British driver Andrew Costin-Hurley’s entry for Sol Rally Barbados 2016 marks his 13th visit to the island for an event he describes as “a big and colourful part of our lives”. This year, he is reunited with co-driver Rob Brook, with whom he achieved a personal best in Sol RB14 – 21st overall, plus his third class win – and also returns after a comprehensive rebuild of his unique Ford Puma Evo.
  The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event and the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol RB16 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 3 to 5, with Scrutineering and the King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ event the previous weekend, May 28 and 29. Eighty-five entries have now been received on-line through the official web site,, with continuing high levels of interest from overseas.
  As with many of the return visitors, particularly from the UK, Costin-Hurley’s annual trip with wife Melissa has become a key part of their year: “It's pretty amazing to think that this year will be our 13th trip; the rally has truly become a big and colourful part of our lives, and we've had some brilliant adventures.
  “Over the years, we've developed a big circle of great friends from the UK, Europe and Barbados; we got engaged at RB03, celebrated my 40th birthday with 'Happy Birthday' sung in Drivers' Briefing, had two surprise co-driver engagements, enjoyed our 10th wedding anniversary in the island and celebrated 25 years of Rally Barbados with the Rally Club – plus, of course, experienced great rallying and catamaran trips, too!
  “It seems that one of life's lessons is that nothing is certain and we really value each and every opportunity to visit Barbados and participate in the rally. More and more, I find myself reflecting that it's a real privilege to be a part of this amazing event, not just to compete in a fabulous rally (and have a lot of fun!) but to play our own small part in contributing to a great show. Ari Vatanen once said of rallying: ‘It's more than just the winning, it's about entertainment’ . . . and he knows a thing or two.”
  Brook is one of Costin-Hurley’s two co-drivers who got engaged in Barbados – at the Sol RB14 Prizegiving – and he returns with Hazel and the new addition to the family, one-year-old son Morgan, who will be making his first overseas trip. This is Brook’s 10th visit, having competed as driver and co-driver, also acted once as Overseas Steward.
  Costin-Hurley also praised the help and support of the island’s rally fraternity, after he discovered several cracks in the exhaust manifold of the True Colour Racing/Earl’s Performance Hoses Ford Puma Evo the day before the start of Sol RB15: “They were hurriedly and expertly repaired thanks to Geoffrey Ullyett and his crew up at Content, which saw us through the weekend. After 13 years of trusty service, however, it needed replacing for the longer term. My car has an unusual location for the turbocharger, set very low near the engine sump, so a unique manifold has to be tailor-made. A good friend who runs an exhaust fabrication company used by many Formula 1 teams is currently working wonders with some lovely exotic metals and a shiny new manifold is expected soon.”
  While the car has been sitting on axle stands, former Indycar and Formula 1 designer Costin-Hurley has found it hard to resist some additional work. Using some major components from his previous Ford Sierra Cosworth rally car along with Escort WRC suspension, he first built the rear-wheel-drive Puma from a factory Puma WRC shell and registered it in 2001. He said: “I just love messing around with cars, particularly the Puma, so I have been dabbling in all sorts of areas, from cockpit and seating ergonomics to damper settings, roll bars and weight!”
Two-wheel-drive crowd-pleasers boost local entry
Some of the island’s most popular two-wheel-drive crowd-pleasers are among recent entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2016 (June 3-5) posted on-line at the official web site, Roger Mayers, who won outright in 2005 in his Ford Focus, has lodged his entry in the Chefette/Digicel/Sol/DHL/Illusion Graphics/Hankook WR Starlet, with co-driver Sean Corbin; Geoffrey Ullyett is listed in his turbocharged Ullyett's Machine Shop Service Nissan 160T, with co-driver Jason King; while the leading front-wheel-drive runners are likely to include Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew (Sol/Flow/Automotive Art/Williams Trading Inc Peugeot 306 Maxi).
Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; Sol RB16 and the previous Sunday’s King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ event, are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Sol RB16 marks the ninth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.
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Photo by Nicholas Bhajan Photography