SOL RALLY BARBADOS REVAMP “A WORK IN PROGRESS” Shake-up for 2017 Rally Club Championship

Sunday, 29th January 2017

A new spectator-focussed Rally Show, a revised format for Scrutineering and a change of location for ‘Rally Central’ - the secure facility and workshop that plays host to the majority of visiting crews - are among changes for Sol Rally Barbados 2017 confirmed in outline today (January 28) by the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC).
 As the BRC celebrates its 60th Anniversary, Sol RB17 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 2-4, with Flow King of the Hill, on which the seeding for the main event is based, the previous Sunday (May 28). Since entries opened on October 1 on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net, more than 50 have been posted, almost three-quarters of the total from overseas.
 In his introduction to a revised FAQ document which will shortly be available on-line, Sol RB Chairman Mark Hamilton writes: “After each event, we look at every element to see where anything might be improved but, as there have been no major structural changes in recent years, we decided it might be time for a closer look. We held a Members Meeting last week, at which there was a very productive exchange of views between the Committee of Management and competitors, which has resulted in us looking beyond what we were already planning to change.”
 On Saturday, May 27, the BRC will host its new Rally Show at Simpson Motors, after a decision to separate the official function of scrutineering – the technical checks on competing cars - from the promotional event, which has surrounded it in recent years at the Warrens location. BRC PRO Neil Barnard says: “This, for me, was the best result of our Members Meeting. The competitors feel that the entire thing has become extremely onerous, with up to two hours spent by each team moving slowly forwards in line . . . and all this in the hot sun.”
 While the detailed format of the new event is still being developed, the Rally Show will run from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, with a mix of autograph sessions, competitions, driver and co-driver interviews, film clips, photo opportunities and sponsor giveaways. The revised Scrutineering plan means that crews who compete in the BRC Shakedown Stages (April 23) will not be required to undergo further technical checks, while overseas visitors and local drivers who did not compete will have their cars checked in non-public sessions on the same day.
 Barnard added: “The decision to split these two functions opens up a whole range of possibilities as to how we can transform this Saturday into something markedly bigger and more impactful for the benefit not only of our own marketing partners and sponsors, but also every single competitor’s individual sponsors. Currently, it is a work in progress."
 ‘Rally Central’ will now be located in the Pits at Bushy Park Barbados, in light of the impending sale of the former Banks Brewery building at Wildey, where it has been located for the past four years. Hamilton explains: “Sourcing a location large enough to house the number of overseas cars, along with spare parts, tyres and associated equipment is no easy task. The Banks building has served us very well in recent years, as it was spacious enough to comfortably accommodate the steady growth in the overseas entry over that period.
 “We have always been aware, however, that it would one day cease to be available, and that day has come. Our new arrangement with Bushy Park Barbados provides us with an enhanced package, as we can now offer track time for testing, without teams needing to decamp to a separate location. All the previous components of the Rally Central package – the office, 24-hour security, storage and washrooms – remain in place.”

Shake–up for 2017 Rally Club Championship

The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Driver’s and Class Championship will have a new look for its 60th Anniversary year in 2017, with a later start to the season and a different spread of events across the calendar; further changes to the individual format of events and the points-scoring system remain under consideration.
 The Shakedown Stages on Sunday, April 23, will now open the Championship, more than a month later than last year, with the final event a Stage Rally on November 24/25; changes to previously-published dates are subject to ratification by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF). With the number of rounds cut from eight to seven, the dropped-score rule will also be abandoned.
 The other significant change is moving the August Stage Rally to a new date in November, when it is proposed to run stages in darkness on Friday night, then run from day into night on Saturday. BRC PRO Neil Barnard said: “In consultation with the Vaucluse Raceway Motorsports Club (VRMSC), we have agreed to move our event from August to November, to help facilitate a revamp of the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival.
 “Moving that event has helped create the longer mid-season break. We believe that will have two benefits: first, it will afford our hard-worked volunteer marshals and officials a more worthwhile rest following the concentrated period between the Shakedown Stages and Sol RB17, when there are three major events within the space of seven weeks.”

Barbados Rally Club Championship 2017 *: Round 1, Apr 23 – Shakedown Stages; Round 2, May 28 – Flow King of the Hill; Rounds 3 & 4, Jun 2-4 – Sol Rally Barbados 2017; Rounds 5 & 6, Oct 8 - Speed Event; Round 7, Nov 24/25 – Stage Rally
* subject to ratification by the Barbados Motoring Federation

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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