Johnson and Lynch win inaugural Class B battle

Jean-Marc Cozier and Andrew Croney kicked off their 2018 Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship campaign on Sunday (March 11) exactly as they started last year’s, with victory on the March Safari. On an all-round good day in the Country View Bar/Market Hill Farms/Westside Security Services Honda Pioneer, Cozier also claimed a clean sweep of the Driver Challenges to lead the Shelbury Construction Trophy standings.

  As they also won both routes, Cozier and Croney collected the lion’s share of the trophies at Tuesday’s (March 13) Prizegiving at the Country View Bar, Market Hill, St George, where the jovial and positive atmosphere was a good omen for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) off-road division’s new season. Damien Johnson and Justin Lynch won the new Class B, while Bridget Garity was the highest-placed female competitor.

  Route-setters for the season-opener were Ryan Corbin and Dustin Edwards, who also helped Brett Barber and his team create the three Driver Challenges. Both the route and the layout of the Driver Challenges earned high praise from competitors, particularly as Corbin and Edwards had managed to set the event in just a couple of weeks.

  Although absent from the Prizegiving, MudDogs Chairman Ricky Holder said: “To set such an excellent event in so short a time span was a remarkable feat and has contributed to a very positive start to our new season. We owe a debt of gratitude to all those guys who contributed to the route and the Driver Challenges, also the volunteers who marshalled the route. The Driver Challenges played their part, too, worth around 10 per cent of the total penalties, making for a valuable contribution from the drivers.”

  Cozier and Croney set out their stall early, opening up a margin of 134 points in the first route, which ran from Mahogany Ridge, Plum Tree Road, St Thomas to the lunch halt at Chefette Speightstown and included two of the Driver Challenges. Multiple Champions Leslie Alleyne and Chris O’Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max) were second in the morning, ahead of Willie Hinds and Wayne Manning in the Black Bess Construction Suzuki Samurai.

  As the afternoon route led the crews back towards the centre of the island and the finish at the Country View Bar, Cozier and Croney increased the advantage; having finished sixth in the morning, Michael Ward and Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire & Security/Quality Tyre Suzuki Jimny) were just 80 penalties adrift of Cozier and Croney in the afternoon, with Alleyne and O’Neal third, but it was not enough to wrest second place away from the Reigning Champions at the end of the day.

  In the new Class B, which caters for crews who scored an average of 50 points or less per event over the past three seasons, the battle was even closer and the margin of victory more than 100 points less than the overall. Damien Johnson and Justin Lynch in the Dce Tuned Toyota Hilux established a healthy margin in Route 1, finishing fourth overall, comfortably ahead of their class-mates; Yosuf and Bilal Patel (Aquarius Faucets/ToolCraft Mitsubishi L200) were 386 penalties behind and Richard Hinkson and Kevin-Jon Manning in the Windforce Tyres Suzuki Samurai more than 100 behind them.

  The tables were turned in Route 2, however, the Patels topping the class in the afternoon – they were fifth overall - with Hinkson/Manning and Johnson/Lynch second and third; despite dropping more than 200 penalties to their opponents, however, their first round advantage was sufficient to give Johnson and Lynch a head start in the standings in the new class, winning by a margin of 184 penalty points.

  Cozier also leads the Shelbury Construction Trophy points table after a clean sweep of victories in the three Driver Challenges, which attracted a good turn-out of spectators to locations at Vaucluse, Turners Hall and Castle. In the first, Cozier finished ahead of Class B contender Hinkson, Hinds, Ward and Alleyne; when they moved on to Turners Hall, Stephen Mayers finished second, ahead of Ward, Alleyne and Hinds; finally, Ward, Chris Armstrong, Mayers and Johnson from Class B completed the top five in the final test.

March Safari - March 11 Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship, round 1 Overall 

1st Jean-Marc Cozier/Andrew Croney (Country View Bar/Market Hill Farms/Westside Security Services Honda Pioneer), 506 penalties 2nd Leslie Alleyne/Chris O'Neal (Simpson Motors/Shell Spirax/Shell Rimula/Maxxis Isuzu D-Max), 792pens 3rd Michael Ward/Warrick Eastmond (Regional Fire & Security/Quality Tyre Suzuki Jimny), 892pens 4th Willie Hinds/Wayne Manning (Black Bess Construction Suzuki Samurai), 976pens 5th Trevor Manning/Derek Gill (Garbage Master Mitsubishi L200), 1356pens 6th Damien Johnson/Justin Lynch (Dce Tuned Toyota Hilux), 1428pens 7th Yosuf Patel/Bilal Patel (Aquarius Faucets/ToolCraft Mitsubishi L200), 1612pens 8th Stephen Mayers/David Reece (Toyota Hilux), 1800pens 9th Richard Hinkson/Kevin-Jon Manning (Windforce Tyres Suzuki Samurai), 1884pens 10th Dean Springer/Bridget Garity (Toyo Tires/Eastern Veterinary Clinic Ford Ranger), 2112pens etc Route 1: 1st Cozier/Croney 270pens; 2nd Alleyne/O’Neal 404pens; 3rd Hinds/W Manning 498pens; 4th Johnson/Lynch 504pens; 5th T Manning/Gill 572pens; etc Route 2: 1st Cozier/Croney 236pens; 2nd Ward/Eastmond 316pens; 3rd Alleyne/O’Neal 388pens; 4th Hinds/W Manning 478pens; 5th Patel/Patel 722pens; etc Class B 1st Johnson/Lynch, 1428pens 2nd Patel/Patel, 1612pens 3rd Hinkson/K-J Manning, 1884pens 4th Kai Prescod/Kristina Pinto (Ford PK XLT), 2866pens 5th John Pinto/Nicholas Branson (Structural Systems GMC Sonoma), 3110pens Route 1: 1st Johnson/Lynch 504pens; 2nd Patel/Patel 890pens; 3rd Hinkson/K-J Manning 1004pens; etc Route 2: 1st Patel/Patel 722pens; 2nd Hinkson/K-J Manning 880pens; 3rd Johnson/Lynch 924pens; etc Shelbury Construction Trophy, round 1 1st Cozier 0 points; 2nd Ward 60pts; 3rd Mayers 100pts; equal 4th Hinds & Alleyne 120pts; etc

Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship – future rounds: 

Round 2 - April 14; * MudFest - May 1;
Round 3 - June 23/24;
Round 4 - September 16;
Round 5 - November 11. * non-championship event

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