Sol Rally Barbados 2012 entries double up

Rallye Sunseeker, next month’s opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship, will be the focus of a major push for Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) and its island home. The organisers and tourism backers of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international will use the award-winning event for the third consecutive year as a key part of its overseas promotion, while stepping up the level of involvement.

Supported by the island’s private sector Tourism Development Corporation (TDC), the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) will reward the winners of Rallye Sunseeker National with free entry and shipping to Sol RB12, flights and accommodation for driver and co-driver, plus rental car, a prize valued at around US $8,500 (5,500 pounds).

In addition, the Barbados Tourism Authority’s (BTA) London office has this week signed an agreement to become a direct Marketing Partner of Rallye Sunseeker; key among a raft of value-added benefits is title sponsorship of an exciting new component of the event, a travel exhibition to run alongside Scrutineering, a first in UK rallying.

After 25 years as round one of the ANCRO National Rally Championship, Rallye Sunseeker became the opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship in 2011; it was voted ‘Rally of the Year’ by drivers, co-drivers and officials in only its first season in the UK’s leading championship. Based in the English south coast towns of Poole and Bournemouth, this year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 24/25.

The innovative ‘Rallye Sunseeker featuring the Barbados Holiday Show’ will be staged on Friday in the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), which won the Outstanding Customer Service of the Year category at the Bournemouth Tourism Awards 2011. Among the best-known venues in the south of England and only a few hundred yards from the Town Square, the BIC is a big draw for local people, who have turned out in large numbers for an ‘up-close-and-personal’ look at cars and drivers at previous out-of-town scrutineering venues.

Once this new event has attracted the Friday shopping crowd in Bournemouth, attention will turn to the Ceremonial Start on Poole Quay, where thousands more families will gather for a further three hours of rally-themed entertainment after sunset. On Saturday, Somerley Park will host the keynote spectator stage, with one run each in the morning and afternoon, with the popular Motorfair to maintain interest throughout the day. Barbados and Sol RB12 will also be well represented at these venues.

BTA vice-president, marketing & sales UK, Petra Roach said: “Sol Rally Barbados is a key element of our sports-tourism product; there is great synergy between it and Rallye Suneeker – both earn vital tourist income in ‘slower’ months, winter in the UK and summer in Barbados, both are organised by really professional teams, and both attract huge crowds, so I am delighted to take our relationship to the next stage.”

Event Director Rick Smith said: “Rallye Sunseeker has always been about innovation, so our plan to use the BIC as the venue for Scrutineering and Documentation was always on the wish list. Now that the Barbados Tourism Authority has continued – and increased – its support for 2012, we are pleased that the novel plan to link the two activities has culminated in a motor sport event allied to a holiday show.”

Sol Rally Barbados 2012 entries double up

Sixty entries for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international have now been posted on the official Sol Rally Barbados 2012 web site (www.rallybarbados.bb), almost double the total at the same time last year. Of those 60, 21 are from overseas, including the prize packages offered to the winners of the 2011 Roger Albert Clark Rally and 2012 Rallye Sunseeker National in the UK.

Sol RB12 Chairman Barry Gale said: “By this time last year, we had 32 entries – to be at a total nearly double that now is remarkable. What interests me is that there are nearly 40 local or regional crews who were entered last year, but are not yet on this year’s list. The ASRs explain in detail the order in which we accept entries, and the ratio of international, regional and local. What can I say, other than make sure you get your entry in fast!”

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.

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

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