The largest-ever group to visit Sol Rally Barbados from one motor club in the UK is making a celebratory trip this year. Led by legendary BMW driver Martin Stockdale, the ‘Workshop Warriors’ will field four cars in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 25th Anniversary event (May 29-31), with 30 family, friends and supporters making the trip.

President of the Workshop & District Motor Club, ‘Mad-dale’ makes his 15th consecutive appearance, a record among overseas competitors; he is joined by Hugh Peat, with Club Chairman Mike Sendall as co-driver, Stuart Tomlinson, whose co-driver Nick Taylor is on the committee, and Ray Clough, with co-driver yet to be confirmed. Taylor is marking his 50th birthday, while Clough and Stockdale chalk up the Big 6-0 this year.

BRC Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “This is a huge endorsement of the sports-tourism impetus behind our event and we are all looking forward to welcoming the Worksop Warriors and sharing in their celebrations.”

Stockdale, whose co-driver will be newcomer Stephen Ritchie, is building a new BMW 1M Coupe, sponsored by Drive-a-Matic, Divi Southwinds and Quarry Motors, having collected the shell from Custom Cages last weekend: “There are many hours of midnight oil to burn, but I keep telling myself failure is not an option! This is a fantastic turnout from Worksop and regulars and newbies are all looking forward to a great trip.”

Peat rallied in Barbados in 2003 and ’04 in a Ford Escort MkII, 29th overall and fifth in Open Modified in his first year the better result, before upgrading to an Escort Cosworth, finishing second (to Stockdale) in Group B in 2005. In the following years, he rallied a Nissan Sunny GTi, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI and, finally, a Subaru Impreza, in which he won two regional titles – the ANEMMC and EMAMC Championships – in the UK in 2008.

After a break from rallying, while he started a new business, WeMix Concrete, he returned to the sport last year. Peat says: “We came back with an ex-prodrive Subaru Impreza N11 and entered the same championships as in 2008 – we finished second and third overall, but it was a hard battle competing against the same guys six years later!

“So we have decided to compete in the rallies we want to do without the pressure of a championship . . . and Rally Barbados was top of that list! What better time to return than the 25th Anniversary – we can’t wait to be back to enjoy some fun in the sun!”

For Peat and wife Shirley, the event is also a family reunion with sons Mark and Stephen – they were 15 and 12 when they first visited the island in 2003, but both now live in Australia. “Barbados is a special place for us all,” added Peat, “with someone in the family visiting each year between 2003 and 2009, then 2012.”

Although he has never rallied in Barbados, Clough is also familiar with the island and the event, to which this will be his eighth visit. He is now returning to rallying, having first competed in the late 1970s, and says: “I’m 60 this year, so I thought I would treat myself, get the car out of the garage and use it for what it’s built for.”

The car is an International Historic Group 4 Escort MkI, with a 250bhp engine, backed by Saint-Gobain Weber, DBP Bradford, The Builders Center Sheffield, Yorkshire Fixings Otley, Encon Leeds and Minster Sheffield. Found in a fish and chip shop queue by Worksop member and regular Barbados visitor Julian Lockwood, it was built into a rally car by Clough, finished in 2007, since when: “it has sat in my garage looking pretty.”

The Worksop ‘newbies’ are Tomlinson and Taylor, who will campaign their Tomlinsons and Atlas Copco UK-supported Group 4 Escort MkII in Historics. The car is undergoing a bare shell rebuild, the blue livery familiar to British fans in recent years now replaced by Ford Racing Red, with an engine and gearbox overhaul all part of the package.

Originally built for Magard – famed for their sump guards – the Escort was acquired in 1993, since when Tomlinson and Taylor have contested more than 100 events. Now with a 240bhp 2.1-litre Cosworth engine, it has carried them to numerous class wins on local events, also the East Midlands Rally Championship title.

Taylor also has a World Rally Championship class win to his credit, having finished 50th overall on the 2001 Network Q RAC Rally and A5 winners in a Ford Ka with Rob Gill, the motoring editor of The Sun, at the time the UK’s highest-circulation daily paper.

  • Jaws of Life‘ donated to island motor sport

A collaboration between the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), two British safety experts and the organisers of Race Of Champions 2014 at Bushy Park has resulted in a valuable legacy for island motor sport – the gift of specialist ‘Jaws of Life’ equipment, which will be available to all BMF Member Clubs. Donated by the Emergency Mobile Medical Unit (EMMU), based in the English north-west county of Lancashire, the equipment was handed over in December by EMMU’s founder Stuart Westbrook, who also undertook training sessions on the island.

ROC’s Safety Officer Sue Sanders, a familiar face in island motor sport in the last two years, having advised on safety procedures for Sol RB, started the ball rolling on the project on a ROC site visit last September. The new equipment will be maintained and operated by members of the privately-funded Roving Response Team (RRT).

Sol Rally Barbados and LIME King of the Hill 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.

Sol Rally Barbados and LIME King of the Hill 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.

After the two half-day training sessions, Westbrook said: “The training went well and the RRT fellows were very enthusiastic. They had a lot of sound vehicle knowledge and related to the application of the hydraulic equipment and what could be achieved with it.”

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