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TRINIDAD rally racing - Powell and March visit Barbados

Overall winner Mark Hamilton (centre) is flanked by Cherraine Read (left) and Suzie Downie. >

Date May 31, 2005 by TREVOR THORPE

"IT HASN'T SUNK IN yet, but it will."

The words of Roger "His Hotness" Mayers, the winner of this year's prestigious Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) Rally Barbados which ended at the Vaucluse Raceway with a Super Special on Sunday.

Thousands watched the two-day event as Mayers and co-driver Max Ferri picked up a total elapsed time of 58 minutes, 46.99 seconds, in the Trivial Pursuit/McEnearney/M &M Racing Ford Focus WRC.

Part of the annual Rally Carnival, it was an outstanding performance from the pair who were robbed of the top spot in last year's event after leading up to the half-way stage.

However, this year's win was not without incident as they had to overcome a broken gearbox mount on Sunday morning, which sent shivers through the entire M &M Racing camp.

Reliability problems had always dogged the talented young driver since he switch to the Ford Focus some years ago.

Always favoured to win the Caribbean's prestigious event, Mayers and Ferri started cautiously and by the end of the first session had taken a 33-second lead on the nearest rivals, the Jamaican pair of John "Penti" Powell and Michael March in an "ex-works" Toyota Corolla WRC, who were ahead of another Jamaican pair, Gary

"The Colonel" Gregg and Hugh Hutchinson in the ex-Carlos Sainz Ford

Focus WRC.

Conditions were almost ideal for rallying and most drivers were cautious during the early part of the rally, and were playing a wait-and-see game in the event which had attracted a top-class field from Europe and the Caribbean.

Of the foreign competitors Powell and March, in the Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring and Launch Services/Toyota Trinidad Toyota Corolla WRC, turned in a good performance to hold on to second spot with a total elapsed time of 59 minutes, 39.73 seconds, ahead of Gregg and Hutchinson in the KFC/BD Gregg & Bros/KIG/NGRacing Ford Focus WRC whose total elapsed time was 59 minutes, 47.04 seconds.

But apart from the top finishers, journeyman driver Barry Mayers and co-driver Adam Hart left fans and followers of the sport searching for superlatives to describe an awesome performance in the 26-stage event.

Driving the Trivial Pursuit/Nassco Ltd Toyota Starlet, Mayers, younger brother to rally winner Roger, upset not only the two-wheel drive competitors, but a large number of 4X4 pairs.

Finishing fourth overall with a total elapsed time 101 minutes, 12.76 seconds, he proved to be too hot for the remainder of the field.

Four-wheel drive competitors like Roger "The Ninja" Hill and Graham Gittens in the Mobil1Esso/Motormac/Michelin Toyota Celica GT4, Peter Moodie (Jnr) and Mike Fennell (Jnr), Doug "Hollywood" Gore and Mark Nelson in a Lancer Evolution VIII, Trevor "Electric Micey" Manning and James Betts also in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII and England's Kevin Procter in a specially modified Ford Puma Evolution and Harold "Doc" Morley and Geoff Goddard in the Sunbeach Subaru Impreza WRC all felt the "hand" of Mayers, finishing fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

Talented Sean Gill and Michael "Zippy" Cummins in the Shell Helix/Courts/Automotive Art/Kerridge/Simpson Motors Suzuki Ignis JWRC amassed a total elapsed time of 104 minutes, 19.51 seconds, turned in a good performance to be the second fastest two-wheel drive competitors.


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