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As Martin ‘Mad-Dale’ Stockdale looks forward to Sol Rally Barbados 2014 and his 14th consecutive year of competition in the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, he and wife Glenis are also preparing to become first-time grandparents, which has caused the popular BMW driver to reflect on his many trips to the island.

  Last February, family and friends, including many made in Barbados since his first visit in 2001, gathered in the UK celebrate daughter Laura-Jo’s 21st birthday; this year it is the turn of son Thomas to highlight the passage of time, as he and partner Georgina are expecting their first-born . . . on the day of Simpson Motors Scrutineering!

  Stockdale, whose 14th trip is a record among British competitors, says: “Thomas was 13 and Laura-Jo not even in her teens when we first came out here and our holidays in the sun have played a major part in our lives ever since. Glenis and I can’t imagine not coming back to visit our extended family on the island each year, have a few beers . . .. and take part in some great motor sport.

  “Naturally, I have reprimanded Thomas regarding his extremely poor timing, but we could not be happier for them. I have to admit that the grand-mother-to-be has been umming and ahhing a bit about this dilemma, but is still looking forward to a holiday and a family celebration afterwards.”

  The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is celebratory mood, too, as Sol RB14 marks the 25th running of its premier event, which began as the International All-Stage Rally in 1990; this year it is scheduled for May 31/June 1, with Scotiabank King of the Hill and Simpson Motors Scrutineering the previous weekend (May 24/25). While the early events were run for around 30 cars in total, more than that number now travel from overseas each year to compete in a field approaching 100 starters.

  ‘Mad-dale’s flamboyant handling of a string of BMWs has brought him three class wins over the years, and he has rarely boarded the homeward flight without a trophy stowed away in the luggage hold; last year was the exception that proves the rule, however, as the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort/Drive-a-Matic Car Rentals/Quarry Motors BMW M3 Compact suffered a differential failure on Sunday morning, dropping him off the overall leader board – he was 25th and fifth in SuperModified 12 at the time.

  Since Sol RB13, Stockdale’s rallying has been strictly limited, as he has been building a BMW soon to be delivered to a competitor in the island. He will, however, find time for one event before the cars are due to ship from Portsmouth in early May: “My entry is in for Cadwell Park, for a good shakedown to blow the cobwebs off . . . for the car, and for me! We’ll give it a quick check over and we’re good to go.”

  Cadwell Park, an undulating race track in the east of England, hosts the Alan Healy Memorial Stages Rally annually, this year’s event falling on Sunday, April 6. It is a single-venue tarmac rally and, thanks to the configuration of the circuit, an ideal testing ground which has proved popular with Barbados regulars in the past – as well as Stockdale, last year’s entry included Roger Duckworth, Rob Swann and Simon Wallis.


Organisers feel positive as new season starts


The Barbados Rally Club (BRC), organiser of Sol Rally Barbados, heads into the new motor sport season in a positive frame of mind, despite 2013 having been “a year of mixed fortunes”. Chairman Mark Hamilton offered this assessment to members in his annual report at the recent AGM.

  On the plus side, he said: “Our membership base remains stable, corporate and Government support continues, with long-term financial commitment already confirmed for the period 2014 to 2016, and the sport itself continues to be the sport of choice for the public . . . one of its greatest assets.”

  While the prevailing economic climate had made for a difficult year financially, the Club had continued to work on its long-term viability, explained Hamilton: “We have once again invested heavily in additional equipment, to the tune of approximately Bds $70,000 during 2013, and will soon be making further investment in timing equipment to ensure the integrity of those systems for 2014.”

  Among the changes for this season is a restructuring of the BRC Driver’s and Class Championships, which are reduced to eight rounds, including Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 25) and each day of Sol RB14 (May 31/June 1). Hamilton added: “A decision has been made to abandon all gravel events from the sprint and rally calendar given the interest/cost/reward scenario that has played out over the past three years. I believe this is the correct decision under these circumstances.”

  During the evening, Hamilton thanked the large band of volunteer marshals, Stage Commanders, the media and the Club membership for their continued support, along with “all of those who quietly lend a hand without any acknowledgement or fuss.”


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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