Britain’s Rob Swann, the leading European contender of recent years, arrives in the island next Monday determined to win Sol Rally Barbados 2020. He posted his on-line entry two days before the closing date after constant juggling with Covid testing, travel and quarantine arrangements for himself and his Welsh co-driver and friend Darren Garrod, who faced even more complicated protocols to get from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where he was competing last weekend.
Swann said: “I have Darren back with me for this event, fresh from co-driving for Ruari Bell in JWRC, so he has had to go through a lot of testing and travelling to make the journey from the Med to the Caribbean. Like me, though, he really wants to win this event and that is why we have gone to such a lot of effort to make the rally this year.”

Following its postponement as a result of the pandemic, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event will now run over the weekend of October 31/November 1, with the Prizegiving on Sunday evening at the Vaucluse Raceway, where the last of 19 stages will end. The previous Saturday, Bushy Park will host Scrutineering, while Flow King of the Hill on the Sunday will return to Stewarts Hill.

The provisional entry list for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event published today (October 14) lists 45 entries, headed by last year’s winners Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B); five-time winner Jeff Panton and co-driver Mike Fennell Jnr will campaign the Jamaican’s Ford Fiesta WRC together for the first time, while Garrod will also make his debut in Swann’s similar car.
With seven entries each, the best-supported classes are FIA R5 and SuperModified 2. While the event’s biggest R5 entry to date includes American motor sport legend Ken Block in a brand new Fiesta Rally2 and double British Rally Champion Matt Edwards from Wales, co-driving for Turks and Caicos Rally Team member Paul Horton, the local SM2 hotshoes such as Barry Mayers (Fiesta) and Rhett Watson (BMW M3) are set on mixing it with the four-wheel-drives.

Chairman of Sol RB20 Mark Hamilton said: “It says a lot about the event and Barbados that we have been able to go ahead and plan for this postponed edition of Sol Rally Barbados, which has only been possible through the very hard work of the organizing team, our incredible partners and of course the commitment of our local and overseas entrants in these very difficult times. We will be following some very stringent safety protocols which has meant some changes in how we normally do things which we will be talking more about in the coming days."

In their nine Sol Rally Barbados outings together since 2008, Swann and Garrod have built up a good cv, the first top 10 finish coming in Sol RB10, when they won Group N (memorably also in Rally Jamaica the same year, the only crew to have done so). They have since finish second overall three times in their Impreza S12B, first to Roger Skeete’s similar car in 2014, then back-to-back behind Panton’s Ford Focus WRC in 2017 & ’18 before the arch-rivals and close friends both retired last year.
Of the build-up to this year’s delayed event, Swann says: “It’s been such a roller coaster, with the changing protocols and not knowing how early to travel to suit the quarantine rules for Barbados. So, last week it was all systems go: flights booked, entry submitted and a Covid test booked for this Friday, ready to fly next Monday. With many hotels still closed, we were able to have our property in Barbados inspected and passed for quarantine with the help of Blue Sky Luxury, our property management company and long term partner for Rally Barbados. So a big thanks to them, as it really will help us settle in more quickly.”

British contenders looking forward to new stages

Sol Rally Barbados 2020 will feature 19 timed special stages over two days in a heavily revised route visiting all but one of the island’s parishes and moving away from the tradition of Saturday stages in the north and Sunday’s in the south-east. The final schedule published today (October 14) details just under 100 kilometres of stages, including the longest test in recent memory – at 8.1 kilometres, Halton to Drax Hall will run three times on Saturday – and stage layouts that are either new or haven’t been used in nearly 20 years.
British front-runner Rob Swann is full of praise for the route: “It looks the Rally Club has made a great effort this year to mix things up a bit and make the event even more challenging. I am looking forward to the new rally route, particularly that long Drax Hall stage. We’ve always said it is so important to be right on your game straight out of the box . . . this year, that will be even more important. We’ll definitely need a good night’s sleep before heading in to that first thing on Saturday morning!”

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.

