Growth in competitor numbers, improvements in infrastructure

Describing 2019 as “an important year” for the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), Chairman Mark Hamilton reported a number of positives to the Annual General Meeting last night (Thursday). While citing growth in competitor numbers, upgrading of equipment prompted by revised vehicle regulations, improvements in infrastructure and satisfactory financial results, he also sounded a warning, however, that the Club and its membership “will need to continue working hard to maintain this in the coming years.”

Addressing the membership at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association (BCTSA) Clubhouse at Searles, Christ Church, Hamilton said: “The past year has been an important one for the club in several key areas. The Club embarked on potentially its most important investment ever, the acquisition of RallySafe Timing Equipment and its supporting infrastructure. Event planning and execution, safety and efficiency have all benefited in a major way and there can be no doubt that this was the correct move.

“Despite the on-going economic environment, the Club has seen growth in its membership, event entries and competitor participation, the latter by some 50 persons or 20 per cent more than the prior year. Quite remarkable really. This has obviously helped our financial position and, at the end of 2019, it remains solid, with our bills paid and cash in the bank. I anticipate we will see an improved result in the coming year, given that no significant investment similar to 2019 is planned.”

Hamilton also touched on the work of the discussion group formed in 2018 to look into the Club’s future Vehicle Regulations, the latest three-year cycle of which started in 2019: “While not perfect, I believe the process went a long way towards laying the correct foundation for the positive developments which we saw in 2019. The amendments, in particular those influencing the M4, R5 and WRC classes, have resulted in significant moves by competitors to upgrade their equipment. If known fact is mixed with a rumour or two, the Club will see no less than seven R5 cars in Barbados on a permanent basis this year.”

Support for the FIA R5 class is set to be even higher in Sol Rally Barbados, which is listed on the calendar for the FIA Regional Rally Championship for the NACAM zone (North America, Central America, the Caribbean and the north of South America) for the first time. Expanding on the topic, Hamilton said: “Our event will not change at all, but we will have some additional officials who will be dealing with the NACAM cars. This will also introduce a possible 12 additional cars, all of which will be FIA homologated R1, R3 or R5 cars. It is possible that our R5 class may see as many as five additional cars.”

Looking ahead, Hamilton confirmed two developments, first that the Club has received agreement in principle to a grant application to the world governing body, the FIA, to help fund future projects: “There is still much to be done, but the first barrier has been crossed and I am hopeful that we will benefit from these funds during 2020. It must be said that the Barbados Motoring Federation have been instrumental in this process, especially when working with their contacts within the grant programme that provided valuable assistance in the application process.”

In addition, the Club is about to start work on a project to preserve its archives for future generations. Hamilton said: “The Club possesses vast amounts of records dating back to the very early days. It is our intention to have the important components identified, categorised, copied electronically and finally added to the Club web site. I believe this is a worthwhile project and also our responsibility, as it will not only preserve the Club’s history, but also give the web site some added interest.”

Hamilton also paid tribute to “a stalwart of the Club” Freddie Gale, who died in January: “His impact behind the scenes is unknown to most of you, but I can assure you that it was significant. He will be missed not only for that, but for who he was as an individual.”

In conclusion, Hamilton said: I would like to thank the marshals body for their hard work and dedication once again, the members for their support and invaluable contribution, the print, broadcast and on-line media for their continued coverage and support of motor sport, Corporate Barbados for its continued confidence and investment in the Club and its activities, the Government of Barbados and its officers with whom we interact, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the various NGOs for their on-going support, the CoM and sub-committees for their continued hard work and all of those who quietly lend a hand without any acknowledgement or fuss.”

BRC CoM: Chairman, Mark Hamilton; Vice-Chairman, Neil Corbin; Treasurer, Jeanne Crawford; Competition Secretary, Kreigg Yearwood; Assistant Competition Secretary, Rhett Watson; Assistant Competition Secretary (MudDogs), Ricky Holder; Vehicle Classification Officer, Adrian Linton; Secretary, Jamal Brathwaite; Marshal Liaison Officer, Barry Mayers; Equipment Officer, Ben Norris; Public Relations Officer, Neil Barnard; Entertainment Secretary, Sean Gill

BRC Driver's & Class Championships; BRC 2wd & 4wd Championships: Round 1 – Apr 19, BRC Shakedown Stages; Round 2 – May 24, Flow King of the Hill; Rounds 3 & 4 – May 29-31, Sol Rally Barbados 2020; Rounds 5 & 6 – Oct 25, BRC Double-Header Sprint; Round 7 – Nov 21/22, BRC Winter Rally. Non-championship - Mar 28, Test Stage

Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship: Round 1 - Mar 15, March Safari; Round 2 - April 25, Chefette April Safari; Round 3 - Jun 27/28, Shelbury Construction June Safari; Round 4 - Sep 20, Super-S September Safari; Round 5 – Nov 14, Nassco November Safari

Woolf Sales Solutions/Ullyett’s Machine Shop Service BRC Autocross Championship: Round 1 - Feb 22 (run successfully); Round 2 – May 17; Round 3 – Jun 20; Round 4 - Aug 22; Round 5 - Nov 1. All at Bushy Park Barbados

For media information only. No regulatory value.

For further media information, robin@bradfax.com
Web sites: www.barbadosrallyclub.com, www.muddogsbarbados.com, www.rallybarbados.net



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