IRISH CREWS OLD AND NEW FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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IRISH CREWS OLD AND NEW FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Support from Irish competitors for Sol Rally Barbados, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, continues to grow. Of 70 first-time participants since 2011, around half have come from Ireland and some have already become repeat visitors.
 As organisers, competitors and fans make ready for next weekend’s Circuit of Ireland (April 17-19), at which two volunteers will win a prize trip to Sol RB14, crews old and new from the Emerald Isle are confirmed for this year’s 25th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event; it runs on May 30-June 1, with Scotiabank King of the Hill and Simpson Motors Scrutineering the previous weekend (May 24/25).
 
Making their first trip to Sol RB are Kerry mechanic Brendan Brosnan and journalist Sean Moriarty. Brosnan’s unusual rear-wheel-drive Peugeot 205 is backed by Ardfert Quarry, KK Hydraulics, Diarmuid Tarrant Car Sales, Motoring World – Kerry-born Moriarty’s column in London’s Irish World newspaper – and Tralee Quick Fit, with support in Barbados from Time Out Hotel, Stoutes Car Rental and High Tide Watersports.
 Brosnan has been rallying for more than 30 years, his successes at home including winning the 1985 Banna Winter Rally and the National event at the Rally of the Lakes in 2004. Moriarty started his rallying career co-driving for Brosnan in a Ford Escort MkII in 1991, finishing second in their home event, the Kerry Winter Rally.
 
This will not be Brosnan’s first trip across the Atlantic, however: “My brother Dan emigrated to Boston years ago, and took his love of rallying with him. I have borrowed some of his cars to rally in the USA and won my class on several events. Dan is joining us in Barbados for a holiday.” Moriarty has also rallied in the States and contested almost every major rally in his homeland over the years, drivers he has sat with including Dennis Biggerstaff, who competed in Barbados in 2001.
 
As well as Brosnan’s brother travelling from America, New York-based Enda McCormack will make his second trip to Sol RB in the Ford Escort MkII built for last year’s event by Philip Case Rallysport in County Donegal. Class-winner in the Dunlop Irish National Tarmac Rally Championship in 2012, most of his rallying has been in America, where he has been a regular podium finisher in the US Rally Championship since 2007. As last year, he will have Donegal’s Kieran McElhinney as co-driver.
 
Running with support from McCormack Contracting Inc and Doyle Construction, also back for a second year are Tommy Doyle, who hails from the same town as McCormack, Longford, and co-driver Liam Moynihan (Millstreet, County Cork) with their Renault Clio R3. Neither McCormack nor Doyle were classified as overall finishers last year, Doyle a retirement on day one, so both are hoping for better fortune.
 
Back home, Doyle and Moynihan have been showing good form in recent events, seventh overall and class winners in the Mayo Stages (March 9), third overall with another class win in the Moto Midlands Stages (March 30) and, last Sunday (April 6), second in class and 10th overall on the Circuit of Kerry . . . they finished once place ahead of Frank Kelly, fresh from his success the previous weekend in Rally Trinidad.
 
Island motor sport expands training courses
 
As a watershed season of island motor sport gathers momentum, the National Sporting Authority, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), has launched a ground-breaking operational and safety training programme. With local volunteers now accredited to deliver bespoke courses, the BMF will be training not only its marshals, but also its senior officials and – for the first time in a decade – its competition licence-holders.
 
The eyes of the motor sport world will focus on Barbados next month: after Top Gear Festival Barbados (May 17/18) marks the worldwide launch of the redeveloped Bushy Park Circuit, Scotiabank King of the Hill and Sol RB14 continue the sports-tourism theme, offering an unrivalled opportunity for the island to prove its motor sport pedigree on both race track and rally stage.
 
 Chairman of the Motorsport Training Committee Warren Gollop said: “This is an exciting year for the revitalised BMF Training Committee, as we work to keep pace with the overall developments in island motor sport. In Wayne Clarke, Neil Corbin and Kreigg Yearwood, we now have three trainers to spearhead our expanded programme.”
 
 In January 2013, instructors from the Motor Sports Association (MSA) in the UK led the island’s first senior officials training course, majority funded by the world governing body, the Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) and attended by more than 30 local volunteers. Clarke, Corbin and Yearwood flew to the UK subsequently for the ‘Train the Trainers’ course, enabling them to train island officials and competitors in the future.
 
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.
 
For media information only. No regulatory value.
 
For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com

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