SOL RALLY BARBADOS 4WD ENTRY REACHES 20

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SOL RALLY BARBADOS 4WD ENTRY REACHES 20

The return to Sol Rally Barbados of two repeat UK competitors confirmed today by the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC) brings to 20 the four-wheel-drive entry, with more than half in the WRC classes. Both entered in Group A Mitsubishi Lancer Evos, Northern Ireland’s Joe McQuillan, aka ‘The Big Man’, is back for the third consecutive year, while Rupert ‘Ru’ Lomax returns from Wales to compete for the first time since 2005.
 
With less than a week to go before the May 2 closing date, entries received within the past few days on the official web site – www.rallybarbados.net – have pushed the total up to 98, one-third from the wider Caribbean or further afield.
 
The BRC is this year celebrating the 25th running of its premier event, which has grown from small beginnings in 1990 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).
 
County Antrim farmer McQuillan, who has been rallying since the late 1990s, has won the Mid Antrim Motor Club Championship twice; on his first visit to Barbados with his Evo VII, he finished 40th overall and third in Modified 8-A. For Sol RB13, the car had gained a new livery, and a new co-driver, McQuillan’s partner Annette Daly, who returns with him next month.
 
Despite putting the M & M McNally/Masstock/Masserene Park Farms-backed Evo on a major diet, allied to a development programme, their second trip to the island did not go well; McQuillan spent most of the opening day with no brakes, which resulted in one or two visits to the scenery, then they were judged OTL, so did not figure in the overall finishers list, although they were still running at the final stage.
 
For plant hire contractor Lomax from Denbighshire, this will be his third visit to compete in Barbados, although he travelled out to spectate in 2008; he finished 18th on his debut in RB04 in a Ford Sapphire Cosworth - his long-term co-driver, Dave ‘Squeak’ Alcock, from Rhyl, was married on the island during that trip.
 
Lomax and Alcock have been rallying together since 1998; front-runners in the British Historic Rally Championship in recent years in a Ford Escort MkI RS1600, they had previously won the Association of North Western Car Clubs Championship.
 
When they returned to Barbados in 2005, it was in a Mark II Escort, with an engine built by John Hardman, who has himself become a regular visitor to Sol RB in recent years. They finished 39th overall, fourth in SuperModified 12, their rally ruined by problems on the first two stages; despite taking two class stage wins and a further seven top three stage times in the second half of the event, they could not recover.
 
This year, they are competing in an Evo VI, originally built by Ears Motorsport, and which has enjoyed a successful career on the Isle of Man; it is now prepared by SMS Motorsport Engineering, with sponsorship from Dig-It Plant Hire, GMC Concrete, Ash Engineering and Blakoe Recovery.
 
 
Barbados connections shine on Circuit of Ireland
 
The results book for the Circuit or Ireland, which was staged over the Easter weekend, was sprinkled with names familiar to rally fans in Barbados . . . and one which is about to become known at Scotiabank King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados 2014.
 
It was confirmed today that 26-year-old Scottish co-driver Stuart Loudon will co-drive on the island’s premier event for Paul Bourne in his Chefette/Banks/MQI/Flow Ford Focus WRC07; a co-driver since 2006, Loudon’s career has taken off over the past two years, competing in the WRC Academy with John MacCrone in a Ford Fiesta R2 and selected IRC and ERC events with Robert Barrable.
 
Last weekend, he and Barrable finished third in a Ford Fiesta R5i n the International section of the Circuit of Ireland, a round of the European Rally Championship. They were just seven seconds behind Sepp Wiegand and Frank Christian in a Skoda Fabia, although both were nearly two minutes adrift of the Fabia of winners Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm. Kirsty Riddick, winner of Sol RB12 with Paul Bird, finished ninth, co-driving for Jonny Greer in a Citroen DS3 R3T.
 
In the National event, double Barbados winner Kenny McKinstry finished fourth, co-driven in his Subari Impreza WRTC S14 by Noel Orr; Sean Hayde, former winner of a marshals prize trip to Sol RB, finished sixth, co-driving in Declan McNaughton’s MkII Escort; Frank Kelly, who makes his Sol RB debut this year, was ninth in his MkII Escort ‘Baby Blue 3’, a result that might have been better, but for a very heavy landing early on the first day dropping him down the field – he had Russell Harold as co-driver.
 
Enda McCormack, who is returning for a second visit to Barbados with his MkII Escort, finished 11th, co-driven in a Hyundai Accent WRC by Colin Fitzgerald, who competed in Barbados two years ago, while Anglia WRC co-driver Mo Downey picked up awards for class second in Jonathan Cargo’s Escort.
 
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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