CLASS POINTS VITAL IN SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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CLASS POINTS VITAL IN SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Sol Rally Barbados (June 1/2) and Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 26) offer local competitors in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Virgin Atlantic-sponsored Drivers’ and Class Championships three of out 10 chances for the year to score points. So, there are competitors fighting for vital points throughout the 98-car field.

 
The 2012 Drivers’ Championship ended with an unprecedented four drivers tied on equal points, eventual Champion Neil Corbin (Modified 6 Toyota Starlet) winning after a tie-break mechanism had been completed. The others included M7 winner Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic), who had finished just ahead of Corbin in Sol RB12, 13th and 14th overall.
 
Behind the overall 2wd battle, there is a further tussle including these two, plus others from their classes and from SuperModified 9, in which Carlos Edwards (Starlet), second in SM9 to Roger and Barry Mayers last year, will face the older Starlets of Allan Maynard and Winston Thompson, plus Rhett D’Andrade’s Daihatsu Charmant.
 
While Clarke has dominated M7, it’s a big class of 15 entries: with former M6 Champ Jamal Brathwaite moving up in a Civic Type-R, veteran Norman Catwell (Volkswagen Golf GTI) on form, along with other experienced former class-winners Edward Corbin (Toyota Corolla RunX) and Jeremy Sisnett (Ford Fiesta ST), it’s hard to predict. The overseas visitors can threaten, including Turks & Caicos rep Paul Horton (MkI Escort), England’s Andy Hawkins, with a Golf Mk4 built to mark his 10th Anniversary visit to Barbados, and Ireland’s noted giant-killer Tommy Doyle (Renault Clio R3).
 
Beyond Corbin’s rapid Starlet, M6 also includes the Peugeots of Wayne Archer (206, and splendidly re-liveried) and Jason Cozier (205), who is not seen often, but is quick when he is, while others to watch for include Jeremy Gonsalves (Opel Corsa) and Irish visitors Danny O’Brien (Starlet) and Keith Power (Renault Clio).
 
The M5 entries sum up sports-tourism: local driver Sean Cox (Suzuki Swift Gti) faces Ulsterman John Hardman (Nissan Micra), co-driven by Trinidad’s Vishal Dhanraj, and Welshman Paul Rees (Vauxhall Astra), who went rallying in Barbados years ago and found a wife in Ali, daughter of island motor sport stalwart Biddy Barber.
 
 
Senior FIA and MSA officials en route to the Caribbean
 
The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has invited two seasoned motor sport officials from the UK to Sol RB13 to advise on ideas to sustain and improve the event in the future. Sol Rally Barbados 2014 will be the 25th running of the Club’s blue riband event, which has grown from a small event for 30 local competitors into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International.
 
Sue Sanders, Training Manager of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the UK’s governing body, already knows the island, having assisted in a Senior Official Training Programme run by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) in January. At the Sol RB13 media conference on Monday (May 13), BRC Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “Sue will not work in an official capacity, but travel with our senior officials over the two weekends to critique the events, and see where there are areas in which we could improve.”
 
Formerly a Stage Commander, then Safety Officer, of Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Sanders works on safety and training around the world; she is also Chair of the Women in Motorsport Group for the MSA and was a founder member in 2010 of the FIA Women & Motor Sport Commission.
 
Geoff Doe will have a more hands-on role, working with the BRC’s scrutineering team, led by Simon Gillmore and Adrian Linton, focusing particularly on the WRC and Group N cars. A familiar Eligibility Scrutineer for series in the UK such as the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, he also worked with the authorities in Turkey to evolve the Anatolian Rally into a round of the WRC.
 
For the first time, in addition to the BRC’s own Stewards, there will also be a BMF Steward on Sol RB, bringing the event in line with European events, where there is always a Steward from the national governing body (ASN) . . . although it is rare for him also to be President of the FIA Rally Commission! Jonathan Ashman has held that position since 2010, having previously been President of the FIA Touring Car Commission and Chairman of the Stewards for the WRC.
 
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.
 
For media information only. No regulatory value.
 
For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com

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