Floodlit stages at Bushy Park start BCIC RB24 on Friday

image courtesy Barbados Rally Club/Gerard Wilson, Two floodlit special stages at Bushy Park Barbados kick off BCIC RB24

There’s an exciting new experience in store for island rally fans tomorrow evening (Friday) as the record 102 cars entered for BCIC Rally Barbados (May 31-June 2) will contest two floodlit stages at Bushy Park in St Philip. Two-time winners Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew are top seeds for the 34th edition of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, which this year includes nearly 70 overseas drivers and co-drivers on the running order, which was published at last evening’s (Wednesday) Briefing Meeting at Savvy on the Bay, Bridgetown.
  Having won Rally Barbados in 2019 and ’22 in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12, Skeete added a second King of the Hill (KotH) victory to his cv last Sunday (May 26) and would now like to win both in the same year, a feat only once achieved by a Bajan driver, his father Roger who did the double in 2011, driving the same WRC class Subaru. But the pressure is on, with an entry not only big on quantity, but also long on quality.
  Starting at two are Stuart Maloney and Kristian Yearwood, who finished third last year behind Skeete and New Zealanders Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, who became the second overall winners from the FIA R5 class in their Hyundai, following the late Ken Block (Ford Fiesta Rally2, 2020). Winner of the first Barbados R5 title in 2022, Maloney has a new Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 and a burning desire to win the event as a driver, having triumphed as co-driver with the late Paul Bourne in 2007.
  Maloney’s brother Mark, who won the final R5 round last year, starts at three in a Fabia Rally2 evo with son Justin on the notes, with five-time Rally Barbados winner Jeff Panton at four in a similar car; the Jamaican, who was the first regional winner of in 1998, marks his 20th entry this year, a non-finisher only three times, in the top four a further seven times, and with long-term co-driver and friend Mike Fennell a vital asset.
  The top six is completed by local crew Josh Read and Mark Jordan (Fiesta R5), leaders of the renamed Barbados Rally2 Championship following KotH on Sunday, and the highest-placed European entry (for the second year in a row) England’s Kevin Procter in his WRC class Fiesta S2000T, with Welsh co-driver Patrick Walsh.
  With 25 cars in the 4wd classes, a total only once seen in the past 15 years, the highest-seeded two-wheel-drive car will start at number 11. Having become the first crew to win three back-to-back 2wd titles at KotH, Roger Mayers and Barry Ward lead the 2wd contenders in their Toyota WR Starlet. Back for his first full season for a while, Rhett Watson starts at 19, with new British co-driver Sam Perring in his BMW M3, and heads five cars from the SuperModified 2 class, which promise some lively competition as two more returnees, Daryl Clarke (Suzuki Swift RS) and Brian Gill (BMW M3), take on established front-runners Barry Mayers (Fiesta) and Andrew Jones (Ford Escort MkII).
  In addition to the battle for overall and 2wd supremacy, there are 12 contested classes, in nine of which island competitors will enjoy the challenge of pitting their skills against regional or international entries, or both.
  Tomorrow’s two 2.6-kilometre Bushy Park stages start a short distance outside the facility and finish under floodlights inside; between them, crews head off for a 5.9km run through Featherbed Lane in St John, but the action inside the venue will be virtually non-stop from 7.30pm as the first cars in SS3 will almost immediately follow the last in SS1.
  Saturday’s nine stages will be at high-speed venues in the south-east of the island, with three loops through Malvern, Automotive Art Kendal and Banks Padmore; on Sunday, the action moves to the more technical stages in the north, Dark Hole, Lamberts and Orange Hill, with the Rally Finish back at Bushy Park. The Final Stage will not be included in the results for BCIC RB24, but crews will have to start it to be considered overall finishers. Once complete, competitors will head for The Hill, where fans, service crews and volunteers will gather for the provisional podium and after-party.

BCIC Rally Barbados 2024 entry statistics:
• 102 crews on the final running order
• 68 overseas drivers and co-drivers
• 66 local entries
• a record 23 female competitors, two drivers, 21 co-drivers
• 25 cars in the 4wd classes, the highest since 2015
• cars from 16 manufacturers, BMW the best-represented with 33 models, followed by Ford (25), Toyota (10), Mitsubishi and Skoda (seven each)

BCIC Rally Barbados (May 31-June 2) is a tarmac rally with around 20 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Water Resources; the previous Sunday’s (May 26) First Citizens King of the Hill sprint, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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