TINSLEY JOINS SOL RALLY BARBADOS CELEBRATIONS – Upgrades under way for popular Ford Anglia WRC
Members of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) will not be the only ones celebrating when Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 30/31) marks the 25th Anniversary of the Club’s premier event. Having followed it for more than 10 years, British driver Marcus Tinsley will finally get to compete this year, a 30th birthday present to himself.
This is not telecommunications specialist Tinsley first time competing in Barbados, however, although he has changed sports: “I visited Barbados in 2000 on a cricket tour and loved the place, I just can’t wait to return!” Since that first visit to the island as a teenager, Tinsley has followed his father Kevin into special stage rallying.
Competing in Sol RB is a long-held ambition: “I’ve seen it advertised for years and first had dreams to do the event in 2003! I follow it every year on the internet and via social media, but I needed a proper excuse to come over and do it . . . and justify the expense. My 30th birthday seemed like the ideal excuse. And what a fantastic birthday present!”
Tinsley, who was born in England but currently lives and works in Scotland, will campaign a Peugeot 205 Rallye, backed by Tinsley Joiners, Rodgers Plant Hire and Taylor Signs in the BRC’s Modified 5 class; his co-driver will be James Crosland, another rallying in Barbados for the first time.
Having first navigated for his father in a Ford Sierra Cosworth a couple of years after his cricketing foray to the Caribbean, Tinsley’s first event as a driver was on his 18th birthday, at the wheel of a Sierra XR4x4. He has competed in nearly 40 events, as time has allowed, initially in two different Peugeot 106 Rallyes, before acquiring the 205, in which he has had two class wins and four other class podiums in 10 events, along with a year-end class win in the Association of Northern Car Club’s Tarmac Challenge in 2011.
Co-driver Crosland, a mechanical engineer from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, is a former marshal, who turned his hand to navigating in 2012, with considerable success: in 2013, he won the Association of North East Midlands Motor Club’s Navigators Championship, collecting the Tarmac, Gravel and Under-25s titles as well, winning three of the four again last year, along with the East Midland Association of Motor Club’s Navigators Championship. The crew will have a ‘shakedown’ at the end of February in the Jack Neal Memorial Stages, a single-venue event at Blyton in Lincolnshire.
Barbados Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “Marcus and James are just the sort of club competitors that we are keen to attract. They have learned about Sol Rally Barbados by seeing it on television and also through the internet coverage and social media, and have added it to their ‘bucket list’ of events they want to do. The fact that they are both still in their 20s is particularly encouraging, bearing in mind how many of our first-timers are so blown away by the event and the island that they come back again and again.”
Upgrades under way for popular Ford Anglia WRC
When Scotland’s Allan Mackay returns to Sol Rally Barbados for his sixth visit in 2015, along with Irish co-driver ‘Mad Mo’ Downey, the now-legendary Ford Anglia WRC – the acronym stands for Well-Run Car – will have had some upgrades. Never one to take his rallying too seriously, however, Mackay explains: “The car is getting a new launch/traction system and Mo will have the luxury of a wiper blade on his side!”
The Anglia’s flamboyant antics have won the hearts and minds of island fans, the fun delivered in double measure in 2013, when Mackay’s son Euan entered in the Anglia JWRC; having been forced to withdraw last year, Euan again posted an on-line entry for Sol RB15, this time in his Peugeot 106, but has once more been disappointed as work commitments will prevent his participation.
Mackay is entered in SuperModified 10, the class he and Downey won last year, also clocking their best overall finish, 26th. The Anglia will again run in the colours of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, which also sponsors Scotland’s iconic Tour of Mull, at which Mackay regularly appears as Zero Car . . . although all did not go well last year.
As Mackay recalls: “We had a rather senior moment, which resulted in the Anglia lying on its roof. But us older models are tough and, after straightening some steering bits, we were soon on the go again. At least Zero reads the same both ways up!”
As Mackay and Downey have not rallied together since Sol RB14, they are planning a couple of ‘shakedown’ events in Ireland, as Downey explains: “We’ll do the Bishopscourt Stages then, if all goes well, the Circuit Of Ireland at Easter, but that is only a few weeks before shipping, so we’ll have to behave! Although it is based out of Belfast, a few of the stages are on my back door, and we need to get back into the swing of things.”
Sol Rally Barbados and the King of the Hill shakedown event are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which was founded in 1957; Sol RB15 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and the eighth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.