Procter & Bird set to become part of rallying history in April

Kevin Procter heads a list of Sol Rally Barbados regulars who are set to make rallying history in April, when they compete in the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton, the first closed-road rally in mainland Britain to be run under new laws. Within six hours of entries opening on the event web site on February 11th, more than 100 were posted, with the maximum of 120 starters now oversubscribed.

Following new legislation last April, Britain’s governing body, the Motor Sports Association (MSA), can now issue a closed road permit to an organising club, with additional permissions required from the local authorities, in this instance Tendring District Council and Essex County Council in south-east England. Organised by the Chelmsford Motor Club, there will be three loops through five special stages on the Tendring Peninsula, for a total of 45 miles, with the event based on the Western Esplanade in the seaside town of Clacton.

Procter (Ford Fiesta), double Sol RB winner Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC08), Steve Perez (Lancia Stratos), Shelly Taunt (Subaru Impreza N10), Craig Salter (Ford Escort MkI), Steve Finch and Andrew Siddall (MkII Escorts) are all names familiar to Barbados fans, with a number of co-drivers also current or former island competitors, including Ireland’s Sean Hayde, who is entered as co-driver for Melvyn Evans (Impreza WRC S12B), one of Britain’s top tarmac specialists.

In a news story from Motorsport News (February 14), Jack Benyon, who visited Sol Rally Barbados in 2017, quotes Procter as saying: “There isn’t going to be loads of closed road rally events. It interests me because its different and it isn’t just going around a circuit. It’s going to be much more technical.”

Although he was offered a drive on the ground-breaking event, Rob Swann will not be there, as the April 22 date clashes with the Shakedown Stages in Barbados, where he will kick off his 2018 Barbados Rally Club Championship campaign.

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