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Regional interest in Sol Rally Barbados 2014 is growing steadily, with three more crews confirmed to join Jamaica’s Jeff Panton, the 1998 winner fighting for overall honours in his Ford Focus WRC06. David Coelho will represent Trinidad and Tobago, while the flag of the Turks & Caicos islands will be flown by Stan Hartling and Paul Horton.

  The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is celebrating 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). Nearly 80 entries have been posted on the official web site,, for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international.

  Coelho is upbeat about his fourth visit to Barbados, despite failing to finish in any of his previous attempts. Following their best-ever domestic season - second in class and third overall in the eight-round 2013 Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club (TTRC) Championship – he and co-driver James Harris will return with a totally-refreshed Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, again backed by Total Lubricants, Kaizan Sushi and Zanzibar Restaurants.

  The former Trinidad Kart Champion says: “In the last five events, we had one win, three second places and one third, with no good consistency and reasonably good speed. The key now is to try to replicate that consistency on tarmac. Hopefully, the car will be a bit quicker and lighter than last year. We run in Group A in Trinidad but, on account of the sequential box and active diffs, we will be slotted back into WRC-2 in Barbados.”

  Coelho’s first season in rallying was 2010 and Sol RB10 his first event away from home: “As you can imagine, it was quite the experience, we learnt a lot. The second year, things went wrong from the beginning, mechanically, but we still had a blast.”

  Having missed Sol RB12, Coelho was back last year: “We felt really good during King of the Hill and were pleased with the car and starting seeded 29 for RB13. With a couple of years of event experience under our belts, we were looking forward to the weekend, then disaster struck on the second stage on Saturday morning. A gearbox mount broke in a way that was completely un-repairable and, as simple as that, our rally was done - the entire team was crushed, as it seemed a cruel way to exit, but we made the best of it. We love the event, everything about it and plan to keep coming back.”

  Turks & Caicos-based Paul Horton is another to have failed to finish in his first three attempts at Sol RB, but it all came good last year, fulfilling his pre-event promise: “I really want to finish the whole event, as we haven’t done that in three years.” He and local co-driver Kris Yearwood finished 27th overall and second in Modified 7 in the Sky Motorsports/Java Island/H Racing/Precision Racing Ford Escort MkI.

  Despite retiring his Honda Civic from Sol RB10 with mechanical problems, Horton enjoyed his first experience so much that he became a regular competitor in the BRC Championship, finishing second in M7 in the Escort last year.

  His good friend Stan Hartling - they share experience of the iconic Targa Newfoundland - finally made his first appearance in the island in Sol RB12, having pulled his BMW M3 entry of the previous year because of business commitments. Hartling and Canadian co-driver Andy Proudfoot entertained island fans in the unusual mid-engined Lotus Exige, until mechanical issues forced them out on day one.

  Hartling says: “We are very excited and looking forward to being involved again. I now have an E36 M3 – the Zero car from last year - and Jonathan Still will prep for me. I think it will be a sensible entry ride for us, as this year will be more focused on getting safely acclimatised and into the flow of running there.”


Skeete’s “outstanding” record honoured by National Sports Council


Twelve-time winner of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, Roger ‘The Sheriff’ Skeete was among more than 40 awardees honoured at the 31st Annual National Sports Council Awards last Saturday (February 1). His Senior’s Award citation read: “Still competing after 35 years . . . ‘The Sheriff’ continues to win in the motor sport arena, an outstanding and remarkable achievement.”

  Skeete, whose first victory came in 1980, said: “It was an honour to be recommended for it by my peers, and actually be awarded it.” His most recent title success came as the WRC-1 Champion in the 2013 BRC Drivers’ Championship.

  Motor sport was recognised in other categories: Jimmy Gittens, producer of Race 1, which is broadcast on island TV channel CBC, received a Special Media Award, while Sports Editor of the Barbados Advocate, Corey Greaves, another champion of island motor sport, was one of the nominees for the annual Media Award.


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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