Sol committed to “further development” of sports tourism

For the third straight year, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados, has attracted a record entry. Between October and the closing date a week ago (May 14), 121 entries were posted on-line at the event’s official web site – www.rallybarbados.bb – of which 108 remain on the provisional entry list, published by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) during a media conference today (Monday).

Title sponsor since 2008, Sol hosted the function to coincide with the official opening of its re-branded Sol Redmans service station and the start of its ‘Rally Up’ promotion: fans can win rally gear or tickets to VIP Hospitality by visiting Sol’s island-wide outlets, or by buying the official Sol RB12 programme, available from Wednesday.

Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale told the assembled media: “Thanks mainly to incredible international media coverage of Sol Rally Barbados 2011, including television coverage on 30 networks around the world, including ESPN, we have had phenomenal interest shown towards the 2012 edition of our pride and joy.”

Among many record figures in this year’s statistics, 63 International drivers or co-drivers are entered, of whom 26 are new to the event, and to the island. Following the European ‘Rally to Barbados’ promotional campaign run in association with the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC), there has been a major upsurge of interest from Ireland, which accounts for six of the 12 first-time crews.

Gale continued: “As organisers, there is no sweeter payback for the support shown to us by the Barbados Tourism Authority, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and the TDC, than the ability to say ‘Sol Rally Barbados 2011 media reports and television coverage were accessible to 700 million people worldwide’.

“We are more than proud to play our part in promoting this beautiful rock in the Caribbean Sea, both as a tourism destination and as a place where local and International competitors can fight – equally – over the honour of victory in what has become the largest motor sport spectacle in the Caribbean.”

The region’s largest independent oil company, Sol was represented today by Barbados Country Manager, Ezra Prescod, who said: “Sol is pleased to have partnered with the BRC to grow the event over the past five years. We recognize the value it brings to the island’s sports-tourism product, particularly in these very difficult times, and are happy to contribute to its further development.”

Sol has expanded its support for motor sport with sponsorship of Roger ‘The Sheriff’ Skeete, 12 times the winner of the island’s premier event since 1990. Skeete is chasing a third hat-trick of wins – his previous record includes consecutive triumphs in 1990-92 and 2000-02 – and his recent victory in the Valvoline Shakedown Stages is a good omen.

In this season’s local events, overall wins have been shared equally between Skeete, 2003 and ’07 RB winner Paul ‘Surfer’ Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07) and Sean Gill (Suzuki SX4 WRC). From the wider Caribbean come Trinidad-based Jamaican John Powell (Impreza WRC S14), who had stage wins in Barbados for the first time in the Shakedown Stages, and Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Focus WRC06), the first overseas winner in Barbados in 1998. Add in former UK National Champions Paul Bird (Focus WRC08), Steve Perez (Focus WRC07) and Roger Duckworth (Impreza WRC) and anything might happen, while regular visitor Rob Swann could prove to be the dark horse in his UK-spec B13 Impreza.

Gale also confirmed the route for Sol RB12, which promises competitors and spectators alike an entertaining weekend; there are 22 special stages, 12 on Saturday, 10 on Sunday. While the venues in use are all familiar, the route-setters have gone to some trouble to introduce some new ‘tweaks’, which will create new challenges for competitors and something different for spectators.

Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) and Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill (June 3) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Climate Control, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Scotiabank and Stoute’s Car Rental

Web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com

Sol Rally Barbados 2012 at a Glance

New for 2012
+ Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill is the new title for the important ‘shakedown’ and seeding event the weekend before Sol RB12; it acknowledges a new Sol concept and the introduction of a new associate sponsor to the event
+ ‘Rally Central’, the workshop for overseas crews which do not already enjoy a working relationship with friends or businesses in the island, has moved to the former Motor Services premises in Fontabelle. As before, it will provide secure storage, access to knowledgeable local engineers, and vital infrastructure, particularly for first-timers
+ class trophies in Sol RB12 will only be awarded to crews who record an overall finish. The Barbados Rally Club ‘two-thirds’ rule will remain in place, however, for the calculation of Virgin Atlantic BRC Championship points, and local drivers will not ‘lose’ points to overseas visitors

Entries
+ 121 entries received on-line – there have been 13 withdrawals (7 Int, 3 Reg, 3 local)
+ 108 listed on the provisional entry list, a record for the event
+ 30 International crews, also a record (beating 29 in 2003)
+ drivers or co-drivers from 14 nations (including Barbados)
+ 63 International drivers or co-drivers (another record), 26 new to the event
+ 9 drivers or co-drivers from the wider Caribbean, 1 new to the event
+ 72 local crews, also a record (the largest number to start Sol RB is 63, in 2007 & ’09)
+ 12 female competitors, one driver, 11 co-drivers (including 6 Int, 3 new to the event)
+ cars from 21 manufacturers (another record), Ford the best-represented with 27, followed by Toyota (21), BMW, Mitsubishi and Subaru (10 each)