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Sol-RB20-29a: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Oct 14, 2020

Provisional entry list at October 14

+ some classifications may be subject to scrutineering

Key to nationalities (competitor from Barbados unless shown): ENG – England; GUY – Guyana; JAM – Jamaica; SCO – Scotland; T&T – Trinidad & Tobago; TCI – Turks & Caicos; USA – United States of America; WAL – Wales

Fraser Louden – SCO/Ashleigh Sidgwick (F) - SCO (EV Offshore Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Proto)
Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM (Rubis/Sandals/KIG Ford Fiesta WRC)
Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12B)
Rob Swann – ENG/Darren Garrod - WAL (Blue Sky Luxury/Marriott All-Inclusive Ford Fiesta WRC)

Ken Block - USA/Alex Gelsomino - USA (Ford Performance/Monster Energy/Hoonigan Racing Ford Fiesta Rally2)
David Coelho – T&T/Barry Ward (Subway/Motul Ford Fiesta R5)
Suleman Esuf/Asif Suleman (Express Imports/SY Adam & Son/Prosales/Y Esuf Auto Clinic Ford Fiesta R5)
Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (Esso/MaxMeyer Paints/Motormac/DJ’s Skoda Fabia R5)
Paul Horton - TCI/Matt Edwards - WAL (Java Island/HO2 Construction/Sky Motorsports Ford Fiesta R5)
Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (Terra Caribbean Ford Fiesta R5)
Stuart Maloney/Justin Maloney (Rock Hard Cement/Bushy Park Barbados Skoda Fabia R5)

Modified 4
George Sherman - USA/Anthony Sherman - USA (Tide Cleaners/Subway Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Mark Thompson/Kurt Seabra - GUY (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/Automotive Art Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)

Group N
Chris Surman - ENG/Zowie Boiston (F) - ENG (Warmstyle Motorsport/Top Performance Services/Ignition Motor Sport/Syvecs Subaru Impreza)

SuperModified 2
Derek Edwards/Damien Johnson (E-Travel/Executive Auto Center/D & A Air Conditioning/McQuay by Daikin/Arrow Construction BMW M3 Compact)
Brian Gill/Ryan Wood (BMW M3)
Andrew Jones/Lindsey Pilkington (F) – ENG (Herr’s Chips/AP Jones Pharmacy/Java Island Coffee/Southern Surf Beach Apartments/Weetabix Ford Escort MkII)
Adrian Linton/Dominic Linton (Ravensden/JAD Performance/Helping Hands Foundation Vauxhall Astra VXR)
Barry Mayers/Ben Norris - ENG (Chefette/Rubis/Quality Tyre/Sign Depot Ford Fiesta)
Kurt Thompson/Adam Straker (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio-Beauty/King Ocean Shipping Honda Civic)
Rhett Watson/Bradley Weekes (Chefette/Stihl/Gliptone/Gunk/Leafy Organics/Hankook Tyres/Bajan Pure Water/Power King Batteries BMW M3)

SuperModified 1
Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (Nassco/Jason Jones/Emtage Electric/Auto Solutions/Valvoline Toyota Starlet)
Ryan O Wood/Ria Walcott (F) (MB Auto City/Lucas Oil/BizNeeds/Shonny’s Kitchen Toyota Starlet)

Modified 3
Ahmed Esuf/Ryan Ali (Express Imports Inc/Y Esuf Auto Clinic/Prosales/Premier Diamonds BMW M3)
David St Hill/Ian Grimes (Tropical Touch/St Hill & Sons Garage BMW M3)

Modified 2
Gary Mendes/Shawn Brathwaite (G & G Sales & Service Inc/Lunatics Inc Toyota Corolla)

Modified 1
Edward Corbin/Johnathan Alleyne (Daihatsu Charmant)
Jermin Pope/tba (Glassesco/Good Time Snacks/NKM Clothing/CA Autobody Repairs/Industries Honda Civic)

Historic 2
Wayne Archer/Moishe Steinbok (Arrow Woodworking/Arrow Construction/D & A Air Conditioning/Archers Hall Design Center BMW 325)
John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Toyota Corolla)
Harold Morley - ENG/Terry Hamilton (F) – JAM (Spectrum X Porsche 911RS)

