Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sheriff’s eyes on 15 Sol titles


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FIFTEEN. That’s the number of Sol Rally Barbados triumphs that driving supremo Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete  is targetting before he contemplates retiring from the sport he has dominated for the last three decades.
“Retiring is not on my mind at the moment but 15 would be a nice number of titles to reach in  Sol Rally Barbados before I think about calling it a  day.
“I love the sport and  I am going to be around for a while,” said  59-year-old Skeete, who told NATIONSPORT he was on top of the world after winning this country’s most prized  rally over the weekend  for a 13th time.
“It is euphoria, unbelievable. I never felt  I would have won the event ten times, but you have to have that confidence to move to the next level. You have to keep going forward and believe in yourself.”
Skeete paid tribute  to event sponsors Sol,  who also sponsor him.
“Sol has been a great sponsor. It is so important to have that backing.  Sol has been  incredibly supportive.
“They are like family. They just don’t simply write a cheque. Sol pays attention to all details surrounding our efforts  to maintain a top performance. Sol  is a community oriented company that is interested in safety because  it is a dangerous  sport,” Skeete added.
Behind the overall battle in SOL Rally Barbados, there was more intrigue in WRC-2 for cars built before the end of 2003, where UK drivers Roger Duckworth and Kevin Procter,  in Impreza S6 and S7, respectively, swapped stage wins and the class lead throughout Saturday.
They finished fifth and seventh overall, while local Toyota dealer Roger Hill (Corolla WRC) lost third in WRC-2 and what would have been his 17th top ten finish in 25 years to a fuel pump failure.
The promised battle  for two-wheel drive supremacy between Josh Read (Toyota Starlet), Roger Mayers (WR Starlet) and Dane Skeete (Peugeot 306 Maxi)  hardly materialised.
Read missed Saturday’s fourth stage to resolve  a brake problem, dropping out of the running for overall position, while Skeete (suspension) and Mayers (gearbox) also went missing, leaving Rhett Watson (BMW M3) in charge . . . and he remained so to the end, eighth overall his best Sol Rally Barbados result as a driver.
Overseas visitors also claimed six class wins  and ten further podium finishes. Winners were English newcomers Dick Mauger (M6 Nissan Micra) and Chris Shooter (Int Hist Escort MkII) while, among the returnees, Andrew  Costin-Hurley (GpB2 Ford Puma) and Northern Ireland’s John Hardman (Clubman Micra) each claimed a third class  win. Hardman was also the highest-placed overseas four-wheel drive – with Rupert Lomax (GpA Evo VI) from Wales and Scotland’s Allan Mackay (SM10  Ford Anglia WRC) winning for the first time.
  Podium finishers included three newcomers. Second were Ireland’s Brendan Brosnan  (GpB1 Peugeot 205)  and Frank Kelly (SM11 Escort MkII), the latter also the highest placed overseas rwd, and England’s Tim Green (GpN Impreza).


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