Photography by Gerrard Wilson, Devi Nath, Narend Sooknarine, Duane Boodasingh, Dewayne Thomas and Karl Winchester
BARRY MCKENZIE WINS SOUTH RALLY Written by Jacqueline Alexis, Club PRO
Barry Mckenzie with Co Driver Barry Samaroo in the yellow and blue ULTRA/RALLYMAC sponsored EVO6 wins TTRC’s first High Speed Stages Rally for 2009, despite some technical setbacks and a run-off! The Barry x 2 team captured the 4WD Class as well as the Overall Champion of the event in the now familiar Rallymac Yellow and Blue livery.
Sponsored by STAG and ULTRA, – Southern Hospitality, as the event was called, saw the Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club returning to the recently refurbished South Caroni gravel roads of Bronte and Cedar Hill just off the Cipero Road on the way to Princes Town.
Thirteen teams made the start line on Sunday 8th February; the service park was located just off the Bronte Section workshop, The South Stages have now been extended from a 4km stage to 9.5 and 10.2 kms world class gravel stages with every possible turn and straightaway imaginable and are possibly the best Gravel stages available in the Caribbean. Sinuous uphill curves, crests leading into sudden blind dips, kinks and long straightaways were the order of the day.
Ainsley ‘Mr. Action’ Lochan who had rolled in the 2008 penultimate event at Preysal, returned to rally in his ex Jeffrey Panton EVO 9 sponsored by ULTRA/STAG/JOSEF’s/OAKLEY with co-driver Robert Dumas. They suffered some mechanical troubles as well but were still able to secure 2nd place in 4WD class.
This was an important rally to the local drivers as the Club begins its preparation for their Invitational event in April – Rally Trinidad 2009. The riders of The Off Road Motorcycle Association of Trinidad & Tobago (TORMATT) were guests of the Rally Club and they ran the Cedar Hill stage prior to the evening restart, adding a new attraction to Gravel Motorsport and possibly a permanent fixture.
The rally was not without regional assistance. David Campbell, a Jamaican National and rally enthusiast now based in Miami, was Chief Scrutineer, whilst renowned UK rally driver – Harold Morley – with Yugesh Maraj as Chief Marshal managed the event with much success. The first 3 special stages on Bronte were run off like clock work and time was made up, resulting in only an overall 20-minute delay at Bronte.
The Club welcomes back 2 “old-comers” – Franklyn “Silver Fox” Seegobin after an absence of 2 years in his Toyota Corolla and Fawaz Mohammed and co-driver Ishwar Patel in their Mitsubishi Lancer. Both competitors were successful and took podium finishes.
Not to be outdone, Darrel ‘Fass Man’ Ramesar and co-driver Adam Archer in their EVO3, topped the 2WD class with some blistering speeds, leaving his “FASS MEN RE-UNITED” Team-mate – Robert Cadiz – and Mr. Vigourade – Rezan Mohammed – in the dust. Ramesar was 2 minutes behind the 3rd fastest 4WD car.
The Cedar Hill topography proved to be very challenging to the teams with its narrow roads, sharp right angles and several culverts. 4 cars – one 4WD and three 2WD – fell as early prey. Anthony Heerah – Subaru Group A – slid off the road at a blind crest with a 90 Left and hit a culvert permanently retiring his Rallycar from the event. Rezan Mohammed in the Vigourade Mirage also encountered some difficulties and joined Heerah’s Impreza off the road at the Blind Crest. Robert Cadiz had some electrical problems which resulted in his Tropical Power Hyundai Scoupe stall on the 1st Cedar Hill run, missing a stage and out of a podium finish. Ansel Ali driving the Mazda 323 Hatch tried straightening out a Fast left downhill and ended his day in a ditch resulting in a DNF.
Roger Mckenzie impressed his new co-driver – Josh Plaza – with his expert handling of the RALLYMAC/CASTROL sponsored Toyota RunX finishing 1st place in 2-3 class. The Recently Re-sprayed RunX posted some very good stage times to better many competitors in the higher group. Zak Waddell/Luis Monroy Delgado in the beautiful Caterham running a Motorcycle engine was definitely the best sounding rallycar on Sunday, Sarah-Jane Gopaul/Simon Rodriguez in the Mazota hung on despite Wrong Direction penalties and their persistence won out as they too, achieved podium finishes on the day in their 2-4 category.
4WD Drive and Overall Winners
1st - Barry Mckenzie and Barry Samaroo - 33 minutes and 50 seconds
2nd - Ainsley Lochan and Robert Dumas - 34 minutes and 41 seconds
3rd - Fawaz Mohammed and Ishwar Patel - 35 minutes and 16 seconds
1st - Darrel Ramesar and Adam Archer - 37 minutes and 19 seconds
2nd - Franklyn Seegobin and Graveney Dindial – 46 minutes and 22 seconds
3rd - Sarah-Jane Gopaul and Simon Rodriguez-47 minutes and 38 seconds
1st - Roger Mckenzie and Josh Plaza - 38 minutes and 40 seconds
2nd - Zak Waddell and Luis Delgado – 55 minutes and 45 seconds
Rally Trinidad 2009 is carded for the period April 1st to 5th, culminating in an exciting tarmac event on the streets of Chaguanas. Get your updates on www.rallytrinidad.comor contact 735-7908/299-8475 for more information.