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Former BTRDA Champion from the UK, Warren Philliskirk, will make his Sol Rally Barbados debut in May, when the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) marks the 25th Anniversary of its premier event. His historic-spec Ford Escort MkII is currently nearing the end of a bare-shell rebuild, specifically for its forthcoming trip to the Caribbean.
 
Sol RB15 will run on Saturday and Sunday, May 30/31, with Scrutineering and the King of the Hill shakedown event the previous weekend. Philliskirk told the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net: “It’s cold over here, Christmas is over and we’re back to work. We are all good to go and looking forward very much to our Barbados adventure.”
 
A land and sports field drainage specialist, Philliskirk is based in Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire, mid-way between York and Harrogate, where his co-driver Garry Green runs a business specialising in motor sport wiring looms. They live right in the middle of classic rallying country, boasting some of the UK’s most popular stages and with famous forest events such as the Trackrod Rally based nearby.
 
Philliskirk has been rallying for more than 40 years, claiming his first title in the late 1970s (the Yorkshire Championship) in a MkI Escort, built from a shell using components from a Ford Cortina in which he had spent a year grass track racing. After switching to a MkII Escort, then a rear-wheel-drive MkIII – all these cars built by himself and friends - he made what he refers to as “a life-changing decision” and bought an MG Metro 6R4, in which he won the BTRDA Championship in 1997, his first full season in the car.
 
He campaigned the 2.5-litre 6R4 in more than 60 rallies over the next few years, winning a number of National Championship rounds, and with seventh overall chalked up in the Iceland International Rally in 2000. The BTRDA Championship’s Gold and Silver Star titles are British club rallying’s most prestigious, with Andy Burton in his self-built Peugeot-Cosworth and Barbados regular Steve Perez, who won the title in 2010 and last year in a Ford Focus WRC, among the few to have done so more than once.
 
The Escort which Philliskirk is taking to Barbados, with backing from Philliskirk Drainage and Autosparks, is enjoying a bare-shell rebuild after 25 rallies in the Yorkshireman’s hands, including the demanding Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2010. He adds: “We have taken advantage of the holidays to put the car together after its bare-shell paint.”
 
Philliskirk spent two days in Barbados before joining a Caribbean cruise with his wife Hilary last March, during which they contacted members of the Sol RB organising committee to learn more about the event. He said: “I had heard about Sol Rally Barbados from friends who had competed in the past, but being able to learn so much more first hand helped us make up our minds.”
 
 
Former Rally Club Rookie of the Year brings on-line entries to 70
 
When former Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Rookie of the Year Clifford Cox posted his entry for Sol Rally Barbados 2015 on-line yesterday afternoon (Thursday), it brought to 70 the total received since entries opened on October 1. Cox, who won the RotY title in 2012, is entered in SuperModified 9 in his Toyota Starlet with co-driver Scott Bentham.
 
With 19 weeks to go before Scrutineering for Sol RB15, entries are currently almost 50 per cent higher than this time last year, when 47 had been logged. There is a broad cross-section of competitors, with crews registered in all but two of the BRC’s classifications, and competitors from 11 countries outside the island.
 
Other local entries posted this week include Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (WRC-2 Toyota Corolla WRC), Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (Group N Subaru Impreza N10), Justin Campbell/Juan Watts (SM12 BMW M3), Sean Field/Shannon Kirton (M7 Peugeot 306 GTi6) and Pierre Clarke/Ezra Gibbs (Clubman Honda Civic).
 
BRC PRO Neil Barnard commented: “We are very encouraged by the depth of the entry, as the Rally Club is determined to mark the event’s 25th Anniversary in style . . . and our International competitors seem eager to help us. Almost half of the entries from the UK and Ireland are newcomers, fantastic news for the sustainability of the event.”
 
The entry list can be found in the draw-down under the Competitors tab on the home page of the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net. As in previous years, some overseas entries, in particular crews new to the event, are held back for promotional purposes, with a schedule of announcements planned for the coming weeks.
 
Sol Rally Barbados and the King of the Hill shakedown event are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which was founded in 1957; Sol RB15 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and the eighth 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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