Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 29-31), which marks the 25th Anniversary of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, will finish with a spectacular side-by-side SuperSpecial on the unique Race Of Champions parallel track at Bushy Park. This, along with a change of Service Park location, was confirmed by organisers today (Thursday).
  Crews will be required to start the SuperSpecial in order to be classified as overall finishers, but the times will not be included in the results of Sol RB15, allowing competitors to “let their hair down” after two hard days of focussed rallying. Cars will be seeded in reverse order, from slowest to fastest, building tension during the evening, as drivers vie for special awards for fastest in class and fastest overall.
  Rally Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “During the planning stages of our two events which run on consecutive weekends, the organising team looks at the best options available, taking into consideration cost, location, route implications, transits, infrastructure requirements, historical experiences and so forth. This is an on-going process, which results in changes from time to time that serve the best interest of the events. We are confident that will also be the case for 2015.
  “The chance to use the ROC Parallel Track for its designed purpose of side-by-side racing is really too good to miss, and offers something we would not be able to do at Vaucluse Raceway within the time frame, as it will be configured for stage use earlier in the day; the infrastructure costs are already incurred for the Friday night start, when we cannot use the ROC track side-by-side within the timing structure of the event.
  “We’re still planning for a rally finish that will bring competitors, rally cars, service crews, supporters and spectators together, over-looking the SuperSpecial from up on The Hill, details of which will be released in the coming weeks. I’m sure many will remember the 2008 SuperSpecial at Bushy Park with the bridge, when some drivers thought they were astronauts . . . once they relax and let their hair down, I think we may well see the same sort of thing again!”
  Hamilton added: “Fans will still see a lot of action up in St Thomas over the two weekends. It is the focal point for the LIME King of the Hill Party Stage – Powered by LIME/Banks/AA, and the Prize-giving, and will be used extensively over rally weekend.”
  Saturday’s route includes 11 stages, four of which will run through the centre of the Vaucluse Raceway (VRW), including some new purpose-built link roads, which will add 1.5 kilometres to the traditional Hangmans Hill stage. Saturday’s final stage will run after nightfall, then Sol RB15 will pass through the facility twice again on Sunday.
  The Service Park for Sol RB15 will now be at Simpson Motors, a change out of the Club’s hands. Hamilton explains: “After we announced returning to the Andrews Factory Yard, we learned that the re-development by the Barbados Agricultural Management Corporation (BAMC) would start earlier than planned. Our team have had to re-think the route, particularly in terms of transits between stages, another factor in our decision about the finish, as two of Sunday’s three stage venues are in the east of the island.”
Mauger’s Mighty Mark II heads to the Caribbean
Simon Mauger, one of UK rallying’s most decorated rear-wheel-drive exponents, has made a last-minute decision to contest Sol Rally Barbados 2015, joining father Dick, who returns after a class-winning debut last year. With cars due at Portsmouth on Friday (April 17), yesterday’s decision threw the family’s Major Motorsport business into turmoil, with plans to be made and paperwork completed.
  Mauger won motocross and karting titles before he started rallying in 1998, winning Ford KA then European Ford Puma championships in the next two years, which won him a works drive in a Puma S1600. Since focussing on Ford Escort MkIIs in 2007, he is a 10-time Champion and remains unbeaten by any other MkII. Victory on the 2010 Tyneside Stages was the first for a MkII on a National rally in more than 20 years - his co-driver then was Ashley Trimble, who also makes his Barbados debut this year, co-driving for Oliver Hopkins (Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI).
  Built by Major Motorsport and JEMS Engineering during 2013, Mauger’s current MkII has a 2.5-litre, 320-horsepower Smith & Jones engine, with six-speed Sadev sequential gearbox. Mauger won his first two rallies in the car last year, then placed well in the rest of 2014 MSA National Tarmac Championship - rwd Champion for the second year in a row - and also won the Jersey Rally for the fifth time in eight years. The Escort is backed by Smith & Jones Engines and Ravenol Oils, with the Sol RB15 trip also supported by Virgin Atlantic Airways, Redline Fuels, Accra Beach Hotel and Stoutes Car Rentals.
  Co-driver Melanie Holmes has been driving, co-driving and organising since 2007, titles to her credit including 2013 & ’14 UK National Female Co-Driver Champion; outside motor sport, she was in the British Champion Cheerleading team in 2009 to 2013.
Sol Rally Barbados and LIME King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which was founded in 1957; Sol RB15 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.
Photo by Himal Reece
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