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Rally Barbados - 31 May-2 Jun 19

Posted: November 26, 2019 4:06 AM - 1043 Hits

SKEETE AND MAYHEW BRING SOL RB TROPHY HOME

Posted: November 26, 2019 4:06 AM

On their debut in the event’s World Rally Car class, Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew won Sol Rally Barbados 2019, the 30th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event; after a weekend of high drama and a rarely-seen level of attrition among the front-runners, their margin of victory in the Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12B was just over one minute.

Two British crews achieved their best results to complete the podium: third two years ago, Roger Duckworth (Technia Impreza WRC S6), co-driven by Mark Broomfield, finished second, while Scotland’s Andy Scott and Laura Connell (Rock Oil/Motis/Teng Tools/Rostrum Sportswear/Billfisher III Ford Fiesta R5) finished third. Duckworth also collected the award as highest-placed Non-national 4wd, while Scott won the new FIA R5 class and Connell was highest-placed female co-driver.

After the results were made final yesterday (Monday), Ezra Prescod, General Manager of Sol Barbados, made the presentations at a packed Prizegiving at The Boatyard beach bar in the island’s capital, Bridgetown. In addition to trophies for first place and victory in WRC, Skeete and Mayhew earned the grateful thanks of a nation of rally fans, happy for the title to stay at home for the first time since 2014, when Skeete’s father Roger claimed his 13th victory, co-driven in the same Impreza by Louis Venezia.

Winners for the previous four years, Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennel Jnr (Ford Focus WRC06), were absent from the proceedings, Panton being treated in the island’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for injuries sustained in a high-speed accident on Sunday’s first special stage, which wrecked their Ford Focus WRC06. In a true show of rally camaraderie, when Rally Director Neil Barnard visited him on Sunday evening, a somewhat groggy Panton’s first words, once he had recognised Barnard, were: “Did Dane win the rally?” When he was told yes, he said: “Make sure and tell him congrats.”

The drama surrounding the landmark event started before the weekend, when a new engine Rob Swann needed for his Impreza arrived a day late, leaving him to rely on his damaged engine for Friday night’s three stages from Golden Grove to Bushy Park. Swann and Steve McNulty won the first, Panton the second, only for him to run off the road on the third, handing the advantage back to Swann. The Englishman’s engine let go a few hundred yards later, however, leaving Skeete fastest, for an overnight lead of 4.8secs to Britain’s Kevin Procter and Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta), with Scott third.

Thousands of fans who turned out for Saturday’s 10 stages at Mount Poyer, Automotive Art Vaucluse and Spring Vale were treated to a memorable day of action, as Panton and Duckworth drove hard to claw back time, the Englishman after an overshoot and stall on Friday’s first stage. Panton started the day 31st, 85secs behind Skeete, Duckworth 22nd and 56secs; by close of play, they were second and third, 55 and 25secs behind the rally leader. The leaderboard was ever-changing, no fewer than 15 drivers setting top six times, but with attrition taking its toll. After his first stage win in Barbados, Procter at last looked set to claim that elusive podium, but his gearbox let go on the final stage.

Sunday morning’s first Sagicor Kendall stage was cancelled after Panton’s accident, while Malvern had been shortened for safety reasons, cutting the competitive distance for the day from 50 to 40 kilometres, allowing less scope for drivers playing catch-up. But there was a final twist yet to come at the top of the leader board. Local crew Mark Thompson and Kurt Seabra (Modified 4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) were fast all weekend, outside the top 10 stage times only twice, even winning Sunday’s second stage, when Skeete spun, delaying Duckworth. By mid-afternoon, after swapping places back and forth with Scott, Thompson snatched third place with his stage win, then steadily built the advantage . . . until his gearbox let go three stages from home.

Reflecting on the result, Skeete said: “I hoped to at least make the podium in my first Sol Rally Barbados in the car. After Friday night there was more hope, with the others having issues, but there were still two days of rallying to go. We knew Jeffrey would apply pressure but worked on being steady. On Sunday, the top step looked do-able and I told Tyler we could do it without being flat out and taking risks. The spin on Malvern was right after I found out about Jeffrey and Mike's crash; my mind was more on them than anything else. While happy to have won for my sponsors and fans, I wish Jeffrey and Mike well and hope to see them in full health soon.”

