HISTORIC ESCORT FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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HISTORIC ESCORT FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Former British Historic Rally Championship class-winners Chris Shooter and Bev LeGood will make their Caribbean debut on Sol Rally Barbados 2014, bringing to 21 the number of International crews so far confirmed for this year’s event. With less than two weeks to go before the closing date, more than one-third of the entries received on the official web site – www.rallybarbados.net – are from the wider Caribbean or further afield.
 
The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is celebrating the 25th running of its premier event, which has grown from small beginnings into the region’s biggest annual motor sport International; 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 Sparrow Hill Cars Ford Escort MkII, which motor trader Shooter built in 2005, is prepared to MSA Historic specification and powered by 2-litre 195bhp Pinto engine; from Loughborough in Leicestershire, the couple were regular competitors in the British Historic Rally Championship (BHRC) from 2006 to 2011, winning their class in 2008 and collecting the Shekhar Mehta ‘Spirit of Rallying’ Award the following year.
 
The award, a cast bronze Cheetah on a plinth, was presented to the BHRC in memory of her late husband, one of the legends of rallying, by Yvonne Mehta, who is familiar with Barbados, having competed in Sol RB10 as co-driver to New Zealand’s Rob Whitehouse. During the presentation, BHRC co-ordinator Simon Marks said: “Chris and Bev work hard to afford their rallying and they are good people to have around the championship. They are proper club competitors and will help anybody out if they can.”
 
Since 2011, they have cut down on their rallying, continuing to compete on the Tour of Flanders, formerly a round of the BHRC, then Rally Isle of Man and Wales Rally GB in 2013. They have been class-winners in Flanders and last year finished 10th overall on Rally Isle of Man and 29th overall on the National event at Wales Rally GB.
 
Shooter was rallying long before he was a driver, some of his earliest memories being of sitting in the rear seat of a rear-engined NSU Prinz, while his parents competed on clubman events; he started in road rallies in the late 1980s, moving on to special stage events in the mid-‘90s. After a short break to go kart racing, he returned to stage rallying when he built his Escort – he and LeGood have been competing together for 24 years.
 
They heard about Sol Rally Barbados from Phil and Mick Squires of Rally & Equipment, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of Ford Escort competition parts for more than 25 years. The Squires twins also have a long association with a number of Escort owners in Barbados, and Mick is returning for a second year in 2014 as a co-driver – last year, he and Andrew Jones finished 30th overall and winners of SuperModified 11; for 2014, he will sit with Graham Manning, who missed Sol RB13 through injury.
 
On events, the Escort is maintained by the couple’s long-time friend, Sean Harle. As Shooter explains: “His good lady wife Fay is always around with a bacon butty and a hot coffee in the often wet and windy UK forests. However, I don’t expect that we’ll be needing that sort of help in Barbados!”
 
Travelling with the team is another of Shooter’s good friends, former circuit racer Antony Pownall, who owns a number of Veteran cars, including a 1901 De-Dion Bouton, in which Shooter has finished the world-famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
 
 
Competitors reminded of closing date for entries
 
Entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2014 that have been open on the official web site www.rallybarbados.net since October 1 last year, will close on Friday, May 2. The entry list currently stands at 93, with a number of island competitors who participated last year yet to enter.
 
The Barbados Rally Club has reminded competitors that the closing date for entries is also the last day local competitors to pay entry fees at Motorsport Services. Competitors who pay after this date will incur additional late entry penalties; payments at the late entry fee will be accepted up to Wednesday, May 14, after which failure to pay will result in exclusion from the event.
 
Sol RB14 Rally Office Manager Jeanne Crawford urged competitors to make the necessary arrangements, particularly in light of Public Holidays: “Next week is already a short week, following Easter Monday, and there are two more Public Holidays before the Closing Date, Heroes Day on Monday, April 28, then May Day on the Thursday. I recommend that all those competitors who have not yet paid their entry fees plan their time accordingly.”
 
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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