MAKING A POINT AT SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2015

As competitors in the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Driver’s and Class Championships prepare for the two most important weekends of the year – LIME King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados 2015 – Reigning Champion Rhett Watson has picked up where he left off last year, leading the standings by two points from Wayne Archer, with Justin Campbell, Jeremy Croney and Paul Horton tied for third, three further points behind.

As the BRC celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its premier event, the two weekends offer crucial points-scoring opportunities; at LIME KotH (May 24), the speed event scale gives 15 points for a class win, while each full day of Sol RB15 (May 30/31) is a separate Championship round, with 20 points up for grabs for a class win, potential 55 points over the two weekends. With more than 50 local entries, a major shake-up is likely.

As the BRC celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its premier event, the two weekends offer crucial points-scoring opportunities; at LIME KotH (May 24), the speed event scale gives 15 points for a class win, while each full day of Sol RB15 (May 30/31) is a separate Championship round, with 20 points up for grabs for a class win, potential 55 points over the two weekends. With more than 50 local entries, a major shake-up is likely.

With two of the eight rounds run, SuperModified 12 class-leader Watson (BMW M3) has a perfect record, with two class wins and the maximum possible 35 points; he is helped by competing in one of the more popular classes, as the points scale is reduced if there are fewer than three starters, which has affected Archer (Historic BMW 325), who has also accrued two class wins, but against reduced competition in the opening round.

Campbell (M3) has twice finished second to Watson in SM12, while Croney (Clubman Peugeot 206XS) is another to have achieved two wins, but once with a depleted class; Horton, who travels from the Turks & Caicos Islands to contest Modified 7 in his Ford Escort MkI, has twice finished second.

Horton is not alone in inter-island travel: the WRC-1 and 4wd standings are both led by Trinidad’s John Powell (Ford Focus WRC08), with Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Focus WRC08) second in the class and WRC-2 class-leader Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC) second in 4wd. Andrew Mallalieu (Subaru Impreza N10) is third in 4wd and leads Group N from Trinidad’s David Coelho (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), another regular at BRC events.

In the 2wd title chase, Watson has a five-point advantage over Campbell, who is tied in second place with SM11 points-leader Andrew Jones (Escort MkII), with Barry Mayers (WR Starlet) fourth after his 2wd victory in the Shakedown Stages.

Mixed Manx fortunes for Caribbean-bound competitors

Mixed Manx fortunes for Caribbean-bound competitors

British drivers and co-drivers who will soon be heading to the Caribbean for Sol Rally Barbados 2015 enjoyed mixed fortunes in the IMGold Manx National Rally at the weekend (May 8/9), with the biggest disappointment suffered by double Sol RB winner Paul Bird – he retired, while leading, for the second year in a row.

With co driver Aled Davies in his Ford Focus WRC08, ‘Birdy’ looked set to add to his wins of 2009, 2010 and 2013 after he followed five out of six stage wins in dreadful conditions on Friday night with three more on Saturday’s opening four stages.

(FILE IMAGE) Holding a lead of over 90 seconds, he had a puncture at the start of the 16.21-mile Cringle stage: by the time he could stop safely and assess the situation, the time lost meant his hopes of victory were dashed, so he retired on the spot: "It's a bitter pill to have to swallow here again but, as they say, that's rallying. There was no point in risking the car further, I wanted to save the mileage as it's going to Barbados this week."

(FILE IMAGE) Holding a lead of over 90 seconds, he had a puncture at the start of the 16.21-mile Cringle stage: by the time he could stop safely and assess the situation, the time lost meant his hopes of victory were dashed, so he retired on the spot: “It’s a bitter pill to have to swallow here again but, as they say, that’s rallying. There was no point in risking the car further, I wanted to save the mileage as it’s going to Barbados this week.”

On the bright side, there was a class win for Aled Edwards, who will co-drive for Sol RB14 runner-up Rob Swann this year in the absence of regular partner, Darren Garrod; in the Manx, Edwards finished 13th overall and won class B12 in a Citroen DS3 with Andrew Hockridge. Simon Mauger, whose Major Motorsport Ford Escort MkII is already in Barbados, finished seventh on the Isle of Man in his Metro 6R4/4M4, retaining his lead in the REIS National Asphalt Rally Championship.

Sol Rally Barbados (May 29-31) and LIME King of the Hill (May 24) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; title sponsors are the Sol Group and LIME. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, Automotive Art and Banks; official partners are Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Port Inc, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, the Tourism Development Corporation and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, 104 The Beat, Redline Fuels, Stoute's Car Rental, Up Beat Wholesale and West Indies Rum Distillery.

Sol Rally Barbados (May 29-31) and LIME King of the Hill (May 24) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; title sponsors are the Sol Group and LIME. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, Automotive Art and Banks; official partners are Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Port Inc, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, the Tourism Development Corporation and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, 104 The Beat, Redline Fuels, Stoute’s Car Rental, Up Beat Wholesale and West Indies Rum Distillery.

Less fortunate was Steve McNulty, who will co-drive for Mauger’s father, Dick – the Proton Satria he was co-driving for Alan Oldfield ended up stuck on a bank, while other casualties included Nigel Worswick, whose Ford Escort WRC retired mid-way through Saturday, and Ashley Trimble (he will co-drive in Sol RB15 for Oliver Hopkins), who sat with Bob Fowden until his B13 Subaru Impreza’s gearbox gave up on Friday evening.

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