Panton and Marshall confirmed Jamaican entries for RB09

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Panton and Marshall confirmed Jamaican entries for RB09

The awards were presented at the Rally Jamaica Prizegiving at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston by Jeanne Crawford, on behalf of the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) Sol RB09 executive committee chairman Barry Gale. On her return to Barbados, Crawford noted: "The recipients were very pleased, as were the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC) committee; offering these prizes helps to further strengthen the already close links between our two events." 

Gale added: "Using Rally Jamaica to kick-start the regional promotion for next year's 20th running of our premier event was a great success. I have spoken by e-mail to Jeff Panton, who is already talking about his plans for Sol RB09, and I also know that Bobby Marshall intends to take advantage of his prize."With the other interest that was shown by a broad range of competitors while we were in Kingston, all in all, I expect 2009 to be a very good year for Jamaican representation in Sol Rally Barbados." 
Victory in Rally Jamaica 2008 was Panton's sixth in the event's 18-year history, and the first in his recently-acquired Automotive Art/Bearings & Seals/Automoto/Jamaica Freight & Shipping Co/Seaboard/Castrol/Barcode/Active Traders/Maxxis Tires ex-works Ford Focus WRC, in which Colin McRae won the Cyprus Rally in 2001 and the Acropolis in 2002; it was also the second for co-driver Mike Fennell Jnr, who won the inaugural event in 1991 with Clinton McGann in a Mazda 323. 
Panton was the first Jamaican driver to finish on the podium in Barbados, claiming second place in his first Toyota Celica GT4 in 1994 (co-driven by Rene McDaniel) and again in 1996 (Rudi Meikle); his victory in 1998, by then with John de Mercado as co-driver, was the first for a regional driver. Jamaica had to wait until 2006 before winning again, thanks this time to Gary Gregg and Hugh Hutchinson in their ex-Carlos Sainz Focus, a sister car to Panton's. 
Marshall finished 11th overall in Rally Jamaica 2008, winner of the JA3 category and highest-placed Jamaican two-wheel-drive finisher, co-driven by Carlington Brissett in the Motor Sales & Service Ltd/Ocean Spray/TGI Fridays/Singer/Auto Source/PPG/Budget Car Rentals/Deryck A Gibson Ltd/Tru-Juice Mitsubishi Mirage.This was a repeat of their result in 2007, when Marshall was also the JMMC 2wd Driver's Champion and JA3 Driver's Champion; in Rally Jamaica the previous two years, with his former co-driver Thomas Hall, Marshall had finished 18th overall and second in JA3 (2006), then 13th overall, third in JA3 (2005). 
Although 2009 will be Marshall's debut as a competitor in Barbados, it will not be his first experience outside Jamaica, as he has rallied in Trinidad; he finished 11th overall and second in Class 2-3 in Rally Trinidad in March this year, then third overall and Class 2-3 winner in Rally Trinidad Preysal in April.
Sol Rally Barbados 2009 (May 30/31) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; both events are rounds of the Virgin Atlantic BRC RallySport Championship.For further information, robin@bradfax.com

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