REGIONAL NUMBERS RISE FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS Organisers to build on Safety Plan with Public Awareness Campaign

Monday, 26th March 2018

The total of overseas entries confirmed for Sol Rally Barbados 2018 has moved into the twenties, with the announcement today (March 26) of three crews from the Turks & Caicos Motoring Club and the return of an American father and son duo, who made their Caribbean debut last year. Momentum is building for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, with further announcements planned in the coming weeks ahead of the close of entries on April 27.
 Sol RB18 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 1-3, with The Rally Show and Flow King of the Hill (KotH) the previous weekend, May 26/27. Since entries opened on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – on October 1 last year, approaching 90 have been posted, with 19 International crews and four from the wider Caribbean now confirmed, among them 12 in the four-wheel-drive classes.
 Paul Horton, the first driver to represent the Turks & Caicos Islands in Barbados, returns for a ninth trip, off the back of his best result to date, last year’s Modified 2 class win, on the Sol RB debut of his Java Island/Sky Motorsports/H Racing Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX. Twice a class-winner in Targa Newfoundland in North America – in a Honda Civic in 2008, then his Ford Escort MkI the following year – it took Horton rather longer to find success in Barbados, three retirements (Civic 2, Escort 1) before finishing 27th overall and second in M7 in the Escort in 2013.
 While 14th in 2014 is his best overall finish, he is proud of last year’s class win: “Last year was very good for us, winning the class in Rally Barbados, finishing eighth in the Rally Club Championship, and only my first year back in front-wheel-drive. The Citroen is such a rounded car, the braking and handling package is unbelievable. I can’t do what the car can do, yet, but I’m looking forward to this year being another stepping stone.” Horton and local co-driver Dwayne Forde finished 10th in their first island outing of 2018, in the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc (MCBI) Spring Blaze sprint 10 days ago (March 18).
 Canadian-born Stan Hartling, who first visited the island to represent Turks & Caicos in 2012 with his Lotus Exige, endured a similarly challenging time before he claimed his first overall finish last year, 30th and fifth in SuperModified 3 in his Bambarra Rum/Automotive Art BMW M3. He also made the trip down for the MCBI event, to start his preparations for Sol RB18, finishing eighth. His co-driver will be Canada’s Andy Proudfoot.
 Hartling had also been a competitor in the Targa Newfoundland events, when his co-driver was Jamaican-born Pierre Beswick – they twice finished in the top 10 together - who is now the third member of the Turks & Caicos driving force, in his Hartling Luxury Resorts/Grace Bay Car Rentals/Grace Bay Paint Supply/Caicos Dream Tours Citroen C2 R2 MAX. Co-driven by Bajan Leslie Evanson, a former class-winning co-driver on the event, he made his island debut last year in M1, finishing ninth in the Sol RB17 Sunday Cup after issues on Saturday.
 American former drag and circuit racer George Sherman and his son Anthony made their rallying debut in last year’s Shakedown Stages, before moving on to Sol RB17; undeterred by failing to finish, they returned for the recent MCBI event and will be back in the island for Sol RB18. The Group N Subway/Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, owned by Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho, became available when Coelho switched back to Group A.

Organisers to build on Safety Plan with Public Awareness Campaign

The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) will be launching a major Public Awareness Campaign ahead of Flow King of the Hill (May 27) and Sol Rally Barbados 2018 (June 1-3) to build on the comprehensive Safety Plan that is already in place for these two major events. The new campaign, announced during the Club’s Annual General Meeting last Thursday (March 22), will focus on spreading key messages about the event beyond the core body of enthusiasts.
 Club Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “The objective is to inform not only rally fans, but also the travelling public, the motorcycle fraternity and Barbadians in general of the importance of following the instructions of marshals and Island Constables, and the potentially serious consequences of not doing so. We also wish to educate people about the various public notices that the Club uses, the timing and location of the events, and also about the significant impact the event has on the island economy.” In recent years, the BRC’s premier event has annually contributed around Bds $4 million to the economy each year, much of it in foreign exchange, and accounted for more than 4,000 visitor nights at a traditionally quiet time.
 Event organiser Neil Barnard adds: “Our overall Safety Plan was revised in 2016 after a full on-event assessment of Sol Rally Barbados by Sue Sanders, the International Training Manager of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the UK’s governing body, and also the official in overall charge of Event Safety at events such as Wales Rally GB, Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), and the annual Race Of Champions.
 “Our Safety Plan, which includes detailed maps for each of the stage venues, specifying numbers and locations of marshals, medical crews and other emergency services, is reviewed every year and any new requirements acted on and implemented. It was important, given the sustained growth of Sol Rally Barbados, that we concentrate our efforts in this area, to create a comprehensive, well-thought-out plan and to have it guided and reviewed by a leading authority, such as Sue Sanders, who had first assessed our event three years earlier.”
 Barnard concludes: “Having said all that, we are fully aware that work still needs to be done, particularly in educating the growing audience outside the hard core fans, who are far less aware of the potential outcome of their actions. So, in line with many other international events, a comprehensive public road and motor sport safety awareness campaign will be a major focus in 2018.”

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB18 marks the 11th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the third by communications provider Flow.
Photo by Corey Reece.

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web sites: www.rallybarbados.net; www.barbadosrallyclub.com

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