Duckworth, who arrived while Skeete was recovering from his spin, was also affected by the events of the previous stage: “Sunday was tricky, having been first on scene with Jeffrey's accident, which rattled me as it is a real reminder of how fast we are really going. We tried to be sensible the remainder of the day and kept in touch with Dane's stage times and made it to the finish.”

Scott said: “We have a podium result, which is wonderful, but it wasn't our focus. The aim was to stay ahead in R5, after being disappointed with King of the Hill. The weekend was flawless. I didn't put a foot wrong until I tried to take the chicane at Vaucluse faster than I had to.” Procter, who first brought Scott to the island, said: “Hat’s off to him. I've been coming here for 17 years and would give my left leg to be on that podium.”

Four more overseas crews finished in the top 10: on their second visit with the Skoda Fabia, Tom Preston and Carl Williamson were second in R5, fourth overall, ahead of local Toyota dealer Roger Hill (Corolla WRC), who claimed a record 21st top 10 finish, winning M4 with co-driver Graham Gittens. Then there were personal bests for: Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho and local co-driver Barry Ward (Fiesta), sixth and third in R5; Britain’s Graham Coffey (Fiesta), with Jack Morton, seventh and third in WRC, then Nigel Worswick and Sophie Louise Buckland (Ford Escort WRC), eighth and second in M4, after some late-event dramas. Local crews Avinash Chatrani/Andrew Skeete (M4 Evo VI) and Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (M4 Impreza) completed the top 10.

For only the second time in the 30-year history of the event, there were no two-wheel drive cars in the top 10; after previous winners Roger Mayers (Toyota WR Starlet, engine SS5), Rhett Watson (BMW M3, driveshaft SS11) and Barry Mayers (Fiesta, cam belt SS11) had retired on Saturday, the 2wd front-runners after the overnight re-seed made for unusual reading. Stan Hartling (SuperModified 3 BMW M3) headed Stuart Maloney (SM2 Citroen C2), Chris Ullyett (M2 Escort RS2000) and Alex Allingham (Historic Escort MkII), with just a 16-secs spread across their times.

As Sunday’s stages unfolded, Maloney, with nephew Justin on the notes, eased ahead of Hartling to finish 12th overall and top 2wd by 43secs. Returning to an event in which he was twice a class-winner in the 1990s and overall winner as co-driver to Paul Bourne in 2007, Maloney said: “Saturday morning, I was thinking of retiring, because the car wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do, but Brett Judd asked me to persevere. We made some changes stage-by-stage to make it driveable; through attrition and being reliable, we had a good result on the debut of the car, despite having a lot more work to do.”

With co-driver Jeremy Croney, Hartling finished 13th overall, second in 2wd and winners of M3. But the Turks & Caicos Motoring Club had much more to celebrate: Hartling also won the BMW Challenge Trophy from local dealer MQI and the highest-placed Non-national rwd award; Paul Horton and Kris Yearwood (Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX) finished second in M2 and nabbed the highest Non-national fwd award; Pierre Beswick and Leslie Evanson (Citroen C2 R2 MAX) finished third in M1, while Hartling’s son Sam and Kevin-Jon Manning (BMW 318ti Compact) collected Finishers Caps for 46th overall. Sam’s brother Ben and Dwayne Forde had two axle failures on their C2 R2 in successive stages on Saturday, but returned to finish second in the Sunday Cup.

Allingham and Ross Weir’s H2 win, 15th overall, rounded off an impressive island debut for the triple Welsh Champion, although the co-driver has visited many times and the car last year, driven by its builder Dave Jenkins. Allingham was just getting stuck in to a cracking battle with Greg Cozier, when the local man’s Escort engine blew on Saturday. Returning British couple Chris Shooter and Bev Le Good (Escort) finished second, having lost third in class to Jenkins just a few stages from home last year.

Ullyett’s M2 class win, with daughter Chantal the co-driver, came nine years after the Escort last finished the event, 26th overall and second in M7, in 2010. Other local class-winners were Edward Corbin for the fourth year in a row (M1 Daihatsu Charmant – 19th o/a), Ian Warren (Clubman 2 BimmaCup – 27th o/a) adding to his five class wins between 2006 & ‘13, first-time winner Jason Harewood (SM1 Toyota Starlet – 28th o/a) and Andrew Jones (Escort), who would have claimed his third top 10 finish in six years, but for switching to Group B, not eligible for overall awards.

