As the confirmed entry list for Sol Rally Barbados 2022 reaches 40 four weeks before entries close on April 22, British newcomer Lyndon Barton’s entry of a Ford Fiesta R5 brings to nine the number listed in the FIA R5 class, making it the best-subscribed classification so far. As the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) marks its 65th Anniversary, Sol RB22 is scheduled for the weekend of June 4 & 5, with King of the Hill on the previous Sunday (May 29).
While Cheshire Civil Engineer Barton has been to the island on holiday before, it will be the first visit for co-driver Simon Hunter, also from the north of England. While they have competed together since 2000 and both have a number of victories under their belts, they have never won an event together, their best finish being second.
The Kwiktrak/Speedline Corse/Pirelli UK/ALS Motor Group Fiesta, prepared by Alan Causey Autosport, is the latest in a long and varied line of rally cars campaigned by Barton, starting with a Vauxhall Nova he switched from rallycross to rallying in 1992. Since then, the list has included Ford Escort Cosworths - he finished second in the 1996 National Asphalt Championship in one of these - a clutch of MG Metro 6R4s, in one of which he had one of the most notorious accidents on YouTube, Subarus and MkI and MkII Ford Escorts.
Co-driver Hunter, who is comfortable on both sides of the car, started competing in 1998 in a Peugeot 205 GTi. He has been a Champion as both driver and co-driver, winning two National and two regional titles since 2005 and has achieved a number of outright wins. Of their forthcoming trip, with a group of 11 crew and family, he says: “We are coming this year, as Barbados has been on our bucket list for many years and after Covid we thought this was the year to make it happen!” And it’s a bust time for Hunter: just 10 days before flying to Barbados, he will drive his own Kwiktrak-backed S1400 Vauxhall Corsa on the Manx National Rally in the Isle of Man, then just 10 days after returning home he will compete in the same car on the Argyll Rally in Scotland.
The car itself is likely to get a good reception among its peers - in the hands of original owner Alex Laffey, the car was campaigned in the UK and Europe, including in the British Rally Championship, between 2014 and 2019, during which time he had eight co-drivers, five of whom have competed in Sol Rally Barbados, many more than once: Darren Garrod, Stuart Loudoun, Jack Morton, Andrew Roughead and Patrick Walsh, many of whom will be here again this year.

BMF launch ground-breaking National Championship

The 2022 R5 Rally Championship, presented by First Citizens, launched by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) on Monday (March 21) is the island’s first national motor sport championship, and Sol Rally Barbados and King of the Hill will be qualifying rounds. With a title sponsor new to motor sport, a calendar of events contested across a range of disciplines on a level playing field, and a parallel e-sports component to bring the digital and real motor sport worlds closer, the Federation believes it will act as a catalyst to further expand the sport in the island.
BMF Vice-President David Williams, who is also the R5 Rally Championship Manager, said: “This is the first National Championship in motor sport since the days when there was only one club, more than 40 years ago, and an important way to raise our game to help recover from the coronavirus pandemic and further unite our clubs. And it is even better news that we are welcoming a first-time sponsor to our sport.”
The Championship will include special stage rallies, speed events, drag racing and autocross; it will be administered by the BMF, which has appointed Be Media Group Inc as Promoter, while the e-sports element will be managed by Caribbean Sim Motorsport. The calendar has been structured to limit travel for overseas competitors, with four weekends hosting one event each day, then the usual consecutive weekends of King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados, with a Race Of Champions-style event to round off the season. At year-end, the winner will collect a $5,000 prize to donate to the Barbados charity he nominated on registration for the championship.

Sol Rally Barbados and King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates its 65th Anniversary in 2022; Sol RB22 marks the 15th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

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