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courtesy of Himal Reece/justbajan, Andrew Costin-Hurley in his Earl s Performance Hoses Ford Puma Evo
courtesy of Himal Reece/justbajan, Nigel Worswick lifting two wheels in his Ford Escort


Costin-Hurley and Worswick jointly clock up 25 visits

Two of Britain’s most consistent Sol Rally Barbados supporters will jointly clock up their quarter-century this year, when Andrew Costin-Hurley makes his 16th appearance in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event and Nigel Worswick participates for the ninth time. And there’s an even closer link between the two this year than just their common history of campaigning Ford rally cars for many years . . . as Costin-Hurley’s wife Melissa will sit with Worswick on one run of Flow King of the Hill, as one of two successful bidders in an on-line charity auction last year.

Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed by Flow KotH at its new location of Stewarts Hill on Sunday, May 26; it is the 30th running of an event that has evolved from small beginnings as the 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.

Costin-Hurley will again drive his self-designed and built Ford Puma Evo, in which he has won Group B five times. This year it is sponsored by Earl’s Performance Hoses, KB Tyres, Trumbles Guest House and Clubman Motorsport, the last being a rally and motor sport safety equipment supply business launched last year by another Barbados regular Rob Brook, clocking up his 10th visit as he returns to the Puma as co-driver. Former F1 engineer Costin-Hurley says: “Rob is an excellent navigator and my partnership with him has led to my best finishes in Barbados.”

Worswick will return with his Ford Escort WRC, backed by Ullyetts Machine Shop Service, in whose Barbados workshop the car has spent a fair few nights in recent years, and UK businesses Rallytech Composites, Worswick Engineering and Rockwell Automation. He will have a new co-driver on board, English teenager Sophie-Louise Buckland, who made her Barbados debut last year.

Buckland will miss out on the first two runs of Flow KotH, however, as Worswick was among the regular overseas competitors to participate in a fund-raiser organised last August in support of Barbadians Daryl Clarke and Russell Brancker, who were both hospitalised after an accident in Sol RB18. When Worswick auctioned a Flow KotH passenger ride on-line, two identical bids were received – one from Melissa Costin-Hurley, the other from Carron Burley, the partner of Escort MkI driver Ray Clough, who had been the prime mover behind the UK fund-raising efforts.

Worswick takes up the story: “I contacted the Rally Club to see if I could use my first two runs to take different passengers, thereby maximising the funds raised, before my actual co-driver would step in; as always, they were more than helpful. Looks like the service area will be busy, with three different co-drivers in the first three runs!”

From Costin-Hurley’s viewpoint, Worswick may well have taken on something of a challenge, as he describes Melissa as: “no mean driver herself, which in her job as a community midwife is a more useful skill than might be imagined.” Melissa comes from a motor sport family – her father Frank was the ‘Cos’ in Marcos Cars, which he founded with Jem Marsh, while her uncle Mike was the ‘Cos’ in Cosworth, along with partner Keith Duckworth, father of another Barbados regular, Roger Duckworth. In addition to the world-beating Formula 1 DFV engine, Cosworth was responsible for the BDA, also the Cosworth YB turbo engine that powers both Costin-Hurley’s and Worswick’s cars. As Costin-Hurley puts it: “I'll perhaps have to advise Nigel that he will need to be 'on it'.”

Worswick, however, is one step ahead: “During my last trip in November, I spent a few hours driving up and down what I believe may be the new KotH location, in order to give them as exciting a run as possible, while being as safe as possible. After all, it’s my job to give them the thrill of a lifetime.”

Both Costin-Hurley and Worswick derive much the same enjoyment from engineering their cars as from driving them, each spending countless hours working on upgrades, competing in occasional UK events, almost entirely as test sessions for their annual visits to Barbados. Thinking he had only a front splitter to replace, Costin-Hurley’s task list grew rapidly, with engine, differential and brakes needing work; but he’s confident it was worth it: “The positives are that the engine has been proven to be sound, new brakes are now better than the original, and the differential problem is sorted and should yield a significant improvement in traction for RB19.”

Worswick reports his car is also coming along well: “There are upgrades to the engine and improvements to the gear-change and suspension settings, which I am going to test at Race Retro on February 23. I will also be doing the North West Stages in March, with my regular UK co-driver, former Scottish Champion Paula Swinscoe. Assuming the car is in reasonable condition after that, the plan is to re-prepare it and put it on the boat.”

In the 1990s, Worswick was a regular competitor on Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (then titled the Network Q RAC Rally), missing out on a top 10 finish by just one second in 1996 in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4 x 4, having finished in the top seven on the last five of 26 special stages. In his previous visits to Barbados, he has always been competitive, 15th overall in Sol RB14 in his Ford Escort MkII, before switching to the Escort WRC in which he finished 11th and third in WRC-2 three years later.

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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