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an image of Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew in action at Flow King of the Hill last year in the Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12
Also the custom-designed Stay Safe sticker, which will be carried by all competing cars and on all official vehicles, encouraging people to follow Government Covid Protocols


All eyes on Flow King of the Hill

The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) and the title sponsor of its premier event, Sol Rally Barbados, are committed to running this year’s event in as safe an environment as possible. This was emphasised by both stakeholders yesterday (Thursday) during a Media Briefing held in the Open-Air Suites at Bushy Park Barbados, which is playing an important role in the infrastructure for the event, postponed from earlier in the year by the coronavirus pandemic.

  Sol Rally Barbados will now run on Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1, with a total of 19 stages and passing through all but one of the island’s parishes; a radical rethink of the route and a move away from the tradition of Saturday stages in the north and Sunday’s in the south-east will offer competitors an exciting new challenge, including the longest special stage in recent memory – Automotive Art Halton to Drax Hall at 8.1 kilometres – traditionally a Sunday stage, now running three times on Saturday. The rally will finish with a 2.0km SuperSpecial ending in the Vaucluse Raceway, although Government Covid Protocols mean it will be closed to spectators.

  General Manager of Sol (Barbados) Ltd Roger Barrow told the well-attended Briefing: “This year in particular, it is truly a privilege to support this world-class sporting event. In the current climate, the ability to hold Sol Rally Barbados is testament to the strength of the organisers, the sponsors, the community and our collective rigorous commitment to health and safety standards. Better late than never, better to be safe than sorry.”
  After thanking the event’s title sponsor, along with major partners Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Automotive Art, Banks, Chefette, RL Seale & Co and the Tourism Development Corporation, Event Director Neil Barnard said: “We have all been a bit blown away by the commitment level of our overseas competitors faced by the challenges presented by Covid. Not only have they taken considerable time away from their businesses, they have all been through the quarantine process coming into the island and many will have to do so again, some for longer, when they return home.”

  Flow KotH and Sol RB20 are held over extended geographical locations, allowing for wide distribution of spectators and adherence to Government Covid Protocols, including social distancing. To emphasise the importance of following Public Health guidelines, however, the Rally Club is using a number of methods increase public awareness, including advertisements and notices in print and broadcast media and the traditional road closure boards and residents letters.

  Stickers carrying the key message Stay Safe; Stay Sanitized; Stay Distanced; Stay Masked; Stay Alert & Spectate Safely will be carried on each competition car, as well as all official vehicles, with the message reinforced by banners along the route and at the entrances to all restricted areas. Those permitted to enter restricted areas will be required to enter their names and contact details in the event register and will be subject to temperature checks and hand sanitizing measures on entry. The Rally Club has also invested in a large quantity of PPE and mini bottles of hand-sanitizer which will be distributed by marshals and members of the Barbados Youth Service, which is assisting the Club with some event logistics.

  The event is being run in a ‘contactless’ format, with no physical transferring of time cards between marshals and competitors, while all unnecessary physical interaction between organisers, competitors, support crews, marshals, media and spectators is to be avoided, where possible. On the competition front, cars will leave the start line of each special stage at 1 minute intervals, rather than the 30-second intervals of recent years, in another move to enhance the safety of the event, made possible by the smaller entry numbers.

All eyes on Flow King of the Hill

A classic battle between local, regional and international rally drivers gets under way at Flow King of the Hill on Sunday (October 25). Winners of Sol Rally Barbados 2019, Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew, will be hoping to start their title defence by claiming the Number 1 door plates for Sol RB20 for their Subaru Impreza WRC S12, but they are not alone: Jamaica’s Jeff Panton and Mike Fennell Jnr, who have four consecutive KotH wins to their credit, return with a Ford Fiesta WRC, while adding Britain’s Rob Swann and Darren Garrod to the mix in a similar car sets the stage for a first-class battle and a thrilling day of sport for island fans.

  The event returns to Stewart’s Hill, although the course is shorter for 2020, at 3.3 kilometres: in 2016 Panton shared the crown with Simon Jean-Joseph (Focus WRC08) after a rain-affected final run at Hangman’s Hill, then won twice again on the St Thomas course to equal Roger Skeete’s record of three in the Impreza S12 now campaigned by son Dane. This year’s Zero Car driver Roger Mayers was the 2wd King of the Hill last year in his Toyota ‘WR’ Starlet, fifth behind Panton, Swann, Skeete the Younger and Britain’s Kevin Procter (Fiesta) equalling the best overall finish for 2wd, first achieved by Ian Warren in the legendary Simpson Motors Suzuki Swift in 2010.

  The provisional running order published today (October 23) lists the 43 starters in 13 classes, one more than last year, with Clubman 3 attracting entries for the first time. Cars will run in reverse order of seeding, from Clubman 1 up to WRC, with the first of four runs - two each before and after the lunch break - slated for 10.20am; there is no practice run, with the fastest time deciding competitors’ finishing positions. The results of Flow KotH will be used to seed Sol RB20 - drivers who either don’t compete or fail to set a time will be seeded behind the last car in their class, unless safety considerations dictate otherwise.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB20 marks the 13th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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