SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2018 DATES ANNOUNCED
An unprecedented level of interest from both competitors and spectators has encouraged the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) to move earlier than ever before to announce the dates for the next edition of its premier event: Sol Rally Barbados 2018 will run from June 1 to 3, with Flow King of the Hill the previous Sunday (May 27), while on-line entries will open on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – on October 1, 2017.
Sol RB18 Chairman Mark Hamilton said: "Way before this year’s event had even started, we were seeing a regular flow of e-mails and social media posts asking about dates for 2018. The competitors were all newcomers, some with very special cars, but there has also been a very encouraging upturn in interest from spectators. As people need to make their plans early, confirming our dates makes sense for all, so we sought approval from the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) to move now.”
Following a successful pilot programme in 2017, tour specialists Rally Travel (www.rallytravel.com) will again market the BRC’s premier event to their loyal customer base of rally fans all over the world. Positive customer feedback - remarks such as “I’m hooked on Barbados” and “if you’re thinking of doing it, it was magic!” from this year’s visitors - prompted the UK company to include Sol RB for a second year as the only non-WRC offering in its calendar.
This year’s promotion included a major presence at Europe's largest motor sport show, Autosport International in England, supported by the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC). Rally Travel Managing Director David Hutchinson says: “Our agreement came very late so, by the time we were talking to potential customers at Autosport in January, many had already made their plans . . . but we did get an incredibly positive reaction. Sol Rally Barbados can, and should, become a 'must do' event on every motor sport fan's calendar and being able to confirm the dates so early means we can start work now. I am really looking forward to us opening up this market.”
From small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally in 1990, the BRC’s premier event has grown into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar; it contributes around Bds $4 million to the economy each year, much of it in foreign exchange, and accounts for more than 4,000 visitor nights at a traditionally quiet time.
The 79 overseas participants in Sol RB17, of whom 29 were new to the event, came from a record (for one year) 16 countries and there was also a record number of 18 female competitors. Adding the 2017 statistics to those of previous years, the event has now hosted approaching 500 overseas participants from 29 countries. The biggest competitor base remains the UK and Ireland, but competitors have come from as far afield as Australia, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr (Ford Focus WRC06) claimed a hat-trick of wins this year, and the fourth for Panton, the event’s first regional winner in 1998; he still has some way to go to catch island legend Roger Skeete, however, who has won 13 times. Sol RB17 saw only the fourth podium lock-out by overseas competitors in the event’s 28-year history, regular British visitors Rob Swann and Darren Garrod (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) equalling their best result in second, while Roger Duckworth and Alun Cook (Impreza S6) finished on the podium for the first time.
Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous Sunday’s Flow King of the Hill ‘shakedown’, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly three-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.
WRC-1 extension to end of 2018 confirmed
WRC-1 cars will remain eligible for overall position in Barbados Rally Club (BRC) events, including Sol RB18 and Flow KotH, until the end of 2018. An announcement from the BRC’s Committee of Management last year, which had proposed limiting these post-2003 cars to class awards from January 2018, has been revisited.
BRC and Sol RB Chairman Mark Hamilton explains: “Since coming to our decision last year on the eligibility of WRC-1 cars, we have continued to look at the ever-changing motor sport landscape, both at home and abroad, bearing in mind the solid support our premier event enjoys in Europe. While this announcement reflects a change in terms of time frame, we remain determined to develop the Club’s premier class, so this is very much a ‘work in progress’ that may result in changes in the future.”
Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB18 marks the 11th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the third by communications provider Flow.
PREVIOUS WINNERS 1990 to 2017
2017 Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM, Ford Focus WRC06, 1h 10m 26.41s
2016 Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM, Ford Focus WRC06, 1h 13m 59.55s
2015 Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM, Ford Focus WRC06, 1h 00m 59.71s
2014 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 1h 12m 24.12s
2013 Paul Bird - ENG/Aled Davies - WAL, Ford Focus WRC08, 1h 00m 31.75s
2012 Paul Bird - ENG/Kirsty Riddick – SCO, Ford Focus WRC08, 1h 02m 50.60s
2011 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 1h 05m 51.95s
2010 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 1h 01m 07.57s
2009 Kris Meeke - NIR/Paul Nagle - NIR, Subaru Impreza WRC S9, 55m 11.84s
2008 Kris Meeke - NIR/Paul Nagle - NIR, Toyota Corolla WRC, 1h 00m 00.06s
2007 Paul Bourne/Stuart Maloney, Subaru Impreza WRC S9, 57m 34.36s
2006 Gary Gregg - JAM/Hugh Hutchinson - JAM, Ford Focus WRC02, 51m 57.89s
2005 Roger Mayers/Max Ferri, Ford Focus WRC, 58m 46.99s
2004 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Ford Escort WRC, 1h 03m 04.48s
2003 Paul Bourne/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S6, 1h 21m 05.43s
International All-Stage Rally
2002 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Ford Escort WRC, 1h 16m 49.80s
2001 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Ford Escort Cosworth, 37m 53.21s
2000 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Ford Escort Cosworth, 43m 57s
1999 Trevor Manning/Michael Ward, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V, 1h 03m 14s
1998 Jeffrey Panton - JAM/John de Mercado - JAM, Toyota Celica GT4, 51m 15s
1997 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Peugeot 306 S16, 55m 55s
1996 Kenny McKinstry - NIR/Sean Gill, Ford Escort RS2000, 37m 02s
1995 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Peugeot 205GTi, 37m 04s
1994 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Peugeot 205GTi, 38m 55s
1993 Kenny McKinstry - NIR/Robbie Philpott - NIR, Subaru Legacy RS, 43m 24s
1992 Roger Skeete/Dave Crawford - ENG, Peugeot 205GTi, 24m 26s
1991 Roger Skeete/Roger Fields, Peugeot 205GTi, 15m 46s
1990 Roger Skeete/Charmaine Skeete, Peugeot 205GTi, 16m 08s
King of the Hill
2017 Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM, Ford Focus WRC06, 02m 46.45s
2016 Simon Jean-Joseph – FRA/Jack Boyere - FRA, Ford Focus WRC08, 02m 46.33s
Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM, Ford Focus WRC06, 02m 46.33s
2015 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 03m 01.54s
2014 Paul Bird - ENG/Aled Davies - WAL, Ford Focus WRC08, 01m 57.68s
2013 Neil Armstrong/Barry Ward, Suzuki SX4 WRC, 01m 16.73s
2012 Paul Bird - ENG/Kirsty Riddick – SCO, Ford Focus WRC08, 01m 49.18s
2011 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 01m 56.44s
2010 Paul Bourne/Stuart Maloney, Ford Focus WRC 07, 02m 00.16s
2009 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia, Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 01m 50.95s
2008 Paul Bourne/Stuart Maloney, Subaru Impreza WRC S9, 01m 13.02s
Key to nationalities (unless shown, competitor is from Barbados):
ENG - England; JAM - Jamaica; NIR - Northern Ireland; SCO - Scotland; WAL - Wales