Hutchinson, Gregg team up for Rally Ja crown
After mechanical challenges on the first stage - which almost forced them out of the event - the persistent pair of Kyle Gregg and navigator Hugh Hutchinson turned in a classy performance to register a dramatic win on the final leg Sunday afternoon to snatch the 2014 Rally Jamaica title.
Hutchinson, a Jamaican who resides in the United States, teamed up this year with the son of his original partner, Gary Gregg. Both Gary (Gregg) and Hutchinson have established themselves as a successful team in rallying.
"After our encounter on the first stage, Saturday, we were far behind on time and a win at one stage seemed unbelievable. But we worked for it. I was highly motivated by my navigator (Hutchinson), who kept shouting to me 'keep calm, don't ease up, press'. Near to the end, the rally leader, Joel Jackson, made a mistake and we capitalised on his error," a chuckling Gregg told The Gleaner yesterday.
This is his second major title for 2014. Last month, he wrapped up the circuit racing championship at the Dover Raceway.
most competitive rallies
Organiser of the event Larry Henriques said despite the small turn out of competitors, the rally was fantastic.
"It was one of the most competitive rallies in recent times. It went down to the final stage before the winner could be decided," said Henriques.
Completing the podium finish were Joel Jackson/Demitri Dawkins in a Subaru Impreza. Third place went to Jordon Powell/Robert Bahadorsingh, who drove a Honda Civic, while Harold Morley and Mark Nelson in their Subaru Impreza finished fourth.
According to Henriques, the performances of three young navigators, Fraser McConnell, Christ-John Addison and Nicholas Barnes were among the high points of the rally, a gesture which augurs well for the future of rallying in Jamaica.
"We could not have asked for a better venue for the event. The stages were well prepared by the McConnnells of Tru-Juice factory. The rally was run smooth and on time. It ended up much better than the initial perception of what it would be. The 14 competitors turned up and put on a great show," said Henriques.
The rally got under way on Saturday at the Tru-Juice factory in Bog Walk, St Catherine, then resumed Sunday morning and finished at Mickleton in the parish. The stages took the drivers across a number of communities such as Wakefield, New Hall and Mickleton.