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Scotland will be represented by seven crews in Sol Rally Barbados 2017, following today’s (April 18) announcement of three further entries, which bring the number of overseas cars confirmed for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event to 35 and the entry in the four-wheel-drive classes to 22.

  As the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) marks its 60th Anniversary, Sol RB17 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 2-4, and Flow King of the Hill, on which the seeding for the main event is based, the previous Sunday (May 28). More than 90 entries have been posted since October 1 on the official web site,, with the entry closing date just 10 days away, on Friday, April 28.

  Each of the three already has an overall finish on Sol Rally Barbados under his belt, Brian ‘The Sheriff’ Watson preparing for his third trip to the island, with a third different car . . . and one which he will not have driven before he arrives in Barbados. Teamed up with his regular ‘Deputy’, co-driver Caroline Will, he is shipping a brand new Mitsubishi WRC Replica, just completed by Wayne Sisson’s AMS Motorsport in Lancashire. Will told yesterday (Easter Monday): “A lot of effort has gone in to get it ready, and Brian hasn’t even had a chance to drive it, as it's being loaded today to head to the boat. So, the very first competitive outing will be King Of the Hill.”

  On their previous trips (2014 & ’15), they failed to finish in the Group B Audi quattro S1, which suffered any number of mechanical issues, while they finished 36th overall and third in SuperModified 11 in a Ford Escort MkII on their second visit. Watson’s first rally car in 2005 was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo II, while co-driver Will has been competing since age 14, when she first drove a Vauxhall Nova in an autotest; she became Junior, Ladies and Club Champion at Stonehaven & District Motor Club (SDMC) and shared the ‘Best Entertainer’ award on the Isle of Mull Rally in 2013 with Watson.

  On his second visit, Barry Groundwater will have Caroline’s sister Ashleigh as co-driver in his Groundwater Lift Trucks/AMS Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX; the former class and Group N title-winner and regular year-end top five finisher in the Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), ‘Handsome Baz’ started competing in 1997 in a Mazda 323. He finished third on Wales Rally GB National in 2014, co-driven by Neil Shanks, who has also competed in Barbados, and finished 22nd overall, fourth in Group A, on his Barbados debut in 2015.

  When former SRC class-winner (2006, Ford Puma 1600) Fraser Louden and daughter Abi made their tarmac debut on Sol RB15, they finished 25th overall and seventh in class. Louden started rallying in 1996 in a Toyota Corolla and admits that his rally cars, which have also included a Subaru Impreza, have spent quite a lot of time lodged in trees.

  Already confirmed are regular visitors from Scotland Kenny Hall, with Dutch co-driver Fenny Wesselink (Ford Puma), and Allan Mackay (Ford Anglia WRC), with local co-driver Andrew Croney, plus two crews on the first-time visitors list, Robin and Vanessa Hamilton (Talbot Sunbeam) and James Thomson and Shaun Douglas (Vauxhall Nova). In addition, Scottish co-driver Sean Donnelly will sit with Ireland’s Joe McQuillan once again in his Evo IX. Watson’s car, along with those of Groundwater, Louden and Mackay are heading south to Portsmouth on one transporter to meet the Friday (April 21) lunchtime deadline for arrival.

Automotive Art Shakedown Stages on Sunday

With at least five overseas entries anticipated, Sunday’s (April 23) Automotive Art Shakedown Stages looks set to kick off the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Driver’s and Class Championships in fine style . . . and afford an early form guide ahead of Flow King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados.

  Sunday’s event will be decided over 10 special stages and 37 kilometres, starting from Kendal Plantation Yard in St John at 9.30am; in the morning, there will be three runs of a 4.2-kilometre stage from Society to Pool, alternating with two runs from Wilson Hill to Malvern (3.2kms). In the afternoon, the stages will be reversed, with two runs from Pool to Society and three from Malvern to Wilson Hill. The Service Park will also be at Kendall, as will the post-event Prizegiving, scheduled for approximately 5.30pm.

  Entries close on Wednesday (April 19), with the Briefing Meeting scheduled for 6.30pm the following evening at Copacabana, Bay Street, The City, after which the running order will be published. Scrutineering at Automotive Art Welches from 2.00 to 6.00pm on Saturday (April 22) will give island fans their first chance this year to check out some of the overseas visitors.

Automotive Art Shakedown Stages 2017

0945: SS1 - Society to Pool 1 (4.20kms)

10.05: SS2 - Wilson Hill to Malvern 1 (3.20kms)

10.50: SS3 - Society to Pool 2 (4.20kms)

11.10: SS4 - Wilson Hill to Malvern 2 (3.20kms)

11.40: SS5 - Society to Pool 3 (4.20kms)

      Lunch Halt

13.20: SS6 - Malvern to Wilson Hill 1 (3.20kms)

13.40: SS7 - Pool to Society 1 (4.20kms)

14.25: SS6 - Malvern to Wilson Hill 2 (3.20kms)

14.45: SS9 - Pool to Society 2 (4.20kms)

15.15: SS10 - Malvern to Wilson Hill 3 (3.20kms)


Sol Rally Barbados (June 2-4, 2017) and Flow King of the Hill (May 28) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB17 marks the 10th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the second by communications provider Flow.

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