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More than one-third of the 60-plus entries so far received for Sol Rally Barbados 2014 will compete in the event’s four-wheel-drive classes, with strong support from overseas crews. Repeat UK visitors Tom Roberts and Simon Wallis are certainly looking forward to their return . . . both were in action last Sunday (January 12) in near-freezing temperatures in the annual MGJ Brands Hatch Stages in the south of England.

  The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th running of its premier event this year - Sol RB14 is scheduled for May 31/June 1, with Scrutineering and Scotiabank King of the Hill the previous weekend (May 24/25). Entries are flowing in steadily on the official web site,, with the total now more than half-way to the entry cap of 100.

  Neither driver finished the Brands Hatch event, in which Londoner Roberts and his girlfriend and co-driver Nicky Marriott had finished third in 2012 in his Group A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI; engine problems caused his retirement on the second stage this time round, while Wallis fared little better, exhaust manifold issues side-lining the Cambridge Compilers Ltd Group N Subaru Impreza N10 just one stage later.

  Roberts is returning to Barbados for his sixth visit since his 2002 debut in a Toyota Celica GT4, hoping for a return to his earlier form in the island after disappointing results on his last two outings. In 2012, his first trip with Marriott as co-driver, he retired on the first morning with mechanical trouble while lying second in class; even so, he had travelled further than in Sol RB09, when an accident on the very first stage, with Paul Rees as co-driver, is recalled as one of Roberts’s major disasters: “It was the 17th corner, and I learned an important lesson: do not over-rule your co-driver when you think you can take a corner faster . . . ever!”

  Previously, Roberts had claimed two solid finishes in Barbados: in 2005, he was 30th overall and second in Group N in a Subaru Impreza WRX, then 21st overall, fourth in Modified 8-A, three years later in the Evo VI, a car which had twice won the UK’s BTRDA Championship in the hands of its previous owner, Roger Chilman.

  Wallis is back for his ninth Rally Barbados and his third in the Impreza, which he bought as a 40th birthday present for himself in 2010, with a trip to Sol RB10 in mind. His eighth different co-driver in the island is Peter Horsman, who has been sitting with him since 2012; they missed Sol RB13 to tackle the famous Ypres Rally in Belgium instead, where they finished 42nd overall, fifth in Group N, and missed out on a European Rally Championship point by just one position.

  On his previous visits to the island, Wallis, who runs a software consultancy in Cambridge, has had six finishes and posted two dnfs in a total of five different cars. His best results came in the early days, finishing second or third in Production 3 three years in a row in a trio of Vauxhall Astras.


‘Magnificent Seven’ promise Modified 7 action


While much interest centres on news of overseas entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2014, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International also showcases local talent. Currently the best-subscribed class with seven confirmed entries, Modified 7 already looks set to provide some first-class action.

  While last year’s on-event winner and year-end M7 Champion Edward Corbin has not yet put his name forward, Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic) and Jeremy Sisnett (The Tiki Bar/Autolink/Indoor Plant Services Ford Fiesta ST), BRC Class Champions from the previous two years, head the list.

  Always an early entry is Chris Ullyett, who has claimed stage wins in two of the past three years in the Ullyett's Machine Shop/Proj-Rx/MG America/Food and Pharma Equipment Ford Escort RS2000, while Jamal Brathwaite (Valvoline/Automotive Art/Mackeson/Ellesmere/Chicken Pen Racing Honda Civic Type-R), twice the M6 Champion before moving up a class, and Norman Catwell (Ellesmere Quarries/John Hardman Engineering/Pec Tyres/Elite Transmissions Volkswagen Golf GTI) will all be in the mix. The current list is completed by Sean Field (Field Insurance Brokers Peugeot 306 GTi6) and Gary Mendes (Toyota Corolla), with some interest already shown from overseas entries.


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.


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