GEEST FREIGHTER SETS SAIL FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS
The Geest Line freighter Klipper Stream set sail from Portsmouth in the UK on Tuesday (April 22), carrying more than 30 rally cars heading or Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 29-31), which marks the 25th Anniversary of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event; it is due to dock at Bridgetown Port in just over a week.
The cars were loaded with help from a crew of repeat visitors and newcomers, to whom Rally Manager Jeanne Crawford said: “On behalf of the Club and competitors, thanks to Andrew and Melissa Costin-Hurley, his co-driver Stuart Andrews and partner Janice Smithson, Tim Marsh, Dick and Kathy Mauger, Paul Rees, Rob Swann and Worksop Car Club members Paul Leyhe, Hugh Peat, Nick Taylor and Stuart Tomlinson. They help give competitors, particularly newcomers, confidence that every care is taken of their car.”
The inventory includes four first-time crews from Scotland, whose cars travelled the 565 miles from just south of Aberdeen to Portsmouth with Allan Mackay’s Ford Anglia WRC aboard a 5 Star Deliveries transporter, which looked somewhat like an overgrown Subaru works rally car. Images were captured by truck enthusiasts and posted on Facebook pages including that of Scottish Hauliers.
Barry ‘Handsome Baz’ Groundwater, Fraser Louden, Donnie ‘The Ditch’ MacDonald and Peter Shaun Sinclair are the newcomers, encouraged to make the trip by Brian ‘The Sheriff’ Watson and co-driver Caroline Will, who enjoyed their debut on Sol RB14 so much that they went straight home to make plans.
All have been regulars in the Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), with Stonehaven’s Groundwater a former class and Group N Champion and regular year-end top five finisher in his Groundwater Lift Trucks/Steve Reid Autobody/AMS Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX; his co-driver will be Martin Forrest from Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, who has twice won SRC co-driver titles and finished second in 2013, with Quintin Milne.
Having finished fifth and second in class two years ago, Inverness resident MacDonald is currently fourth in the 2015 SRC, one place ahead of Groundwater, in his Culloden Car Sales/Topcar Inverness/ROMMS/DMC Performance Ltd Evo IX; his co-driver for the Caribbean trip is Ashleigh Will, younger sister of Caroline.
Fraser and Abi Louden will compete in their ALS Oil & Gas/MGS Logistics/Retro Restorations Evo IX, the first time he will have rallied it on tarmac; the father and daughter have enjoyed less frequent outings together, as former SRC class-winner (2006, Ford Puma 1600) Fraser spends much of his time living and working in Texas, in the United States, while Abi is a fourth-year law student at Aberdeen University.
Sinclair usually drives an Evo IX but will campaign a Ford Escort MkII, alongside Watson, who was unable to ready his new Mitsubishi Evo WRC in time. The Escorts have been re-liveried in positive and negative facsimiles of the Scottish Saltire and drew many admiring glances on their way south. Sinclair’s co-driver will be Ruaridh Allan.
Anniversary trip for Spencer helps put women in the limelight
Cheryl Spencer, with husband Barry as co-driver, is making her fourth trip to Barbados. On holiday in 2007, she had never driven a rally car but, a year later, they competed in Sol RB08, got married at The Boatyard, and embarked on a remarkable adventure . . . one which this year coincides with the island taking a closer look at female participation.
Cheryl says: “We are coming to Barbados all fresh, ready to go and very excited. On our first visit, I asked Mikey Hassell if I could park his Zero car, the Subaru, and he said ‘No, if you’re going to drive it, you’re driving it up the stage.’ My mouth dropped in shock . . . but I did it! That’s when Barry Gale said I should come out in 2008 to drive; we have never looked back, it has been just the best experience ever.”
Spencer’s entry means there are two women driving in Sol RB15, along with Shelly Taunt, who has rallied with considerable success in the UK for the past 20 years; Taunt’s regular co-driver Julie Murphy is one of a record 15 women co-drivers this year, including Shannon Kirton, who was the driving half (with Lisa Roett) of the first local all-female crew to contest the event, finishing three times.
Kirton, who is working with the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) to promote the Women in Motorsport initiative launched five years ago by world governing body, the FIA, says: “My vision is to have women involved from karting all the way to the top. The WiM committee’s aim is to provide an avenue of information and assistance to ladies who have always wanted to compete, or be involved in motor sport in another capacity, but didn’t know where to start.”
Spencer says: “We are lucky to have Dover Beach Hotel sponsor us this year, along with Waterfront Accident Repair, Mission Bodyshop, Central Park Bodyshop, Euro Car Parts, AB Autos, Airport Bodyshop, ABS Embroidery, Capricorn Canvas, Katz Auto Services and SRG Engineering.”