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Plans are well advanced for Sol Rally Barbados 2014, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, with the organising team “excited” about this year’s offering for competitors. As the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) looks forward to celebrating the 25th running of its premier event, sustained international interest is keeping spirits high.

  With exactly 10 weeks to go until the closing date for entries on Friday, May 2, first-time visitors are helping to boost the overseas component. Of the just over 80 entries so far posted on-line on the official web site,, 40 are from Europe or the wider Caribbean, with drivers or co-drivers from 15 countries already represented.

   Sol RB14 will run over the weekend of May 31/June 1, with the traditional Prizegiving to follow on the Monday; the key events start the previous weekend, however, with Simpson Motors Scrutineering on Saturday and Scotiabank King of the Hill on Sunday.

  An upbeat Neil Barnard, Rally Director of Sol RB14, reports good progress on all fronts: “We have made an excellent start to our preparations this year, and are more advanced than usual at this stage – the entire route for Sol Rally Barbados has been set, with only fine-tuning of the time schedule still to do. All key personnel are in place, and there have been a number of very positive planning meetings in recent weeks.

  “We’re pretty excited about what we’re going to be offering our competitors this year. We are always looking for ways of changing the route to keep the event fresh and to level the playing field as much as possible between local crews and our overseas visitors. Given the limitations of using closed public roads in such a small island, while minimising disruption to people living on or near the route, this is not an easy task.”

  Despite those constraints, Barnard was able to confirm that this year’s route will be somewhat longer than in recent years and, while details will not be made public until much nearer the time, he was willing to drop a couple of hints: “I think competitors will be happy with what we’re planning, as we’re returning to a couple of popular venues used in the past, while enhancing both the viewing experience and safety of spectators was also key to our thought process.”

  The island’s local motor sport season is about to get under way, with rounds of the BRC’s Autocross and Chefette MudDogs Safari Championships scheduled before the rallying fraternity launches its 2014 programme with a Tarmac Speed Event organised by the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc on Sunday, March 23.


Motor sport fraternity remembers film producer Winstanley


Members of the motor sport fraternity in Barbados joined those in the UK this week to remember motor sport competitor and television producer David Winstanley, who died at his home in the UK last weekend.

  Winstanley had first travelled to the Caribbean to film rally cars in action in 2003, then returned for the first of three consecutive visits in 2008, the first year of the Sol Group’s title sponsorship of the island’s premier event. His programmes always included insights into the island’s tourism offering alongside the motor sport – these ranged from sampling traditional Bajan food and drink in roadside bars and restaurants around the island to learning how to fillet flying fish and visiting village cricket matches.

  The coverage produced by Acceleration TV was broadcast on Men & Motors and Motors TV, among other stations in Europe. Known for his infectious enthusiasm, Winstanley was a big fan of island motor sport: “The thing that makes it special is that there is a great mixture of serious rallying and fun. Many drivers are there to do well, but the majority are there to entertain; that is something that's often forgotten in motor sport nowadays . . . that it is a sport, and that sport is meant to be entertainment. Sol Rally Barbados is one of the most enjoyable events that we cover, the island folk are so friendly and, from a rallying point of view, we get tremendous feedback from British fans.”

  Barbados Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “David had a pretty off-beat approach to the coverage of our events and his films captured the sports-tourism mix that we aim for very well. We were all sorry to hear of his passing, and have learned from the comments made by a number of our regular competitors just how much his contribution to taking club-level motor sport to a wider audience through television will be missed.”


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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