FINAL SHAKEDOWN FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Competitors from 14 nations including host country Barbados are making last-minute preparations for Sunday’s (May 29) Shell V-Power King of the Hill, the final shakedown ahead of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, Sol Rally Barbados 2011 (June 4/5) . . . and Scrutineering at Simpson Motors tomorrow (Saturday) will give island fans their first chance to see the 10 European entries new to the event.

The provisional running order for Shell V-Power King of the Hill published today (May 27) lists 91 entries, missing only a handful of those listed for Sol RB11 the following weekend, overseas competitors who have not yet arrived in the island and local competitors battling against the clock to have their cars in full readiness for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) blue riband event.

Shell V-Power King of the Hill is being staged at its fourth different venue, as the BRC ensures that it uses stage mileage not part of the main event each year: after Turner’s Hall in 2008 was followed by Stewart’s Hill and Sailor Gully, this year competitors will tackle Hangman’s Hill – the route is familiar, as it has been the first few kilometres of the uphill running of the signature Canefield stage in recent years, but it will end shortly after the Lion Castle crossroads.

The service area is at Simpson Motors, Warrens, which will also host the Prize-giving at the end of the day. The practice run is slated for 10.15am, followed by three official runs, the fastest of which will decide competitors’ finishing positions. Cars will run in reverse seeding order, while the top 10 after the first official run will be held back and run in reverse order at the end of the field.

The winner’s trophies have remained in the island so far. Paul Bourne won in 2008 and last year, Roger Skeete in ‘09, but overseas drivers have been podium finishers - England’s Kevin Procter was third in ’08, Trinidad’s John Powell and former UK National Champion Paul Bird second and third to Bourne last year. With confirmation yesterday (Thursday) that Jamaica’s Gary Gregg will definitely be making the trip, all 10 World Rally Cars entered for the following weekend will be running . . . and that leaves the outcome wide open.

Sports-tourism boost through motor sport media coverage

Sol Rally Barbados 2011 has attracted a record media presence for a regional motor sport event, bringing significantly increased air time and readership through new media outlets in Europe and across the world. More than 30 regional and international journalists, photographers and TV cameramen are accredited, many of whom are commissioned to include content related to the island’s non-motor sport attractions.

Key to the event’s broadcast strategy is a new relationship with the company responsible for coverage of the British Rally Championship, GreenlightTV, which is adding Sol Rally Barbados to its itinerary for the first time. A one-hour programme on Motors TV, beamed to 38 million homes in the UK, Europe and the African sub-continent, will reach viewers already familiar with the event from previous years, while highlights packages will reach 550 million homes worldwide in round-up programmes on channels such as ESPN International, ESPN Asia and TEN Sports in India and South East Asia.

Following the ‘Rally to Barbados’ promotion, Ireland’s PaceNotes Rally Magazine editor Simon Mooney and photographer Michael Beattie and London-based Runwild Media Group’s motoring writer Matthew Carter will also be in the island to follow the respective winners of the Tourism Development Corporation-backed competitions.

The event’s first entry from Germany has also prompted freelance motor sport reporter Anna Neef to make travel arrangements for Barbados; she has already written a preview for Rallye Magazin, one of the highest-circulation rally magazines in mainland Europe, followed up by coverage in newspaper group Freie Presse.

Sol Rally Barbados 2011 (June 4/5) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 29) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Stoute’s Car Rental, Glacial Pure, Chefette, Field Insurance and Sagicor.

For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com
web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com