Linton Family Elated with Vicotry
High rate of attrition in Carnival Warm-up Tarmac Rally
"Phenomenal doesn't quite cut it, but its close enough!" So said an elated Adrian Linton on Sunday (April 9) after claiming his first-ever overall victory in the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) Carnival Warm-up Tarmac Rally, second round of the Texaco BRC Rally Championship, which Linton now leads.
With wife Jackie co-driving the Ravensden/Crane & Equipment/Garbage Gobbler/West Coast Garden Centre/Edwin Clarke Furniture Vauxhall Astra GSi, Linton's victory was achieved against a background of breakdowns and retirements that saw just 12 of the original 31 starters classified as overall finishers, and thereby eligible to collect Texaco championship points.
Victory for a two-wheel-drive car in a major event is rare these days, especially in special stage rallies, but a typically-modest Linton was not bragging: "The natural attrition of rally cars in a competitive environment basically dealt me a full house today. Its still hard to believe that we did it, but we're happy we did . . . and we're enjoying it while it lasts."
Rallying for the Lintons is very much a family business. Adrian said: "Jackie thoroughly enjoyed it, and is elated at the result. Brother Jonathan, son Dominic, father Denis and Barefoot Rastaman Michael were on hand as pit crew, empty Gatorade bottle-fillers, morale boosters and fan club and were proud to be part of the Kickastra Rally Team."
Twelve stages were planned at two venues - Woodland Plantation to Featherbed Lane and Mapps to Stewarts Hill; each was run in the reverse direction after lunch, although a delayed morning start resulted in the cancellation of the final run from Stewarts Hill to Mapps.
The attrition started early, at the end of the first stage, in fact . . . the fastest man through that opening run from Woodland to Featherbed Lane, Barry Gale, was pushed into retirement by co-driver Ryan Rodriguez and visiting Jamaican John 'Pentti' Powell; a rogue radiator cap under the bonnet of the VP Racing/Nishikoi Fish Foods Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI had smashed fan blades and punctured the radiator.
And that handed the lead to Jonathan Still and Heath Hazell (Hitachi Power Tools/Philips Lighting/Warrens Motors/VP Racing/Crane & Equipment/Autolink BMW M3); they had been second fastest, with a margin of more than two seconds over Roger Skeete and Stuart Maloney, who had started at number 1 in the Texaco/Michelin Peugeot 306 S16 . . . and 'The Sheriff' was the next to go, missing stage two, and therefore out of contention for an overall position.
Geoff Noel and Kreigg Yearwood (Subaru Impreza WRC) were fastest on two stages, embroiled in an entertaining battle with father and son crew St Elmo and Owen Cumberbatch, the handling of the Michelin/Carib Supply/F Taylor Insurance BMW E36 much improved; both crews had missed stages by the lunch halt at Colleton Plantation Yard, however, dropping out of overall contention.
Indeed, by lunch, only 18 cars had completed all six stages; others to have suffered included Kirk Watkins/Graham Gittens (Abacus Builders Inc/Planned Maintenance Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V), who had experienced problems with the diff, meaning there was now just one four-wheel-drive car in contention, the Auto Airtronic Services/Simple Green Toyota Celica GT4 of Ryan Hutchinson and Melissa Blades.
Still and Hazell were now leading by a little over 20 seconds, with a surprised Linton in second place: "At the lunch stop, we realised that we were second overall; we had started stage one with a bit of anxiety, since it was Jackie's first time in the seat in about three years, but she got back into it really quickly and we were running at a good pace from stage two. I had no thoughts of catching Stillo, but focused on not making any mistakes, or taking un-necessary chances."
Linton's closest challengers were Mark Hamilton and Lindsay Farmer in the Consolidated Finance/McEnearney Quality Inc Ford Escort MkII and Ian 'Wee Wee' Warren/Matthew Staffner (Peugeot 206). Linton said: "We were comparing times with Hammie and WeeWee since the three of us were very similar, so the afternoon stages started with caution in mind."
There was drama ahead for Still and Hazell, however, an unpredictable oil-related problem resulting in a delay which caused them to miss the penultimate stage. Linton said: "We finished with what we thought was a solid second place overall; we had seen Stillo alongside the road, but they gave the impression that they would continue. We found out at the finish that he had missed a stage, elevating us to first overall and highest-placed female competitor."
With many people committed over the Easter weekend, the prize-giving for Sunday's event is now scheduled for The Boatyard next Tuesday (April 18) at 7.00pm.
BRC Carnival Warm-up Tarmac Rally
Texaco BRC Rally Championship, round 2
Provisional top 10:
1st Adrian Linton/Jackie Linton (Ravensden/Crane & Equipment/Garbage Gobbler/West Coast Garden Centre/Edwin Clarke Furniture
Vauxhall Astra GSi), 25m 03.829s
2nd Mark Hamilton/Lindsay Farmer (Consolidated Finance/McEnearney Quality Inc Ford Escort MkII), 25m 09.387s
3rd Ian Warren/Matthew Staffner (Peugeot 206GTi), 25m 15.071s
4th Rhett Watson/Logan Watson (The Unknown Entity/New Media Advertising/Makita Power Tools/NF Nitrous Booster Ford Escort MkI), 26m 38.263s
5th John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Corbin's Garage/Klark-Odio Toyota Corolla), 26m 58.578s
6th Ryan Hutchinson/Melissa Blades (Auto Airtronic Services/Simple Green Toyota Celica GT4), 27m 10.191s
7th James Betts/Darnley Rayside (Star Products/Champion Auto/QuikStart Auto/Kendal Sporting/L & N Workshop/Van Betts Marble Man/Hankook Tyres/All Terrain Plus/Undercover Awnings Opel Corsa GSi), 27m 15.819s
8th Neil Barnard/Megan Blades (Shell Helix/Automotive Art Suzuki Ignis Sport), 28m 19.668s
9th Tristan Gibbs/Andrew Gittens (Rent-a-Tool/Scorpion Liners/Boyss Ltd/Algae X/Corrosion Block/Surfside Gym Toyota Starlet Turbo), 28m 43.909s
10th Ryan Wood/Raymond Parris (Sitemasters Toyota Starlet), 29m 06.494s
Texaco BRC Rally Championship
Provisional positions after round 2:
1st Linton, 21 points
2nd Hamilton, 17pts
3rd Paul Bourne (Warrens Motors Subaru Impreza WRC), 15pts
4th Warren, 13pts
5th Barry Gale (VP Racing/Nishikoi Fish Foods Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI), 12pts
6th equal Harold Morley (Sunbeach Communications Inc/Warrens Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S9) &
Rhett Watson (The Unknown Entity/New Media Advertising/Makita Power Tools/NF Nitrous Booster Ford Escort MkI), 10pts
8th equal Kirk Watkins (Abacus Builders Inc/Planned Maintenance Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V), Corbin and Hutchinson. 8pts