Rally schedule
+ 12 stages at three venues on Saturday, and 10 stages at two venues on Sunday
+ total stage distance – 122.60km
+ Sunday’s 10 stages total 69.00kms, the highest-ever day two percentage of the route
+ Sunday afternoon’s five stages total 35.40kms, the biggest ‘sting in the tail’ in the history of Rally Barbados
+ the compacted route saves between 12 & 15 per cent in transit time and distance compared with recent years

Provisional entry list at May 21

+ driver/co-driver (car) – listed alphabetically by class
+ some classifications subject to scrutineering
+ this list includes stand-by entries which will be incorporated into the final start list in accordance with the provisions of the ASRs

Key to nationalities (competitor from Barbados unless shown): ARG – Argentina; CDN – Canada; ENG – England; JAM – Jamaica; KEN – Kenya; NED – The Netherlands; NIR – Northern Ireland; RSA – South Africa; SCO – Scotland; TCI – Turks & Caicos Islands; TRI – Trinidad & Tobago; USA – United States of America; WAL – Wales

Modified 8-WRC
Paul Bird – ENG/Kirsty Riddick – SCO (Ford Focus WRC08)
Paul Bourne/Megan Bryant (Ford Focus WRC07)
Roger Duckworth – ENG/Aled Davies – WAL (Subaru Impreza WRC)
Sean Gill/Michael Cummins (Suzuki SX4 WRC)
Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (Toyota Corolla WRC)
Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM (Ford Focus WRC06)
Steve Perez – ENG/Paul Spooner – WAL (Ford Focus WRC07)
John Powell – TRI/Nicholas Telfer – TRI (Subaru Impreza WRC S14)
Dean Serrao/Josh Delmas (Subaru Impreza WRC S9)
Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia (Subaru Impreza WRC S12)
Rob Swann – ENG/Darren Garrod – WAL (Subaru Impreza)

Modified 8-A
Avinash Chatrani/Martin Goddard (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI)
Graeme Finlayson – SCO/Orville Bruce (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III)
Joe McQuillan – NIR/Neill Finlay – NIR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII)
Tom Roberts – ENG/Nicky Marriott – ENG (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI)
Rob Weir – ENG/Ross Weir – ENG (Subaru Impreza)

Production 4
Martin Donnelly – IRL/Colin Fitzgerald – IRL (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Mark Hamilton/Clive Howell (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Stuart Johnson – TRI/Lee Quesnel – TRI (Subaru Impreza N12)
Andrew Mallalieu/Aled Edwards – WAL (Subaru Impreza N10)
Geoff Noel/Kreigg Yearwood (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Terry Sealy/Rommel Coppin (Subaru Impreza N12)
Simon Wallis – ENG/Carolyn Pearce – ENG (Subaru Impreza N10)

Group B
Andrew Costin-Hurley – ENG/Shaun Mellett – ENG (Ford Puma)
Duane Johnson/Dwayne Forde (Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo)
Harold Morley – ENG/Mark Nelson – JAM (Porsche GT3)
Geoffrey Ullyett/Jason King (Datsun 200T)
Frans Verbaas – NED/Kees Hagman – NED (Mini Cooper S)

SuperModified 11
Martin Atwell/Chris King (BMW M3)
James Betts/Geoff Goddard (Renault Clio)
Devon Clarke/Dario Watson (Toyota Starlet)
Owen Cumberbatch/Kelly-Ann Sandiford (BMW M3)
Sammy Cumberbatch/Nicholas Yarde (BMW M3)
St Elmo Cumberbatch/Kevin Cumberbatch (BMW E36)
Ronan Curley – IRL/John McKinley – IRL (Ford Escort RS)
Brian Gill/Heath Hazell (BMW M3)
John Hardman – NIR/Sean Buckley – WAL (Ford Escort MkII)
Stan Hartling – TCI/Andy Proudfoot – CDN (Lotus Exige)
Paul Inniss/Calvin Briggs (Ford Escort MkII)
Andrew Jones/Kurt Ward (Ford Escort MkII)
Pierre Lashley/Kishen Holder (BMW 325i)
Stuart Maloney/Trevor Perkins (Peugeot 306 Maxi)
Graham Manning/Mick Squires – ENG (Ford Escort MkII)
Martin Stockdale – ENG/Mark Swallow – ENG (BMW M3 Compact)
Logan Watson/Rhett Watson (BMW M3)
Alex Whitehead/Brian Hurley (BMW 328i)
Nigel Worswick – ENG/Lindsey Pilkington – ENG (Ford Escort MkII)

