Five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae beat all class contenders to the top prize in Barbados historic rallying - King of the Carnival.
Driving a Tuthill Porsche Post-Historic 911 with trusty long-time co-driver Ian Grindrod by his side, the Scottish ace blitzed all in Category 2 - for cars built between 1968 and 1974 - in the International Rallysprint and the Barbados Historic Rally, to bring home the Andrew Phillips Memorial trophy.
The RallySprint at Vaucluse Raceway was the first event of the Carnival. Of the six class categories contended, McRae was fastest in Post-Historic Category 2, with local driver Wayne Manning's Mk1 Escort RS2000 fewer than two seconds off McRae's 2m 25.6s time.
Ian 'Pip' Coulson won the Classic Category 3a class - for 1600cc cars built between 1975 and 1981. The competition from Bajan Johnathan Ince's rapid Daihatsu Charmant was stiff, but Pip's consistent and tidy driving saw him over the finish line first.
In Classic Category 3b - for over-1600cc cars - the 2011 Barbados Historic Rally Carnival winner Darren Moon's newly-built Mk2 Ford Escort RS pipped Barry 'Baz' Jordan's Escort RS2000 by 1.1 seconds in the semis, to get him into the final.
Yorkshireman Moon was back in Barbados, claiming his Carnival King prize of a free trip to this year's event. While preparing his new lightweight asphalt Appendix K Escort RS just for the Caribbean trip, Moon had a bit of a setback, when his new paint job began flaking off! Frantically stripped back to a bare bodyshell, sandblasted again and repainted, Moon had just two weeks to build the car before its trip to Barbados.
Before the RallySprint Moon explained: "We literally finished it on a Saturday, set the camber and castor on Saturday morning, took it up the road and it felt too high, so we lowered it, took a bit of castor off, took it up the road again and then it went on the trailer to go to Portsmouth (to be loaded on the Barbados-bound Geest banana boat). So that's all it's done."
Moon dominated the Category 3b heats, with fastest times in all three runs, but was beaten in the final by Greg Cozier in a similar Appendix K Escort RS, certainly hinting at some stiff competition to come in the Barbados Historic Rally the following weekend.
'Domination' describes Joshua 'Josh' Read's RallySprint performance in the Group B category for Historic, Post-Historic and Classic cars built with modern components (like non-original engines, sequential gearboxes and fuel injection). The 2007 Barbados Motoring Club Champion and 2013 Barbados Rally Club Champ stormed his rear-drive Toyota Starlet to a convincing victory, more than ten seconds faster than his four category competitors.
Josh started rallying in 2005 and has developed the Starlet to its latest, stunning 2015 specification. Fitted with a Hasselgren 'just over' 1800cc 4A-GE twin cam (US-rebuilt this year) with some 270bhp, the engine runs to 10,000rpm. "It's a screamer," confirms Josh.
After the enthusiastic Saturday night RallySprint prizegiving celebrations, on Sunday crews met up for the Ian Grindrod invitational 20/20 Cricket Match and Hog Roast at Glendale Cricket Club.
Umpired by BHRC founder Greg Cozier (in his infamous Bajan 'Gentleman Pirate' Stede Bonnet costume, in order to better dispense the Jolly Roger 'Pirate Punch Penalties'), the event was run to interpretively correct cricket rules and resulted in a draw between the home team (captained by Spencer Hutchinson) and the touring side (skippered by Ian Grindrod).
Neither captain was in any condition to give this reporter a post-event interview. . .