2008 Route changes benefit competitors and local residents

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2008 Route changes benefit competitors and local residents

While the total number of special stages remains the same at 24, there have been some significant changes to the event's structure, placing greater emphasis on the pace and reliability necessary to see the rally through to the finish - Saturday's stage distance has been cut by by around seven per cent, while's Sunday is increased by nearly one-fifth, making for an overall increase over two days of around five per cent. There have also been changes to service, which will now be allowed off-route during each leg.


Rally chairman Barry Gale explains: "We hope that the changes will provide benefits across the board - while new overseas crews join the entry each year, there is a core of regular competitors, some of whom have been coming for as many as eight years. It is vital that we keep Sol Rally Barbados fresh, to attract them back year on year. "From a spectator point of view, it was important to retain the traditionally popular viewing spots - Canefield, Kendal and Malvern, for instance - while we also revisit the route each year in light of the potential inconvenience to residents, so the challenge is to balance all those considerations.


"The answer was two-fold: we have modified the start and finish point of some stages, which will reduce disruption to residents; this is particularly the case for Kendal, where the southern end has been moved significantly, opening up a major route into St John, which had less easy to access in recent years.


"In addition, there is now only one stage that will run throughout each day - Canefield on Saturday and Kendal on Sunday; by using separate locations for the other morning and afternoon stages, we have also cut back on our road closure applications.


"The other benefit for spectators will be quick-fire action as the gap between stages is reduced - at Canefield on Saturday morning, for instance, there should be little more than 25 minutes between the end of stage 1 and the start of stage 3."


From the 9.30am Saturday Start at Simpson Motors, leg one will comprise three runs northbound through the popular 5.9-kilometre Automotive Art Canefield stage and three through Dark Hole (4.4kms). First car is due for the lunchtime service halt at Simpson Motors at just after 1.00pm, then leaves 90 minutes later. In the afternoon, there will be three runs through Sailor Gully (4.8kms), while Canefield will run southbound, the last stage scheduled for a 6.30pm start.


On Sunday, the remaining cars will restart from Bushy Park at 7.30am, re-seeded in the order of overnight classification. The morning stages will be three runs southbound through Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre Kendal - at 7.1kms, the event's longest stage - and three through Stewarts Hill (4.4kms). First car is due in to Bushy Park for the lunchtime service halt at 11.15am, then back out 90 minutes later. In the afternoon, three northbound runs through Kendal (reduced to 6.3kms) and three through Digicel Malvern (5.3kms) will be followed by the Shell V-Power SuperSpecial at Bushy Park, slated to start shortly after 4.00pm.


'Zero' tolerance for a smoothly-run rally


Last month's Automotive Art Shakedown Stages, run over two of the most popular venues to be used in Sol Rally Barbados- Kendal and Malvern - enabled the BRC to fine-tune its organisation in advance of the main event; despite a 15-minute delay at the start of the day, the rally was running right on time by early afternoon.


This was achieved through tight management by the Clerk of the Course and Stage Commanders, assisted by the good behaviour and co-operation of spectators. Rally Chairman Barry Gale emphasises the importance of spectators paying heed to what is going on around them: "The most important thing for spectators to do is obey the instructions of our marshals, security personnel and other officials.


"Before the first competition car comes through each stage, there will be at least three other marked vehicles on the course. In the 000 (Triple Zero) vehicle, our Chief Marshal will ensure that all personnel, their equipment, and medical and rescue vehicles are in place; the Safety Officer will then pass through in the 00 (Double Zero) vehicle to ensure that spectators are in designated areas - if they are not, and there is any unwillingness to heed his instructions, then the stage will be delayed or even cancelled.


"Finally, around five minutes before 'first car', the 0 (Zero) Car will pass through at close-to-competition speed, as a final alert to officials and spectators alike that the stage is live. Spectators should then not move on to the stage until the Course Closing Car has passed through."


Sol Rally Barbados and Shell V-Power King of the Hill are elements of the eighth Barbados Rally Carnival. Each day of Sol Rally Barbados, organised by the Barbados Rally Club, is a separate qualifying round of the BRC Rally Championship. The title sponsor is Sol and associate sponsors and marketing partners are McEnearney Quality, Simpson Motors, Automotive Art, Banks Holdings, DaCosta Mannings Auto Centre, Digicel, Nassco, Consolidated Finance, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Crane & Equipments, Little Switzerland, Armag, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association and the Barbados Tourism Authority.


Programme of key events


Friday, May 23 - 4.00pm to approx 8.00pm

Scrutineering at Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Wildey, St Michael

Saturday, May 24 - 11.30am to approx 6.00pm

Shell V-Power King of the Hill, Turner's Hall, St Andrew

Monday to Friday, May 26 to May 30 - 4.00 to 6.00pm each day

Meet the Drivers at Shell Warrens (Mon-Weds) and Shell Banyans (Thurs-Fri)

Saturday, May 31 - Sol Rally Barbados 2008 - day 1

Start from Simpson Motors, Warrens, St Michael, at 9.30am

Twelve stages at three venues

Sunday, June 1 - Sol Rally Barbados 2008 - day 2

Restart from Bushy Park, St Philip, at 7.30am

Twelve stages at three venues

Shell V-Power SuperSpecial at Bushy Park

Monday, June 2 - approx 3.30pm - Sol Rally Barbados 2008 Prizegiving

The Boatyard, Bay Street, St Michael


For further information:

Barbados Rally Club - robin@bradfax.com

web site - www.rallybarbados.bb

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