After a number of issues, including a wheel coming loose on Friday night, Owen Cumberbatch and Kelly-Ann Sandiford won the Sunday Cup in their BMW M3, sharing the eight fastest times with Justin Campbell and Ayrton Bannister (M3), who failed to start the final stage. Behind Ben Hartling, Jermin Pope/Aaron Kirton (Honda Civic) finished third, with four more overseas drivers among those who collected trophies.

Overseas crews claimed four more class wins or podiums: US-based Englishman Edward Perry (Mitsubishi Clot RS) was the lone survivor in C1, while Andrew Costin-Hurley (Ford Puma Evo), competing for the 16th time since 2003, was the lone starter in GpB2. The latter’s co-driver Rob Brook described it as the toughest class win he had ever endured, even with no opposition, such was the work driver Costin-Hurley, the car’s creator, had to do late into the night during the event.

On their Caribbean island debut, Jersey islanders Darryl Morris and Steve Gully finished 17th overall and second in SM2, heading an entertaining ever-sideways flock of British MkII Escorts; Peter Rayner/Ashley Trimble and Steve Finch/Sam Fordham finished third and fourth, 20th and 21st overall, Richard Seal and local co-driver Kareem Gaskin fifth and Graham Haigh, seeded at 65 to mark his birthday, seventh with Kari Bates.

There were disappointments for overseas crews, too: Welsh crew Gary and Linda Thomas didn’t get to join in the Escort antics, with engine problems before the start, while their second Tsalta Motorsport MkII, pushed on in crowd-pleasing style by Damian Pratts and Jonny Tad Evans, retired on Sunday. On his 19th trip, Martin Stockdale (BMW 1M Coupe) also failed to make the start, thanks to an ECU problem, but still added to his previous trophies – he and wife Glenis, along with Costin-Hurley and wife Melissa, were handed 30th edition plaques from the Rally Club recognising their long-term support.

Sol Rally Barbados (May 31-June 2) and Flow King of the Hill (May 26) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Title sponsors: The Sol Group and Flow. Major partners: Automotive Art, Banks, Chefette, Sagicor and Simpson Motors. Partners: Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, MQI, R L Seale & Co Ltd, Stoute’s Car Rental and the Tourism Development Corporation

Results

Posted: November 26, 2019 4:04 AM

WINDS OF CHANGE BLOW FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS / Sol RB19 entries open on-line on October 1

Posted: September 15, 2018 11:23 AM

The winds of change look set to blow through Sol Rally Barbados next year, as the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017, marks the 30th running of its blue riband event. With the two Ford Focus World Rally Cars which have won six of the past seven events currently advertised for sale in the UK and the Club preparing to switch to its new 2019 to 2021 Vehicle Regulations, exciting times are ahead for island rallying.

Subject to final ratification by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show (May 25) and Flow King of the Hill (May 26) the previous weekend. The event has evolved from small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.

The organisers anticipate that next year’s 30th edition will have a new look, as local, regional and international competitors are seeking to upgrade their equipment, in line with the evolution of the sport globally. Under the BRC’s new three-year cycle of Vehicle Regulations, World Rally Cars built later than 2008 will no longer be eligible, while the participation of cars built for the worldwide R5 category is encouraged.

The island’s first introduction to R5 came in 2016, when M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans finished third in Sol RB16 in a Ford Fiesta R5 in which Martinique’s Simon Jean-Joseph had finished second in Rally Jamaica the previous December and Trinidad’s John Powell had won Rally Trinidad earlier in the year. Last year, Britain’s Tom Preston and Andy Scott were fighting for top 10 finishes throughout the weekend in Skoda Fabia and Fiesta R5 respectively; Preston, who had won the Wales Rally GB National Rally in 2017, finished ninth, with rallycross ace Scott 11th, sandwiching Ryan Champion’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX as the top three in Group A.

Further take-up of R5 has already started in the region. Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho, the BRC’s 2015 GpN Champion, debuted his brand-new Fiesta on a Motoring Club of Barbados Inc (MCBI) speed event in late August. One of the most recent cars to leave the M-Sport facility in the north of England, it was fresh out of the Bridgetown Port a couple of days before he drove it to a third-place finish.

