HONOUR AT STAKE IN SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2015: Philliskirk joins Barbados regulars on Red Kite Stages
Scotland’s Brian Watson and Caroline Will, who made their Caribbean rallying debut in 2014, enjoyed their first visit so much that they will be back for more when the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its first International All-Stage Rally at Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 29-31).
More than that, honour is at stake this year, as a bet was struck over a few bottles of event sponsor Banks beer between Watson, nicknamed ‘Sheriff‘ in Scottish rallying circles, and Ireland’s Joe McQuillan, as to which would beat the other in Sol RB15. Co-driver ‘Deputy’ Will told rallybarbados.net: “Sol Rally Barbados is well and truly engraved on our calendar for every year now – we had an absolute ball last year. The atmosphere was unbelievable and we made some great new friends that we have stayed in contact with.”
The wager was set in Barbados last year, and preparations are well in hand: Watson has commissioned a new car specifically for the task, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC, which is currently in build, as Will explained: “We sent the shell off a good few months ago, so it should be on the way home this week, then Wayne Sisson at AMS is putting the engine, gearbox and so on in. We hope the car will be built in time for a test run before it heads to Portsmouth, but we know we are running tight for time.”
County Antrim farmer McQuillan, aka ‘The Big Man’, is back for the fourth consecutive year, hoping to enjoy similar success to his first visit in 2012, when he finished 40th overall and third in Modified 8-A. A variety of mechanical issues have blighted his efforts since, but he is hoping that the current major rebuild will improve things.
His co-driver for the past two years, partner Annette Daly, is stepping aside for this year’s high-pressure event, in favour of Scottish co-driver Sean Donnelly, a good friend of Watson’s, who has competed against him in the Scottish Rally Championship. Daly said: “I’m handing over my seat to Sean this year, as he never got to go racing last year. There may be a fight for the top three overall in Rally Barbados, but Joe and Brian are travelling 5000 miles just to race each other – watch this space, this is a year in the making!“
Both camps are taking this wager seriously although, as Daly added: “They couldn’t care less about the money, it’s all about the winning.” McQuillan’s Masserene Park Farms Lancer has been off the road since last year, undergoing another major reconstruction, which will transform it from an Evo VII into an Evo IX.
Philliskirk joins Barbados regulars on Red Kite Stages
Warren Philliskirk, whose entry for Sol Rally Barbados 2015 was confirmed three weeks ago, is among a number of drivers with island connections in action on Sunday (February 1), when the Red Kite Stages kick-starts the Historic season in the UK.
Based in Llandovery, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales, the Red Kite is the opening round of both the Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship and the West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Championship; with an entry of more than 100 crews, it promises a spectacular start to the 2015 calendar.
Former BTRDA Champion Philliskirk’s co-driver in his Ford Escort RS1800 will be Nigel Hutchinson, who sat with ‘Grum’ Willcock in the island in 2004, while Escorts will also be campaigned by Rupert Lomax and Phil Squires.
Lomax is still talked about for his remarkable ‘save’ on the Canefield stage of Sol RB14, when he powered his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI out of a ditch, while Squires will be partnered by his brother Mick, who has co-driven in Barbados for Andrew Jones, Graham Manning and Geoff Ullyett over the past three years.