The route for Sol Rally Barbados 2023 (June 9-11) will return the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international to its traditional pre-pandemic format, with Saturday’s special stages run at venues in the northern parishes and Sunday’s in the east of the island. A new venue for the previous weekend’s ‘shakedown event’ King of the Hill (June 4) will be announced in the coming weeks by the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC), which just issued a reminder that the entry closing date is just five weeks away.
In dealing with the ever-changing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic during the past three years, the organisers had to make significant changes to the structure of their blue riband event. Sol RB20 ran much later in the year, in November, then Sol RB21 was postponed, while last year’s 32nd edition, which was planned while health protocols were still in place, was also affected.
With plans well-advanced for this year’s event, Rally Barbados Event Director Neil Barnard said: “We are delighted to report that we are returning to a traditional pre-pandemic rally format. This year’s rally will start with a single floodlit SuperSpecial stage on Friday night and finish on Sunday with a SuperSpecial stage at Bushy Park Barbados.
“On Saturday morning, the three-stage loop will begin with Dark Hole in St Andrew, which will be different to the stage we ran last year, then we’ll visit Four Hills to French Village in St Peter and finally Church Hill to Mount Poyer in the northmost parish of St Lucy. The Four Hills stage is a shortened version of what we have run in the past and has been configured to take into account the road conditions.
“Sunday’s route is very compact, kicking off with the classic Padmore to Three Houses test in St Philip, followed by Featherbed Lane to Ellesmere, which runs into St George and finally a return to the lengthy Sweet Vale to Malvern stage in St John. There are nine stages scheduled for Saturday, 10 for Sunday, including the Bushy Park SuperSpecial; the whole rally is scheduled to run in daylight, with the exception of the Friday night start.”
With just five weeks before entries close for this year’s event, on Friday, April 28, and a further five weeks before The Rally Show (Saturday, June 3), preparations are cranking up a few gears. Barnard concluded: “Our rally sub-committee has been hard at work for the last couple of weeks finalising the details of the route and the timings; we will publish that in full in the coming weeks. As for stage preparation, we monitor the route regularly and are already aware of some necessary road repairs, which will be carried out closer to the event itself.”