REUNION FOR UK CREWS AND CARS AT SOL RALLY BARBADOS
Two British rally crews will cross the Atlantic this month to be reunited with cars they had spent many hours rebuilding in readiness for Sol Rally Barbados 2020. Despite the additional challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, returnees Simon Nutter and Chris Surman pressed on regardless to complete the work they had started early in the year to ensure they could make the trip.
Former FIA Middle East F2 Rally Champion Nutter and co-driver wife Fiona will run their Competition Supplies/Westgate Tyres & Exhaust/Scotty’s Cheap Car Hire/Coconut Court Beach Hotel/Udale’s Quality Meats Toyota Corolla in Historic 1, while Surman and his partner Zowie Boiston will compete in their Group N Warmstyle Motorsport/Top Performance Services/Ignition Motor Sport/Syvecs Subaru Impreza.
Following its postponement as a result of the pandemic, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event will now run over the weekend of October 31/November 1, with the Prizegiving on Sunday evening at the Vaucluse Raceway, where the 19th and final stage will end. The previous Saturday, Bushy Park will host Scrutineering, while Flow King of the Hill on the Sunday will return to Stewarts Hill.
Nutter’s last visit was two years ago, when he finished 44th overall and fourth in Modified 1 in Sol RB18 in the Corolla with daughter Sonia Dent co-driving, then returned for the Winter Rally with Fiona, finishing fourth in Historic 2, but with a sick engine.
He says: “What was meant to be a freshen up became a new engine from Paul Reid Motorsport, which I thought would be easy. I was wrong, as the new one is dry-sumped and on different throttles, so we had to change several things, including a complete re-wire and a rear oil tank! While we were at it, we freshened up the front suspension and exhaust system. We only managed to get it tuned a little over a week before shipping, then got the MoT so it was road legal, although I had to be extremely careful on the very wet roads, as the fresh engine does get the heartbeat climbing.”
Surman and his partner Zowie Boiston finished 45th overall in their Modified 4 Subaru Impreza on their Barbados rallying debut last year. Postponed from three years earlier, when pressure of work prevented them joining other members of Farnborough District Motor Club in a trip to pay tribute to Club stalwart Maurice May, they enjoyed it so much, that they were among the first overseas entries for Sol RB20.
Their original idea to bring two cars to the event and drive one each was abandoned, however, but Surman has still carried out a major rebuild of the Impreza he bought six years ago as clubman Group N car: “Over the years, we’d developed it with bigger brakes, adjustable suspension and bigger restrictor for the B13 class in the UK.
The plan was to put it back to Group N for Zowie to drive with a female co-driver, but we couldn’t find anyone this year. With everything else going with the pandemic, we decided to ship the car out anyway and see what happens, so I’ll be driving again – if I’m honest, I’m a very bad passenger; even in a normal car or work van, I have to drive or I get sick.”