SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2016 DATES ANNOUNCED: Record-breaking Sol RB15 “a resounding success”

Buoyed by the record-breaking world-wide response to this year’s 25th Anniversary of the first running of its International All-Stage Rally in 1990, the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has today (August 14) announced the dates for next year. Sol Rally Barbados 2016 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 3-5, with Scrutineering and King of the Hill the previous weekend, May 28/29. On-line entries will open on the official web site – www.rallybarbados.net – on October 1.

Sol RB16 Chairman Mark Hamilton said: "We have made representations to the island's governing body, the Barbados Motoring Federation, regarding the early release of our dates before the ratified BMF calendar is published, so we can give our many long-term supporters time to prepare. As we found this year, however, it is not only our return visitors that we need to consider.

Sol RB16 Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “We have made representations to the island’s governing body, the Barbados Motoring Federation, regarding the early release of our dates before the ratified BMF calendar is published, so we can give our many long-term supporters time to prepare. As we found this year, however, it is not only our return visitors that we need to consider.

“Even given the event’s recent history, the major surprise for Sol RB15 was a huge increase in interest from International crews, which helped make the event a resounding success. On-line entries had levelled out at around 40 up to 2014, but we had 57 International entries posted this year; notwithstanding the loss of some entrants to a variety of issues including budget, family illness and work commitments, we are delighted to see that Sol Rally Barbados remains on the ‘bucket lists‘ of so many competitors as a must-do event. From our perspective, it is a massive and well-deserved tribute to our volunteer marshals and officials, who help us stage an event which measures up to world-class standards.”

From small beginnings as the International All-Stage Rally in 1990, the BRC’s premier event has grown into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar; it contributes around Bds $4 million to the economy each year, much of it in foreign exchange, accounting for up to 4,000 visitor nights at a traditionally quiet time.

After the most competitive event in recent memory, Jamaica's Jeff Panton (Ford Focus WRC06) claimed his second win, leading an overseas lock-out of the Sol RB15 podium - only the second time since 1990 that there were no Bajans in the top three - as he beat double European Champion, Martinique's Simon Jean-Joseph, by 2.09 seconds, with the 2012 & '13 winner, former UK Rally Champion Paul Bird, third, both in Focus WRC08s.

After the most competitive event in recent memory, Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Ford Focus WRC06) claimed his second win, leading an overseas lock-out of the Sol RB15 podium – only the second time since 1990 that there were no Bajans in the top three – as he beat double European Champion, Martinique’s Simon Jean-Joseph, by 2.09 seconds, with the 2012 & ’13 winner, former UK Rally Champion Paul Bird, third, both in Focus WRC08s.

As the BRC celebrated the event’s 25th Anniversary in record-breaking style, huge crowds turned out, particularly at the Friday evening Start and Sunday SuperSpecial at Bushy Park Barbados in the south-eastern parish of St Philip and again at Saturday’s LIME/Banks/Automotive Art Party Stage at the Vaucluse Raceway in the central parish of St Thomas.

Among the records broken were the number of overseas crews entered (45, of 91 starters), individual overseas participants (89), first-time overseas participants (43), the longest journey by a competing crew (28,650kms round trip from New Zealand) and the largest group from a British rally club (30, from the Worksop & District Motor Club).

Combining the 2015 statistics with those of previous years, the event has now hosted more than 420 different overseas participants, who have travelled from nearly 30 countries. The biggest competitor base remains the UK and Ireland, but the event has also attracted competitors from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States, as well as mainland Europe.

Sol Rally Barbados is a two-day tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island's intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous Sunday's King of the Hill 'shakedown', run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly three-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.

Sol Rally Barbados is a two-day tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; the previous Sunday’s King of the Hill ‘shakedown‘, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly three-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.

Sol Rally Barbados and King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB16 marks the ninth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

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