ENTRIES OPEN FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2022
On-line entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2022 will open next Monday (January 3) on the official web site, rallybarbados.net. The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has confirmed that Sol RB22 is scheduled for the weekend of June 4 & 5, with King of the Hill on the previous Sunday (May 29), these dates subject to approval of the Club’s strategic plan for running the events in a Covid-safe environment if the pandemic continues.
Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes in recent months on an extensive plan to enable us to run the event in as safe and controlled a manner as possible, bearing in mind that the pandemic is still with us. We are preparing a plan in consultation with the Barbados Motoring Federation to submit to the Covid-19 Monitoring Unit detailing what we have developed for managing everything from the interaction between competitors and our volunteer officials to the necessary protocols for safety in designed spectator areas where required. It’s important to note that we manage a sport in which the competition element takes place outdoors and spectator attendance occurs in naturally ‘socially distanced’ environments.
“We have looked carefully at the route and have identified a number of areas we can modify to make some of these requirements easier to manage, but the importance of maintaining a challenging event for our competitors has not been forgotten. In fact, I think some of the changes we’re being forced to consider will add to that challenge and certainly appeal to our competitors, from home and overseas.
“It was great to see the Barbados Turf Club welcoming spectators back to the Garrison on Boxing Day under strict protocols and we have been in touch with organisers of other sporting events as we work on our own plans. As we move into 2022, we need to look forward positively, so now is the time to open entries and start to gauge what level of participation we can expect.”
The announcement comes as a number of regular UK competitors in the BRC’s blue riband event have been on holiday in the island, taking advantage of the ease in travel protocols on both sides of the Atlantic to renew friendships with local families which started over the years through their common interest in rallying. Those visiting in recent weeks have included co-driver Steve McNulty, on honeymoon with wife Derrie, Andrew and Melissa Costin-Hurley, who got engaged on a west coast catamaran outing back in 2003, and Chris Shooter with partner Bev LeGood, marking their second Christmas and New Year in the island.
Those who haven’t managed a holiday have been keeping their hand in with events back home; indeed McNulty managed both, fitting in one last rally for the year, sitting with Rob Swann in his recently-acquired Ford Fiesta Rally2 in the Mini Tempest Rushmoor Stages on Tuesday (December 28). After a spin on SS2 left them 19secs down, a late charge saw them finish second, 7secs off victory, sharing the stage wins equally with eventual winners Richard Weaver and Jonathan Barrett in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI.
Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 20 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Maintenance; the previous Sunday’s King of the Hill ‘shakedown’, run under a similar arrangement, features four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for the main event.