CARS ON THE WATER FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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CARS ON THE WATER FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

The Geest Line freighter Agulhas Stream set sail from Portsmouth on the English south coast this morning (Tuesday, May 6) after two nights in port exchanging fruit and other produce from around the Caribbean for a shipment of rally cars bound for the region’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados.
 
The ship will now spend 10 days on its trans-Atlantic voyage, via Le Havre in France and Martinique, before docking at the Bridgetown Port to off-load its precious cargo of competition vehicles. They will compete against more than 60 regional crews in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event over the weekend of May 30-June 1, after Scotiabank King of the Hill, the ‘shakedown’ on the previous Sunday.
 
The final International entries confirmed today include England’s Stuart Deeley, on his third trip in a third different car. After earlier outings in a Nissan Micra (class-winner in 2012) and Lotus Europa, he returns with a Group A Toyota Celica GT4 ST205, backed by Sandstone Brewery, MouseMat Computer Services, PEC and John Hardman Engineering.
 
Deeley drove the car, built specifically for Sol RB14, for the first time less than a week ago: “I've only driven it round the block, so there's still a lot of learning to do - never driven 4wd or turbo in competition, nor had power steering, power brakes or power windows!” A Japanese import to the UK, the car is one of a limited number built to WRC spec, but for road use. His co-driver will be Trinidad’s Vishal Dhanraj.
 
Also shipped today is the Oxford Universities Motorsport Foundation Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV, returning after a year’s absence; with backing from Phillips Tyres of Oxford, Atwell Exports, Julielm House, JB Event Recruitment, Geest Line, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ullyetts Machine Shop Service and the Barbados Automobile Association, it will again be driven by OUMF Founder Ding Boston, with first-timer Andy Parsons as co-driver.
 
Finally, the freighter is carrying two cars headed for the island’s popular Clubman class, Ireland’s Peter Gallagher returning, this time with his Dublin Crystal Peugeot 306, with local co-driver Rene Forde again the co-driver. Back for his eighth visit, he and Forde finished third in Modified 6 last year in a 206, so face a different challenge this year.
 
Veteran English rally man Dick Mauger is usually seen in an historic-spec Ford Escort MkII or a Ford Focus WRC these days, but will compete in Barbados in a Nissan Micra, supported by Major Farm Services. Dick’s son Simon, who runs the family’s Major Motorsport business, was also entered but has had to postpone his Barbados debut through pressure of work. Dick will have the experienced Steve McNulty in the co-driver’s seat, his most regular partner over the past few years.
 
As happens every year, a group of the most loyal supporters of Sol RB once again took time to travel to Portsmouth yesterday, a Bank Holiday in the UK, to assist in loading the cars on Monday. Led by Martin Stockdale, whose record of what will this year become 14 consecutive trips to compete in Barbados is unlikely ever to be broken. He was joined by friend and mechanic Julian Lockwood, plus Sol RB regulars Andrew and Melissa Costin-Hurley, Stuart Deeley, John Hardman, Rob and Marie Swann and Simon Wallis, while newcomers Tim Green and Shona Hale - delivering Brian Watson’s Audi quattro S1, a round trip of more than 1,100 miles and 18 hours from Scotland - joined in to help.
 
Sol RB Rally Office Manager Jeanne Crawford said: “Every year, it makes such a different that these guys are willing to give up their time, and travel some serious miles, to help with loading. I am always being asked by new competitors about what happens to the cars, who looks after them, all that sort of thing. To know that Martin, Andrew and the crew are there is fantastic. They have got to know the guys who work on the dock, and that plays a big part in building confidence in our event. Thanks to all of them for what they do, on behalf of the Rally Club and all the competitors.”
 
 
US marshal wins round trip to the Caribbean
 
Gregory Coe of Trumbull, Connecticut, is the lucky winner of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Sol Rally Barbados 2014, courtesy of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) and the island's private sector Tourism Development Corporation; the prize includes return flights, accommodation and shared rental car for the duration.
 
His name was drawn ‘out of the hat’ at the Prizegiving for Empire State Performance Rally, which ran off 10 days ago (April 26-27); based just 80 miles north of New York City, ESP Rally is currently the only tarmac rally in the United States.
 
One of more than 160 volunteers, firemen and police who worked this year’s event, which included 16 special stages, two at the Monticello Motor Club, Coe marshalled at two Meegan's Flags stages on Saturday, then three runs of Neversink Drive on Sunday.
 
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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