DOUBLE CHAMPION REES UP FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS
Dates confirmed for upcoming Rally Club events
Sol Rally Barbados regular Paul Rees has confirmed his participation in this year’s 30th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event fresh from his most successful season yet in UK rallying. Having won two regional championships outright, he and co-driver Paul Briggs celebrated the first of those last Saturday (January 26) at the East Midlands Association of Motor Clubs (EMAMC) Annual Awards Dinner, close to their home town of Mansfield.
In addition to the Overall Driver and Overall Co-driver trophies, they also collected the award for top Vauxhall in the 1600cc Astra in which they will contest Sol RB19. They have also achieved the double in the Association of North East Midlands Motor Clubs (ANEMMC) Championship, so will be heading for a second night of celebration in March.
Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed Flow King of the Hill at its new location of Stewarts Hill on Sunday, May 26; the event has evolved from small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.
Welsh by birth, Rees earned the nickname ‘Tourist Man’ on his early visits to Barbados, which began in 2003, when he finished fourth in Modified 5 in a Vauxhall Nova. An experienced senior official in the UK, he returned to work with the organising team over the next three years, meeting and marrying island motorsport stalwart Biddy Barber’s daughter Ali . . . so they also have an anniversary to celebrate at rally time.
Looking back on 2018, he said: “We had a cracking season. We won both championships outright in the Astra and had some class wins on individual events, too. We had some ups and downs, but it was an excellent year. We finished off with a class win at Blyton in late November, then a class win and eighth overall on the Rockingham Sunday Stages in December. As we seem to have it ‘right’ now, we’re bringing the 1600cc championship-winning car to Barbados, after a quick refresh.”
Briggs returns to Barbados as co-driver for the third time, having sat in the Astra on all of the car’s events in the UK for the past few years. The team’s entry will again be sponsored by the Coconut Court Beach Hotel in Barbados, which featured the Astra in its on-line Newsletter a few days ago. Rees said: “I stayed at Coconut Court on my first trip back in 2003, and have done so ever since. Co-driver Paul married Jane there in 2014 and our sponsorship arrangements started after that. We leave the logos on the car all year, so we play our part in marketing the hotel and the island at UK events.”
Since his 2003 debut, Rees has competed a further five times – every two years for the past decade; the first, as co-driver to Tom Roberts, ended just a few corners into stage one of Sol RB09, but his four times driving a Vauxhall Astra produced better results, a class win in 2013 and two third places, with last year’s overall finish, 32nd, his best.
Following his double title-winning year, Rees will be stepping back a little in 2019: “I’m planning a quiet season in the UK in the 2-litre car that was last used on Rally Barbados 2017 and has been in the garage since then; our first UK event will likely be Donington Stages in March. Then I’m Deputy Stage Commander on the first stage of the closed-road Corbeau Seat Rally Tendring and Clacton, which is just around the time the cars ship to Barbados – I’m expecting to bump in to quite a few Rally Barbados regulars over that weekend.”
Dates confirmed for upcoming Rally Club events
The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has confirmed the dates of three of its first three key events of 2019, following some changes beyond the control of its Committee of Management. The Shakedown Stages, the first of seven rounds of the BRC Driver’s and Class Championships, will be on Sunday, April 7, one week earlier than the date previously published on the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) calendar in December.
The Annual Awards, to celebrate the achievements of Club members in 2018, will be held at 6.30pm on Saturday, February 16 at Mahogany Ridge, Plum Tree Road, St Thomas, with the Prize-giving itself slated to start no later than 8.00pm. The Club’s Annual General Meeting will be held at 6.45pm on Thursday, February 28, at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Clubhouse, Searles, Christ Church.
Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.
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