Motor sport volunteers on both sides of the Irish sea are set to enjoy dream holidays in the Caribbean as prize-winners in the third ‘Rally to Barbados’ promotion for the region’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados (June 1/2), and this Sunday’s shakedown and seeding event, Scotiabank King of the Hill.
In Ireland, where the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) promotion is organised in association with the Caribbean island’s private-sector Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and Ireland’s Pacenotes Rally Magazine, marshals and officials working on the Killarney Rally of the Lakes (May 4/5) were eligible for a prize draw.
The winner was Theresa Stafford, a marshal on Saturday and arrival control official on Sunday. Initially, she was devastated as the prize was only for one person and she and husband Declan could not book a second ticket for their first trip to the Caribbean, as the flights are often full around Sol RB. Thanks to marketing partner Virgin Atlantic Airways, however, Rally Office Manager Jeanne Crawford secured the extra flights. Theresa says: “In 2010 we had booked to go to Rally Spain but Declan fell ill, so we had to cancel. Winning this trip to Rally Barbados is like a dream come true, our first overseas rally.”
Also flying from Ireland is Sean Hayde, one of two winners in the ‘Rally to Barbados’ competition at the 2012 Circuit of Ireland, although he was unable to take up the prize. As well as a marshal, Sean is an all-rounder, an event organiser in County Cork in the south of Ireland, also a co-driver, winning the FIA European Historic Championship round at the Rally of the Lakes, where fellow prize-winner Theresa was marshalling.
Preparing for a shorter stay are Steve Castle and Cathy Hughes, winners of the lucky number draw at the inaugural London Rally for Heroes last month. Their prize includes return flights from London Gatwick and a seven-night stay at the Waves Resort and Spa, compliments of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and Virgin Holidays, with VIP hospitality on day one of Sol RB13 and a rental car, courtesy of the BRC.
Cathy bought the copy of the Official Souvenir Programme with lucky number 0669 stamped inside, while working as part of the start-line timekeeping crew at Brooklands Museum, where partner Steve was Assistant Clerk of the Course. Of their first trip to the Caribbean, Steve says: “The closest we have got is the Canary Islands. As for going to a rally overseas, does the Jersey Rally count? We went there about five years ago, where I was a Stage Commander and Cathy helped with the start-line timekeeping.”
International competitors aim to shake up the classes
International competitors at Sol RB13 are hoping to shake up the classes right through the field, including Group B. Now that the Group scores year-round class points in the BRC’s Virgin Atlantic Championship, the age-based rules no longer cater for all the overseas visitors who fit no other class, so Group B will be split.
The specifics of who goes where will not be confirmed until after Simpson Motors Scrutineering on Saturday (May 25), but new cars include Englishman Stuart Deeley’s Lotus 62 – perhaps a bit close to the ground for Barbados - and the Toyota Starlet of Ireland’s Maurice Moffett, one of few cars ever to have won a rally on three wheels! Geoff Ullyett’s home-grown Datsun is a familiar sight, as are the Mini of Holland’s Frans Verbaas and the Ford Puma of England’s Andrew Costin-Hurley, each celebrating the 10th Anniversary of his first visit.
Historic is also split into two: the International class pits the recently-restored (and not yet tested) Triumph TR7 V8 of father and son Rob and Ross Weir against 2012 retiree Andrew Siddall’s Ford Escort MkI. Among the locals, Greg Cozier (Escort MkII) should prevail against BMW, Peugeot and Toyota opposition.
Since the BRC dropped the lower capacity production classes from its 2013-15 regulations, the Clubman class is gathering momentum. Local Peugeot drivers Jeremy Croney (206) and current points leader Conor Roach (106), Mitsubishi Mirage RS pilot Trevor Mapp and Sol RB’s only all-girl crew, Shannon Kirton and Lisa Roett (Datsun 120Y), will have to look out for Scotland’s Kenny Hall (Vauxhall Corsa), a multiple class-winner over the years.
Sol Rally Barbados 2013 (June 1/2) and Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 26) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsors are the Sol Group and Scotiabank. 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 Chefette, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Stoute’s Car Rental and West Indies Rum Distillery.
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