FRIDAY NIGHT START FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2014
Sol Rally Barbados, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, will enjoy a major refresh for 2014, as the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) marks the 25th running of its blue riband event. Crews will need to be on their toes from the start, as the weekend’s action kicks off with a new Friday night SuperSpecial, one of three Power Stages over the weekend.
Although the times and locations are not yet confirmed, these and other changes to the event’s structure are published in the Additional Supplementary Regulations (ASRs), to be posted on the official web site (www.rallybarbados.net) this weekend. Sol RB14, first run as the International All-Stage Rally in 1990, is scheduled for May 30-June 1, with Scotiabank King of the Hill and Simpson Motors Scrutineering the previous weekend (May 24/25).
Rally Director Neil Barnard explained: “Since the Ceremonial Start at Simpson Motors back in 2009, we have been looking for a way of starting the event on Friday evening. That experiment was met with mixed reactions, but one message came over loud and clear, from competitors and spectators alike – the one thing that was missing was action! Well, we can guarantee action this year, absolutely.”
Friday night’s opening stage will be the first of a total of 23, with 12 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday and the other two Power Stages rounding off each day’s action. As has been the case for the past two years, when Sunday’s last test was the Power Stage, bonus points in the BRC Driver’s and Class Championships will be awarded to the top three local crews in each Class.
BRC Competition Secretary Neil Corbin said: “We had been considering a number of ways of rewarding success over Sol Rally Barbados weekend over and above the existing points system, as it is the event that demands the most time and commitment from our competitors.
“Our thinking is this: on Friday night, the Power Stage will encourage persons to come out of the gates flying, as points will be at stake. On Saturday night, persons who may not have been doing well or had issues, will have the opportunity to push on the final stage to gain extra points, with the same intended outcome on Sunday.”
Other changes to the structure of the event include service and fuelling arrangements: the same central Service Park will be used on Saturday and Sunday, with two further designated service areas at the end of the first and second loops of stages; servicing and refuelling will only be permitted in these areas.
Barnard added: “We have made these changes for a number of reasons, particularly the importance of safety in the Service Parks. They will also help with the smooth running of the event and limit the amount of inconvenience to persons living close to the rally route, who might otherwise suddenly find themselves with a rally crew servicing at the end of their gap.”
Senior MSA officials return to the Caribbean
Senior personnel from the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the governing body of the sport in the UK, have again agreed to support the organisers in a number of specific areas. Sue Sanders, the MSA’s International Training Programme Manager, heads to the island for a third time - having assisted in last January’s Senior Official Training Programme run by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), she returned to prepare an detailed assessment of Sol RB13.
Formerly a Stage Commander, then Safety Officer, of Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Sanders will advise the BRC’s safety team on ways to enhance the existing systems, many of which had already impressed her. Emergency vehicles and manpower came in for particular praise in her report last year: “Excellent locations throughout the stages, very professional and enthusiastic team members”.
MSA Eligibility Scrutineer Geoff Doe returns to his role as Technical Advisor to the BRC’s scrutineering team, led by Adrian Linton, and focusing particularly on WRC and Group N cars. Nigel Drayton is also a returnee, having made two trips in connection with the BMF training; his UK credentials include membership of the permanent Stewards Panel of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, and he will join Chief Steward Warren Gollop and Harry Watkins on the Sol RB14 Stewards Panel.
Barnard concluded: “We are really pleased that Sue, Geoff and Nigel could fit us in to their busy schedules; they know something of island motor sport, and bring a wealth of international experience. As we have said before, they’re not trying to enforce WRC-type rules on our event, just guiding us in making the most of our local resources.”