SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2014 DATES ANNOUNCED

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SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2014 DATES ANNOUNCED

Sol Rally Barbados reaches an important milestone in 2014, when the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th running of its blue riband event. Subject to final ratification by the island’s governing body, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), Sol RB14 will run on Saturday and Sunday, May 31/June 1, with Scrutineering and Scotiabank King of the Hill the previous weekend, May 24/25.
 
On-line entries for the Caribbean's biggest annual motor sport international will open on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – on October 1. Over recent years, entry numbers have risen significantly: 120 entries were received for Sol RB13, including 39 International crews, although withdrawals for financial or logistical reasons left the starters list at 94. From an entry of 121 for Sol RB12, the fall-out rate was lower, and 99 crews started, nine more than the previous record.
 
Since 2011, 65 first-time visitors have carried the number of overseas participants hosted by the event since 1990 to more than 350, with continued interest from newcomers set to drive that figure through the 400 mark within the next two or three years. The biggest competitor base remains the UK and Ireland, but the event has attracted competitors from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Japan, Kenya, South Africa and the United States, as well as mainland Europe.
 
Neil Barnard, PRO of the organising club, said: “Plans are already well under way to once again deliver an event focussed on its core values of being seriously competitive, while maintaining a relaxed clubman-type atmosphere. We will of course continue to deliver the level of hospitality that visiting crews and their families have come to enjoy.
 “Its fantastic that Sol Rally Barbados is on the ‘must-do’ list for so many overseas competitors – it is an incredible tribute to all of our volunteer marshals and officials, who help us stage an event which measures up to world-class standards. I would encourage International crews to enter early, as the first 30 will again benefit from subsidies, especially those who have competed in previous years.”
 
From small beginnings in 1990, the BRC’s premier event has grown into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international and a key player in the country’s sports-tourism product; it contributes nearly Bds $4 million to the island's economy each year, much of it in vital foreign exchange, and accounts for approaching 4,000 visitor nights at a traditionally quiet time in the tourism calendar.
 
A second successive victory in Sol RB13 for England’s Paul Bird was the sixth win for an International crew since the first by Northern Ireland’s Kenny McKinstry in 1993; he won again in 1996, while fellow countryman Kris Meeke added to the roll of honour in 2008 & ’09. Only two Regional drivers have won, both from Jamaica – Jeff Panton in 1998 and Gary Gregg in 2006. Of the other events, 12 have been won by Barbados rallying legend Roger Skeete, with the remaining victories shared by local drivers Paul Bourne (twice), Trevor Manning and Roger Mayers.
 
Sol Rally Barbados is a two-day tarmac rally, with 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous weekend’s Scotiabank King of the Hill ‘shakedown’, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly three-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.
 
New FAQ document posted to event web site
 
With overseas interest in Sol Rally Barbados growing steadily, particularly from first-timers, the Barbados Rally Club has posted a new FAQ document on the official web site – www.rallybarbados.net. Available as a pdf download, it can be found on the home page, and will be updated regularly. Among the topics covered are travel arrangements, accommodation and car rental for competitors, shipping and safe storage of their vehicles, fuel regulations and an outline of the schedule of activities.
 
Sol Rally Barbados and Scotiabank King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; Sol RB14 is the 25th running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the seventh year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.
 
For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com

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