UK friends to reunite at Sol Rally Barbados 2022
Britain’s Howard Paterson, whose ninth-place finish in the 1991 International All-Stage Rally was the first overseas result in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, returns to Sol Rally Barbados this year marking his 50th year in competition. Once again Paterson and his wife Ruth will reunite with friends and former team-mates Sean Kukula and Simon Nutter, 15 years after they tackled the 10-day Caminos del Incas in Peru in a matching pair of Skoda Fabias. The Patersons finished 23rd overall in 2007, the first British crew to complete the event since Tony Fall won in 1969 in a Ford Escort, Ruth also the first female to finish in event’s 41-year history.
Since the 1983 Himalayan Rally, Paterson has contested more than 100 International rallies; his CV includes iconic events such as the London to Mexico, London to Sydney and the Safari, and he has won championship titles as both co-driver (1985 British GpB 1600) and driver (1999 Middle East F2, 2006 FIA Dubai RallySprint). Paterson will be competing in Barbados for the fifth time, his 1991 result coming in a Volkswagen Golf GTI, followed by two further finishes, in 2016 and ’18, in the ex-Incas Fabia.
His best result, with Kukula co-driving, came in Sol RB20, when they finished 15th overall, collecting the trophy for Highest-Placed Overseas Rwd and winning Clubman 3 in the Mazda RX-8 he will drive again this year, with wife Ruth co-driving. Nutter and his wife Fiona Udale also competed in Sol RB20, but not with the same degree of success; after the engine of their Toyota Corolla had been rebuilt by local engineer Peter Hinkson and his crew after a testing failure, they ran strongly early on, only for the engine to let go again on Saturday’s fifth stage, when they were running 25th overall.
In common with Paterson, Nutter is a former FIA Middle East F2 Rally Champion and has competed extensively over many years in cars ranging from a Ford Escort RS1700T to a Subaru Impreza. After a dnf in Sol RB16 in his Inca Fabia with son Robert as co-driver, he returned with the Corolla and daughter Sonia Dent on the notes two years later – 44th overall and fourth in Modified 1 – then in Sol RB20 with wife Fiona. For 2022, the Corolla is sponsored by Scotty’s Cheap Car Hire, the Coral Mist Beach Hotel and Udale Speciality Foods.
Kukula, who was co-driver to both Paterson and Nutter on occasions in their Middle East campaigns, also to Ruth Paterson on the two events she contested in the region, returns to Barbados for the third time with his Ford Escort MkII, known as Wilma. In Sol RB16, he finished 38th and second in Historic 2, but a catalogue of issues resulted in a dnf two years later. Plans to mark his 50th birthday on Sol RB20 were thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic, but his employers, the motor sport equipment & parts business Competition Supplies Limited have sponsored his entry this year as a belated 50th birthday present, which is a good fit as his co-driver and partner Emma Arthur also celebrates a significant birthday on the Friday of Sol RB22 weekend.