Glenn Campbell’s dreams of victory at the Sol Rally Barbados were dashed at the end of leg one when the engine in his car expired.
Navigated by Donaghadee’s Jonathan MacDonald, it was a disappointing blow for the Ballyclare driver, who had amassed a class lead of almost two minutes and held 51st overall in his 1300cc Dynotune backed car.
With thousands of spectators lining the stages on the motorsport mad Caribbean island, the crew had enjoyed an excellent start to the event, moving into second in class and 74th overall after the opening stage on Saturday. Two stages later, they had climbed into the top spot and promptly started to increase their advantage over their class rivals.
They continued to set the pace on the remainder of the day’s 12 stages, and although they encountered some brake troubles during stage seven, a quick dash into service sorted the problem in time for the day’s final five stages.
When they returned to service after stage nine, the Burn Road Trade Sales backed crew found themselves holding 55th overall and a class lead of just over one minute. With a lamp pod fitted for the night stages, all seemed well in the Campbell Motorsport camp as they headed to stage 10.
As it transpired, they had to wait a little bit longer to get back in action. Stage 10 was cancelled due to the sheer amount of spectators on the stage, leaving all competitors to drive through in convoy.
On the two remaining stages, - which took place in the dark - Campbell and MacDonald continued to push hard, setting fastest class times on both tests to end the day in 51st overall and heading their class by almost two minutes. However, as they crossed the finish line of the final stage, all wasn’t well with their car.
“I could feel the power fade away just before the finish of the stage,” Campbell explained. “As soon as we slowed down, we could hear the engine making strange noises. Shortly after that, it stopped and refused to restart. “
Engine failure forced the crew out of the rally, leaving them as spectators for the second day of the event. After travelling so far, it was a bitter disappointment for the Motorcare sponsored team, but Campbell already has plans to return to the event.
“It’s definitely unfinished business,” he said, “I’ll just have to go back next year and try again!”
Another local crew also entered the event, with Carnlough’s Joe McQuillan sealing 45th overall and third in class. He had a last-minute change of navigator, as Glengormley’s Neill Finlay was forced to sit out due to a broken arm. Instead, Gene McDonald stepped into the hot seat, keeping McQuillan on the straight and narrow throughout the two-day event.