SuperModified 10
Neil Armstrong/Barry Ward (Toyota Starlet)
Rommy Bamrah – KEN/Harvey Jutley – KEN (Ford Escort MkI)
Brett Clarke/Garry Clarke (Citroen C2 S1600)
Raymond Conlon – IRL/Darren McCague – IRL (Toyota Corolla)
Paul Horton – TCI/Kristian Yearwood (Ford Escort MkI)
Allan Mackay – SCO/Mo Downey – NIR (Ford Anglia WRC)
Conor McMeel – NIR/Sean Devlin – NIR (Ford Escort MkII)
Josh Read/Mark Jordan (Toyota Starlet)
Gary Thomas – WAL/Phil Ralphs – WAL (Ford Escort MkII)
Ian Warren/Robert Warren (Suzuki Swift)
Ralph White/Joe Troulan (Toyota Starlet)

SuperModified 9
Clifford Cox/Scott Bentham (Toyota Starlet)
Vishal Dhanraj – TRI/Scott Leonard – USA (Opel Corsa)
Carlos Edwards/Andre Waithe (Toyota Starlet)
Roger Mayers/Barry Mayers (WR Starlet)
Allan Maynard/Marcus Beck (Toyota Starlet)
Cliff Roett/Joshua Plaza (Toyota Starlet)
Matt Shinnors – IRL/Catherine Levis – IRL (Ford Escort MkII)
Winston Thompson/Fiona McDonald (Toyota Starlet)

Modified 7
Eric Allamby/Sean Corbin (Toyota Corolla)
Kyle Catwell/Norman Catwell (Volkswagen Golf GTI)
Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (Honda Civic)
Edward Corbin/Rodney Clarke (Toyota Corolla RunX)
John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Toyota Corolla)
Sean Field/Darnley Rayside (Peugeot 306 GTi6)
Freddie Gale/Kyle Proverbs (Toyota Corolla RunX)
Ron Greaves/Stuart Leach – ENG (Honda Civic Type-R)
Adrian Linton/Jonathan Linton (Vauxhall Astra SRi)
Jeremy Sisnett/Justin Sisnett (Ford Fiesta)
Miguel Toppin/Yakub Haveliwala (Peugeot 205)
Chris Ullyett/Derek Ince (Ford Escort RS2000)

Modified 6
Wayne Archer/Lucas Nicolao – ARG (Peugeot 206)
Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (Mitsubishi Mirage RS)
Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (Toyota Starlet)
Rhett D’Andrade/Tristan Gibbs (Daihatsu Charmant)
Jeremy Gonsalves/Chris Corbin (Opel Corsa)
Kenny Hall – SCO/Fenny Wesselink – NED (Ford Puma S1600)
Brendon McKenzie/Sean Collett (Toyota Corolla)
Shareef Walcott/Rashid Phillips (Toyota Corolla)
Danny Williams/Syltopher Mayers (Ford Fiesta)

Modified 5
Glenn Campbell – NIR/Jonathan MacDonald – NIR (Nissan Micra Kit Car)
Sean Cox/Adam Cox (Suzuki Swift Gti)
Stuart Deeley – ENG/Alistair Dodd – ENG (Nissan Micra)
Peter Gallagher – IRL/Rene Forde (Talbot Samba)
Rommell Martin/Alex Kellman (Toyota Starlet)

Production 2
Fabien Clarke/Arlington Hoyte (Suzuki Ignis Sport)
Martin Taylor – IRL/Eddie Taylor – IRL (Proton Satria)

Historic
Geoff Bell – RSA/Michael Worme (Ford Escort RS1800)
Ding Boston – ENG/Jon Pulliston – ENG (Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV)
Tim Pearcey – ENG/Neil Shanks – SCO (Ford Escort RS1800)
Andrew Siddall – ENG/Carl Williamson – WAL (Ford Escort MkI)

Clubman Historic
Greg Cozier/Jamie Marsh (Ford Escort MkII)
Stuart McChlery/Julian Goddard (Ford Escort MkI)
Nigel Reece/David Reece (Ford Escort MkI)
Andrew Skeete/Andrew Croney (Mitsubishi Lancer GSR)
Stuart White/Jason O’Neal (BMW 325)
Ryan Wood/Raymond Parris (Toyota Starlet)

Clubman
David Brewster/Neil Bullen (Peugeot 205GTi)
Jeremy Croney/Christian Sampson (Peugeot 206)
Umar Dyer/Richard Blenman (Peugeot 205 GTi)
Shannon Kirton/Lisa Roett (Datsun 120Y)

Photo: Roger Skeete in the Valvoline Shakedown Stages earlier this month, by Corey Reece

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