Historic 1
Simon Nutter – ENG/Fiona Udale (F) - ENG (Competition Supplies/Westgate Tyres & Exhaust/Scotty’s Cheap Car Hire/Coconut Court Beach Hotel/Udale’s Quality Meats Toyota Corolla)

Clubman 3
Kevin Armstrong/Damian Castillo Marshall (Armstrong Auto/Décor Divas BMW 325i)
Greg Cozier/Natasha Farnum (F) (Perkins & Son Barbados Rum/Tropical Shipping/Westlake Tyres/Barbados Port Inc BimmaCup Too)
Howard Paterson – ENG/Sean Kukula – ENG (Little Bristol Beach Bar/Paradise Surf School/Rallydrive Automotive Mazda RX-8)

Clubman 2
Jason Downey/Kristina Pinto (F) (BimmaCup)
Stuart Garcia/Rasheed Smith (Kirba Inc/Smith’s Engineering Works/GuavaTech BimmaCup)
Scott Knott - USA/Mark Knott - USA ( BimmaCup)
Nick Morley - ENG/Stephen Bell (Globank/Spectrum X BimmaCup)
Natya Soodeen/Justin Sisnett (BimmaCup)
Sacha Soodeen/Ron Greaves (BimmaCup)

Clubman 1
Fabien Clarke/Arlington Hoyte (Empire Building & Construction/Giovanni Exquisite Car Rentals/Bovell Auto Repair/RCR Tours/South 7 DJs Suzuki Ignis Sport)
Jason Tull/Hugo Greaves (Devon Star/Dominus PHD/Jay-T’s Auto Services/CA Autobody Repairs/Redline Performance Imports/CST Tyres Peugeot 106 Rallye S2)

Group B
Calvin Briggs/Paul Inniss (Ford Sierra)
Jonathan Still/Heath Hazell (Suga Apple Swimwear/Executive Auto Center BMW M3)

Sol-RB20-29b: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Oct 14, 2020

Special Stage Schedule

Times indicate Car 0 due

Saturday, October 31
1020 Start – Sol Charnocks
1040 SS1 – Halton to Drax Hall 1 (8.10km)
1120 SS2 – Dark Hole to Spring Vale 1 (4.60km)
1150 SS3 – Wilson Hill to Malvern 1 (4.00km)
1245 SS4 – Halton to Drax Hall 2 (8.10km)
1325 SS5 – Dark Hole to Spring Vale 2 (4.60km)
1355 SS6 – Wilson Hill to Malvern 2 (4.00km)

Lunch halt – Bushy Park Barbados

1535 SS7 – Halton to Drax Hall 3 (8.10km)
1615 SS8 – Dark Hole to Spring Vale 3 (4.60km)
1645 SS9 – Wilson Hill to Malvern 3 (4.00km)

Total stage distance, leg 1 - 50.10km

Sunday, November 1
0930 Restart – Greenland Agricultural Station
0945 SS10 – Bawdens to Rock Hall 1 (4.40km)
1005 SS11 – Mt Brevitor to Four Hills 1 (4.40km)
1030 SS12 – Lamberts to Mt Poyer 1 (6.80km)
1125 SS13 – Bawdens to Rock Hall 2 (4.40km)
1145 SS14 – Mt Brevitor to Four Hills 2 (4.40km)
1210 SS15 - Lamberts to Mt Poyer 2 (6.80km)

Lunch halt - Greenland Agricultural Station

1350 SS16 – Bawdens to Rock Hall 3 (4.40km)
1410 SS17 - Mt Brevitor to Four Hills 3 (4.40km)
1435 SS18 – Lamberts to Mt Poyer 3 (6.80km)
1600 SS19 – Dukes to Vaucluse Raceway (2.00km)

Total stage distance, leg 2 - 48.80km
Total overall stage distance - 98.90km

1800 (approx) - Prizegiving at Vaucluse Raceway