Ireland’s Maurice Moffett is captured in this Gerrard Wilson image during Sol Rally Barbados 2013 tackling the Dark Hole stage, which is set to return this year

Three-way tie for Rally Club Championship lead

Preparations for Sol Rally Barbados 2021 have changed up a gear, with confirmation of plans to return to the popular Dark Hole stage in the north of the island and a new venue for King of the Hill on the previous Sunday, although that location remains under wraps. With the event already moved from June to the new date of September 25/26 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) continues to work with Government bodies within the framework of the existing Covid-19 restrictions to seek to ensure the 32nd running of its premier event can go ahead as planned.
  Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “We have stepped up our work on the route and are about half-way to having it finalised. It will be a two-day event again, with a similar format to last year, in that both days will be spread across the island, rather than concentrating in the north or in the east. I think it will be 19, possibly 20 stages, some will be the same, some new and at least one reversed, but we’re working towards slightly more stage mileage than last year.
  “King of the Hill worked very well at Stewarts Hill for the last two years, but we know that there are many drivers who don’t find it as challenging as some of the venues in the past. We have looked at a number of other options and our preferred choice would be a stage configuration that has not been used before . . . and we think we have found one.”
  After the inaugural King of the Hill in 2008 at Turners Hall in St Andrew, the event moved venues annually, first to Stewarts Hill in St Philip, then Sailor Gully in St Peter, before finding a more permanent home on Hangmans Hill in St Thomas. Apart from 2013, when the event moved to Luke Hill in St Lucy, Hangmans Hill was used seven times between 2011 to 2018, also taking in various configurations of the Vaucluse Raceway in the later years. In 2019, King of the Hill switched back across the island to Stewarts Hill.
  The major programme of improvement and rehabilitation across the island’s road network undertaken by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Maintenance over the past months has allowed the BRC’s route-setters to consider not only returning to popular stage venues of the past – Dark Hole is the most high-profile of these – but also to look at using some new stretches of road. Barnard added: “While the Ministry’s work has improved life for residents, particularly in some rural areas, it has also been good news for rallying, as we will be able to seek permission to use some of these repaved roads. Overall, however, you can still expect fairly bumpy stages like those we have become accustomed to.”

Three-way tie for Rally Club Championship lead

Chris Hoad, Stuart Maloney and Josh Read are joint leaders of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Champion Driver title chase following the Double-Header Sprint at Bushy Park on June 4, which kicked off the second season to be delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Read also leads the 2wd Championship, while Dane Skeete heads the 4wd standings.
  Although Maloney’s nephew Zane won the event in both directions, neither he nor Mark Maloney, who finished fourth and seventh, were registered for championship points. That gave Stuart maximum points on the debut of his new Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo in the FIA R5 class, which had attracted a record entry of seven and was one of only three fully-subscribed classes. Driving his familiar Toyota Starlet, Read won SuperModified 2 and 2wd overall in both directions, while Hoad did the same in his Clubman 2 BimmaCup.
  Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) finished behind Zane and Stuart Maloney in the first direction – just two-tenths covered the top three – then second to Zane in the reverse, giving him a two-point lead over Stuart in the 4wd points. With fourth and third overall, Jamaica’s Jeff Panton sits another two points adrift in his Ford Fiesta WRC, with Adam Mallalieu, who made an impressive debut in his father Andrew’s Fiesta R5, in fourth place. The 17-year-old former karting Champion is also second to Maloney in the FIA R5 class and five points ahead of the reigning Champion Roger Hill (Fabia R5).
  After those first two rounds, the 2wd Championship reflects the SuperModified 2 top three precisely, Read with 30 points followed by Barry Mayers (Fiesta) and Andrew Jones (Ford Escort MkII) on 26 and 22 respectively. Fourth is Reigning Champion Driver Neil Corbin (Starlet), who leads SM1, with the lone runner in Modified 2 Jamal Brathwaite (Honda Civic Type-R) fifth and Suleman Esuf in sixth place, following the successful debut of his family team’s SM2 BMW 1M.

Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 20 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads; the results of King of the Hill - four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage – are used to seed the running order for the main event. Both events are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which will celebrate its 65th Anniversary in 2022; Sol RB21 marks the 14th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group.

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