The Corbins

The Corbins

Champions both, the brothers helped start the success of Toyota

Almost lost among the many ‘firsts’ and personal achievements recorded in the history of the June Rally is that of John and Michael Corbin, whose one-two finish in 1985 is the only one claimed by two brothers – the result came mid-way through a decade in which the Corbins were a strong force in all motor sport disciplines.

During the 1980s, the brothers – and their Toyotas – were regular winners of individual events, while both were Club Rally Champions; and, while Michael never won the June Rally outright, he collected the Dobbie Douglas Trophy for the overall fastest time on the special stages in its first two years. Meanwhile, John collected many trophies as Group special stage winner.

Their rallying successes were shared with a number of the island’s leading navigators; in John’s case, his partner for the 1985 win – and the Club Championship that year – was Kevyn Yearwood, but he also claimed some top 10 finishes with Dave Barnard. Michael enjoyed a very successful partnership with Tyrone Moseley, which produced multiple Club Championships.

Michael was also a front-runner in acceleration tests and hill sprints, where split-seconds were swapped back and forth with the likes of Freddie Mapp and – later in the ‘80s – Richard Roett and Roger Skeete. While Michael has now retired from competition, John has continued, his immaculate yellow Corolla driven with energy and style, whatever the competition; whether in a RallySprint at the Vaucluse Raceway, or on Club speed events or rallies, he gives his all. As recently as 2001, John and co-driver Rodney Clarke won their Group on the Texaco All-Stage Rally.

In parallel with their competition careers, the family runs a successful car rental business and automotive workshop, where their preparation standards are a match for their driving talent. Their interest in Toyotas is not confined to competition, as almost any public display of classic cars will include immaculate examples of the Japanese marque, rebuilt and restored to the same high standards as their rally machines.

Even when John does decide to hang up his helmet, the Corbin name will almost certainly continue to be heard; his son Edward has inherited the competitive genes and become a front-runner over the past few years, clocking up a hat-trick of Group wins on Rally Barbados, and in the Driver’s Championship, losing the overall title on a tie-break to Sean Gill in 2003.

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