read slipped to fourth, beaten by Mayers on the first day of the rally. Read was also beaten by both Mayers and Warren on the final day of the Sol Rally Barbados.
Behind Roach and Watson is the consistent Geoff Noel in the Kick Energy Drink/Sentry Insurance Brokers/Automotive Art/CIAC Air Conditioners/Mix 96.9FM/Dewalt Tools Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, with 102 points in third place.
He has failed to win Group N only once, finishing second to Andrew Mallalieu in the Terra Caribbean Subaru Impreza N10 at King Of The Hill, while two-wheel drive ace Read is fourth with 96, followed by Andrew Jones, Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete and Ian “WeeWee” Warren tied for fifth on 92.
After the first three rounds, SM10 leader Read (96), in the Stihl/Gliptone/Hankook/SDRR/Weetabix/Royal Purple/EZone/Coffee Bean Toyota Starlet, continues to lead the two-wheel-drive title chase by four points ahead of Warren, while WRC-1 class-leader Skeete (92) leads Roger “The Ninja” Hill by 19 points in the 4wd Championship.
Meanwhile, the BRC competitors’ numbers are up to 69 local drivers who have taken part in the championship events, compared with 63 for the same period last year and 57 in 2011.

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