Scottish teenager Alex Hall will become the first ‘second generation’ overseas driver to compete in the Caribbean’s biggest annual international motor sport event, when he makes his debut on Sol Rally Barbados (June 4/5) next year. Hall’s father Kenny is a veteran of the event – next year is his ninth visit - and a three-time class winner.

Co-driven by Dave Armstrong, Alex will compete in the Opel Corsa in which Kenny claimed those Modified 5 class wins; although he will not celebrate his 18th birthday until the Thursday before Sol RB2011, Alex already has one title to his name, having won the Border Ecosse Car Club’s 2009 Junior Autocross Championship in his first season of competition in a standard 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa . . . and even beat Kenny driving the rally Corsa once at a charity autocross.

Kenny said: “The incident at the autocross is embarrassing . . . to be thrashed by your son is bad enough, but with 100bhp less is shocking! I did give him a thrashing when the track dried out, but I am not allowed to forget that day. I just hope the Puma has the legs on them in Barbados - they were only seven seconds behind me on tarmac in the Kingdom Stages last month, before Alex broke the clutch. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do on my favourite event . . . just so long as they don’t beat me!”

Hall Senior was just a few hundred yards away from a fourth class win last year, but a wrong slot on the first run of the Shell V-Power SuperSpecial at Simpson Motors meant he failed to give his ex-works Super 1600 Ford Puma a win on its island debut. For 2011, the four-time Scottish class champion will have fellow Scot Marieanne Gray as co-driver; she won the historic class with Welshman Richard Lewis (Ford Escort MkII) on her Barbados debut in 2010 and has completed the Nick Grist Co-Driver Academy.

Rally Chairman Barry Gale said: “One of the strengths of the Barbados Rally Club has always been family involvement, with many second and third generation competitors, including myself. I look forward to seeing Alex compete here . . . and I’ll be watching to see whether experience or youthful exuberance comes out on top!”


International television coverage on the increase

Sol Rally Barbados is set to enjoy significantly increased television coverage in the coming weeks. For the third year running, British production company Acceleration TV has made a 60-minute programme, combining its report of Sol RB2010 with coverage of the crew’s tourist experiences in Barbados.

The programme will air for the first time on December 31 on Motors TV UK, which is carried by the major satellite platforms, Sky and Virgin Media. Ten repeats (double the 2009 number) are scheduled up to January 17, with coverage across the rest of the Motors TV network yet to be confirmed by the channel’s Paris HQ – last year, this was treble the UK coverage. Motors TV is broadcast in six languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Greek and Serbian) to more than 18 million households subscribing by satellite, cable and ADSL in 59 countries across Europe and the African sub-continent.

Rally Chairman Barry Gale said: “The timing could hardly be better – international competitors will be deciding on events for 2011, so a visual reminder of the appeal of Sol Rally Barbados is spot on. With the dreadful weather that our friends in Europe are suffering – and the airport disruption that means many will totally lose their Christmas holidays – I think the temptation to slap in an on-line entry will be difficult to resist!”


Barbados connections prominent as UK season ends


The entry list for the Specsavers Christmas Stages (December 28), one of the UK’s last rallies of the year, has strong Barbados connections: seeded at one for the single-venue event at the Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire are Kevin Procter and Dave Bellerby, hoping to achieve a hat-trick victory in their Subaru Impreza WRC, but they will face a tough challenge from Chris Wise and Tracey Taylor West. Twice winners of the venue’s other winter event, the Jack Frost Stages, they campaign the ex-Roger Mayers MG Metro 6R4. The top three is completed by Sol RB2008 Group N winner Ryan Champion, partnered in his Subaru Impreza 555 by Jemma Bellingham, while Champion’s mother Joyce will co-drive a Triumph TR8 driven by Chris Birkbeck, one of the first British competitors to visit the island in the 1990s. Making it five cars in the top 20 with island connections, Nick Cook will campaign the Ford Escort MkI, which he has twice taken to the Caribbean.

Sol Rally Barbados (June 4/5, 2011) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 29) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB2011 is the 22nd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the start of a second three-year term of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

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