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J'cans win Rally T&T

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 12, 2019

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JAMAICA'S Kyle Gregg and co-driver Marcia Dawes were the toast of Rally Trinidad held in the twin island republic last weekend. They were part of a five-team contingent dubbed Team Jamaica.

Gregg, 30, said he was elated at his first rally victory.

“It feels really good and I'm proud to win my first international rally. Tears came to my eye as we approached the last corner of the stage. My navigator Marcia Dawes started to sing the Champion song by DJ Bravo,” he told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

As his first outing on the Trinidadian stages, Gregg took measured pace until they took over the lead on the close of the event's second day. By rally's end, they had a comfortable lead over the locals, grabbing the overall and Group N class wins. Second place was taken by Trinidadians Craig Sumair and Simon Rodriguez. Third went to Trinidadians Radj Pershad and Schuravi Maillian.

“The level of competition was great, especially on the Saturday. We were trading times with their past two champions,” he said.

He said despite the fact that both Rally Jamaica and Rally Trinidad are gravel events, their surfaces are very different: Trinidad being loose and sandy; versus the tough rocky Jamaican stages. He explained that proper preparation proved a significant piece to the victory and he thanked his team of mechanics, Ian Webb and Oneil James, for keeping his Lancer Evolution IX running flawlessly.

“The biggest challenge was not knowing the stages. Our pace notes had to be spot on. The Trinis, being at home had local knowledge as they have raced the stages numerous times.”

The rest of the Jamaican team didn't fare as well as Gregg, despite valiant performances. First to fall was the team of Joel Jackson and Dmitri Dawkins, their Subaru Impreza STi suffered a broken gearbox. The Lancer Evolution IX of Timothy Stewart and Stephen Gunter would also exit due to mechanical failure while chasing third overall. Bobby Marshall and Michelle Laidlaw did manage to finish sixth overall after surviving an electrical fire that cost them five minutes. The tenacity of the Jamaican competitors was best seen in Lee Vaz and Andrew Grahame, as the pair drove through several sets of broken suspension pieces garnering the Spirit Of Rallying Award.


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