While other front-running competitors in the region and a number of the overseas visitors have been active in the R5 debate over the past couple of years, it seems now that the discussion may well have come to a head. Jamaica’s Jeff Panton, who has won the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International for the past four years, and former UK National Rally Champion Paul Bird, who won Sol Rally Barbados in 2012 & ’13, both have their cars on offer on UK web sites. While nothing has been confirmed, it seems likely that Panton’s ex-Marcus Gronholm Focus WRC06 and ‘Birdy’s Focus WRC08, both now more than 10 years old, would be replaced by R5s, racking up the pressure on other regular participants in Sol Rally Barbados to respond.

BRC and Sol RB19 Chairman Mark Hamilton said:
"We are excited about the coming years, as the evolution of worldwide regulations changes the face of rallying. It is essential for the Barbados Rally Club to create regulations which will sustain our local competition environment, but we also have to make sure that all those overseas visitors who have played such an important part in making Sol Rally Barbados a ‘bucket list’ event for crews around the world are not disadvantaged, or discouraged from entering.”

Sol RB19 entries open on-line on October 1

On-line entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2019 will open on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – at midnight local time on Sunday, September 30, which is 5.00am UK time on Monday October 1; they will close in late April next year. Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 24 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous Sunday’s Flow King of the Hill ‘shakedown’, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2019 DATES ANNOUNCED

Posted: September 15, 2018 11:22 AM

The Barbados Rally Club (BRC), which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017, will mark another important milestone in the Club’s distinguished history next year, with the 30th running of its premier event, known since 2008 as Sol Rally Barbados. The event has evolved from small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.
Subject to final ratification by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show (May 25) and Flow King of the Hill (May 26) the previous weekend. As has been the practice in the recent past, on-line entries will open on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – on October 1, which falls on a Monday in 2018, and close in early May next year.

BRC and Sol RB19 Chairman Mark Hamilton said:
"Once again, the Barbados Rally Club and its membership will have cause to celebrate, along with our invaluable body of volunteers. It seems no time at all since we marked the Club’s 60th Anniversary and acknowledged the significant contributions made over many decades by four of our longest-standing members, Biddy Barber, John Corbin, John Sealy and Roger Skeete, with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
“Ahead of the 30th edition of our premier event, we intend to focus on those who have contributed to its steadily-growing impact, not only on the Club, but also the vital sports-tourism product of our island home. While many of those persons are local, we will also be looking at our overseas visitors, from the wider Caribbean and further afield, whose contribution has helped to create the ‘must do’ bucket-list status that Sol Rally Barbados enjoys among rally crews worldwide.”

The International All-Stage Rally in July 1990 had not quite lived up to its name, as shipping problems prevented the arrival of cars from Martinique, so Britain’s Kevin Furber was the only overseas entry among the 35, appropriate given the very grey and drizzly British weather . . . and even he was ‘just’ the Zero Car, co-driven by a future multiple winner of the event as co-driver to Roger ‘The Sheriff’ Skeete, ex-pat Brit Dave Crawford. The total elapsed time of just over 16 minutes recorded by 1990 event winners Skeete and wife Charmaine reflects the short, sharp nature of the stages.

In 1991, the BRC became affiliated to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world governing body of motor sport, which enabled wider participation in island events by international drivers, almost 500 of whom have since been hosted by the Club. Following its steady growth over the past three decades, the event now contributes around Bds $4 million to the economy each year, much of it in valuable foreign exchange, and accounts for as many as 4,000 visitor nights at a traditionally quiet time in the tourism calendar.

The 78 overseas participants in Sol RB18, of whom 16 were new to the event, came from 12 countries and there was a record number of female competitors, for the second year in a row, rising from 18 in 2017 to 23. Adding the 2018 statistics to those of previous years, the event has now hosted almost 500 overseas participants from 29 countries. The biggest competitor base remains the UK and Ireland, but competitors have come from as far afield as Australia, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and co-driver Michael Fennell Jnr (Ford Focus WRC06) claimed a fourth consecutive win on Sol RB18, ahead of Britain’s Rob Swann/Darren Garrod (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) and Paul Bird/Jack Morton (Focus WRC08). With fellow UK entrants Kevin Procter and Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta) completing only the fourth overseas clean sweep of the top four in the event’s 29-year history, the highest-placed local crew, Barry Mayers and Ben Norris (Ford Fiesta), was also the top 2wd finisher for the first time in 10 years.

Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 24 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous Sunday’s Flow King of the Hill ‘shakedown’, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

Event Website / Details

Posted: September 15, 2018 11:19 AM

Topics: Rally Barbados 

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