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The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has stepped up its worldwide promotion of Sol Rally Barbados 2014 by joining forces with event organisers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In association with the island’s private-sector Tourism Development Corporation (TDC), the Club is offering three motor sport volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international.

  The BRC is celebrating the 25th running of its premier event, which began as the International All-Stage Rally in 1990; it is scheduled for May 30-June 1, with Scotiabank King of the Hill and Simpson Motors Scrutineering the previous weekend (May 24/25).

  The Club is renewing its association with the Circuit of Ireland (April 17-19), a round of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) for the first time, while initiating a new partnership with the Empire State Performance Rally (April 26-27), currently the only tarmac rally in the United States. At each event, the winners – two in Ireland, one in the US – will be selected at random by the organisers for a trip to Sol RB14, the prize including return flights, accommodation and a shared rental car.

  With a traditional Easter weekend date, ‘The Circuit’ is one of the world’s oldest rallies – it first ran in 1931 – and is classed among the ERC’s ‘legendary’ events, along with Acropolis and Corsica, by Championship organiser Eurosport Events. Innovations for 2014 include the Ards TT Town Centre Special Stage on Friday, while live streaming from the stage venues around Lisburn and Newtownards will attract worldwide viewership.

  "Marshals are the unsung heroes of our sport," said Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis. "They give up their free time on a voluntary basis to ensure that events run safely. So it's great to be able to offer such a fantastic prize for two lucky volunteers who help out at this year's Circuit of Ireland Rally to go to Sol Rally Barbados. Thank you to the Barbados Rally Club and the TDC who have made this possible."

  Based just 80 miles north of New York City, ESP Rally counts toward the Atlantic Rally Cup and the NASA National Rally Championship; this year’s 16 special stages include two at the exclusive Monticello Motor Club, an automotive resort and private racetrack. ESP Rally organisers attended Sol RB13 on a fact-finding trip, as a number of New York’s Irish rallying community were entered.

  Rally Chairman Fran Gager said: “Our trip to Barbados was a great adventure and we are looking forward to working with the guys down there, as I believe it will be positive for both of us. We enjoyed a fantastic welcome, so we know that whichever one of our volunteers wins this prize is not going to come home disappointed.”

  Neil Barnard, the BRC’s PRO, said: “Our five-year association with the TDC has enabled us to promote our event, and Barbados as a destination, to the rally-centric Irish with great success; Ireland has been our principal growth area in terms of competitors, with more than 60 new participants in the past three years.

  “It makes perfect sense, with our New York Irish connections, to extend our promotion to the ESP Rally, and we are delighted that, once again, we are able to recognise the hard-working volunteers without whom motor sport the world over simply would not function.”


Skeete wins as Armstrong and Bourne prepare for battle


Twelve-time winner of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, Roger Skeete, started his 2014 domestic campaign with victory in the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc’s (MCBI) Spring Blaze 14 tarmac sprint last Sunday (March 23). His Subaru Impreza WRC S12 was the only WRC-1 entry, with the Suzuki SX4 WRC of Neil Armstrong and Ford Focus WRC07 of Paul Bourne already overseas for Rally Trinidad (March 28-30).

  Skeete’s son Dane made it a family double with victory in SuperModified 11 in his Peugeot 306 Maxi. Alone in WRC-2, Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC), finished second to Skeete, with Josh Read (Toyota Starlet) third, top 2wd and winner of SM10, by just four-tenths from Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift).

  Only part one of the planned double-header was completed, as the reverse runs came to an end after a big accident for Warren; while the Swift was extensively damaged, its safety equipment saved him from major injury, although he suffered severe bruising.

  Rally Trinidad celebrates the 10th Anniversary of its re-launch in its current format, with Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Focus WRC06) and home-town boy John Powell (Focus WRC08) – they have won twice each since 2010 - both sidelined. That opens the door for Bourne, winner in 2004 & ’08, or Armstrong, who finished second to Panton last year, to carry the trophy home to Barbados.


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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