Island motor sport celebrates record season

Popular British ace Martin Stockdale heads the list of returning international drivers whose names are among more than 40 entries so far received via the event’s official web site – – for the 2012 running of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, Sol Rally Barbados (June 9/10).

Nicknamed ‘Mad-dale’ by island fans for his flamboyant driving style in a string of BMWs, Stockdale will be making his 12th consecutive appearance in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event; his co-driver in the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort/Drive-a-Matic Car Rentals/Quarry Motors BMW M3 Compact will be Mark Swallow, who will be competing in the island for the eighth time.

Three times a class-winner in the past decade, Stockdale is entered in the hotly-contested SuperModified 11 class, in which he finished fourth in 2011 and 18th overall. His opposition will include another returning crew from Britain, Nigel Worswick and Lindsey Pilkington, who finished 26th overall and fifth in SM10 on their first visit to the island last year. For 2012, the Worswick Engineering Ford Escort MkII has received an engine transplant, moving it up a class.

The rallying careers of both Stockdale and Worswick date back many years, both of them having entered – and finished – Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship more than once during the 1990s. At the time, Stockdale drove an Opel Monza-engined Vauxhall Carlton, unique in British rallying, while Worswick was more conventional, missing out on a top 10 finish by just one second in 1996 in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4 x 4, having finished in the top seven on the last five of 26 special stages.

Back for his ninth visit is Britain’s Andrew Costin-Hurley, who will again contest Group B in the Earl’s Performance Hoses Ford Puma, in which he won the class in Rally Barbados in 2007 & ’08, and in Shell V-Power King of the Hill in ’09; fellow-Brit Shaun Mellett returns for his third visit as co-driver since 2009, when he came to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. An experienced Indy car and F1 engineer, Costin-Hurley created the Puma himself with 300bhp 2-litre turbo, rear-wheel drive, Sierra running gear and Escort WRC suspension.

Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome our repeat visitors, and ‘Mad-dale’ is right there at the top of the list, as he hasn’t missed a year since his first visit in 2001. Not only has he been one of the most entertaining to watch, as our fans really do enjoy a sideways BMW, but he’s also been very competitive, taking a trophy back on the plane with him nearly every time.”

Island motor sport celebrates record season

Motor sport in Barbados is in good health, and making a growing contribution to the island’s sports-tourism product. Last year, for the first time since the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) was established in 2000, more than 400 local competitors took part in BMF-sanctioned events, a total boosted to nearly 500 by a record number of overseas competitors, bringing with them worldwide publicity and valuable foreign exchange.

Affiliated to the FIA, which rules the sport worldwide, the BMF is the island’s governing body for motor sport; it also represents the interests of its six sporting member clubs in discussions with Government departments which facilitate the sport in the island, in particular the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Announcing the provisional calendar for 2012, which ratified the already-published dates for Sol RB12 and its associated events, BMF President Andrew Mallalieu noted: “Despite the prevailing financial climate, interest in motor sport from participants and spectators alike continues to rise. For the last two years, Barbados has hosted three International motor sport events, which not only help motor sport make an important contribution to the island’s economy, much of it in valuable foreign exchange, but are also the key to massively-increased worldwide television coverage.”

The BMF issued 415 competition licenses, nearly three times the total issued in 2011 by Jamaica’s governing body, the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC), and more than twice the number issued by the BMF in 2006. The record total of 85 overseas competitors – the previous highest was 81 in 2007 – included 25 from the wider Caribbean and 60 from 12 more countries as far afield as Australia and South Africa.

Sol Rally Barbados and Shell V-Power King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB12 is the 23rd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the fifth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

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