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courtesy of Himal Reece/ of the Weir Rallying UK Ford Escort MkII, which finished 29th overall in Sol Rally Barbado


Three-time Welsh Rally Champion Alex Allingham is the first new overseas competitor confirmed for Sol Rally Barbados 2019, the 30th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event. Allingham will drive the Weir Rallying UK Ford Escort MkII with co-driver Ross Weir, who last year sat with Dave Jenkins, the car’s builder, when they finished 29th overall on the historic Escort’s competition debut.

Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed Flow King of the Hill at its new location of Stewarts Hill on Sunday, May 26; the event has evolved from small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.

With six Champion Driver titles and numerous overall and class wins to his credit, including twice winning both the Grizedale and the Mid-Wales Stages, Allingham has built an impressive cv since his competition debut in 2001 in a 1.6-litre Escort MkII; concentrating exclusively on forest rallies, his first major success came in 2007, when he was the Clubman Production Cup winner in the British Trials & Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) Championship in a Subaru Impreza, winning again in 2008.

He claimed the first of his three Overall Champion Driver titles in the Welsh National Forest Rally Championship in 2010 – he repeated in 2011 and 2014 – also claiming the Production Cup and N4 Class titles in 2010, going on to add further Welsh Clubman and Group N titles in 2012 and 2013, as well as winning the Association of North-Western Car Club’s (ANWCC) Forest Rally Championship overall in 2013.

In addition to a new driver, there’s a new power plant for the striking black and gold Escort, sponsored again the award-winning Welsh manufacturer of commercial and industrial laundry machines HJ Weir Engineering, Weir Laundry Equipment and WeCoTec. Co-driver ‘Rossco’ Weir explains: “Following the car’s reaction to the heat in Barbados, we took the big decision to switch to a brand new Jondel engine. Known for it’s high levels of performance, we feel this is the right step for the team to achieve greater success in 2019. We’re currently carrying out extensive tests on the new engine to ensure we’ve optimised its performance for the new season.”

On the Chepstow-based team’s first two visits to Sol RB12 & ‘13, Team Principal Rob Weir achieved overall finishes and class trophies, first in a Subaru Impreza (34th), then a Triumph TR7 V8 (46th), with son Ross as co-driver; after a big accident on the 2013 Woodpecker Stages, however, Rob is no longer competing, but enjoying his new role in team management. In 2015, the Triumph was driven by its builder, Rob Smith, finishing 26th and second in class, with co-driver Paul Willetts, while last year’s 29th overall for Jenkins in the Escort, second in Historic 2, added a further success to the team’s record.

This will not be the first time that Allingham and Weir have shared a car, having finished 10th and fourth in class on the Somerset Stages, a round of the BTRDA Championship, back in 2015 in a Subaru Impreza. Rob Weir said: “We’re excited to have Alex as part of the team; with our new engine installed and tested, we feel they’re a winning combination to take us to success in 2019”.

BRC confirms separate class for FIA R5 Cars

Following an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held last month, the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has confirmed two changes to its new three-year cycle of Vehicle Regulations, which will come in to force on January 1, 2019. There will now be a separate class for FIA R5 Cars, which had originally been bracketed with WRC, while the restricted fuels list has been extended to include Avgas.

BRC Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “The club held the EGM relating to those changes to the regulations immediately prior to the Tivoli Winter Rally Briefing Meeting in November. The meeting was well-attended and both proposals were passed with nearly unanimous approval, having received support from both the Committee of Management and the membership.”

As they will now be written in to the amended version of the Vehicle Regulations, these changes will apply to all events in the BRC Driver’s and Class Championships, including Flow King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados for the next three years. With FIA R5 now to have a separate class, WRC will cater for WRC Cars built on or before December 31, 2008 and FIA S2000 Cars, also unhomologated cars built to equivalent specification and any derivatives. In terms of fuel, Avgas joins Carless, VP C9, VP 109, Sunoco 260 GT Plus, pump gasoline and pump diesel on the approved list.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

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