Scottish crew Mike Curry and Kevin MacIver are the winners of the Rally to Barbados draw run in association with this year’s Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally (October 13-15) in the UK. The prize, supported by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, covers entry to Rally Barbados 2024 and the previous weekend’s King of the Hill, inclusive of return shipping for their historic Sunbeam Imp Sport from the UK to Barbados.
They were stunned when their names were read out to a huge cheer from fellow competitors at the Prizegiving in the island’s capital Tobermory, as they had already received awards for second in class and Best Presented Car. Curry says: “When the draw was announced as car 1 – 2 – 1, I went a bit faint and looked over to Kevin who was as shocked as me. I started my driving in an Imp in the 1980s in the lanes around Ripon and, if all goes to plan, will finish in an Imp in Barbados in 2024.”
Subject to final ratification by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), RB24, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show and King of the Hill (KotH), the final shakedown and seeding event, on May 25 and 26. RB24 is the 34th edition of the Rally Club’s premier event since the first International All-Stage Rally in 1990.
A giant boarding card was presented by Clerk of the Course Richard Crozier and Deputy CoC Sue Sanders, who has been a safety advisor to Rally Barbados in the past. The winner was determined by a random draw from all 2wd crews who had registered and were listed as official finishers; after the iconic island rally’s 17 special stages over three challenging days, 40 of the 117 starters had retired.
The event played host to RB24 Rally Director Neil Barnard, who said: “We had more than 70 crews sign up for the prize, which I admit was more than I expected. Our promotion really generated some interest in Barbados and the rally and we have had requests for event information since we returned home – not just from competitors, but from marshals as well!“
Curry, a retired planning enforcement officer from Dumfriesshire in south-western Scotland first rallied in 1983, initially in a Hillman Imp, having marshalled on road rallies and forest events in Yorkshire, including the RAC Rally, Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship. He has competed on the Mull Rally 10 times, first in 1986 in an Imp, then a fibre-glass Clan Crusader (a rear-engined sports car based on the Imp), a Peugeot 205GTi and, since 2021, the Sunbeam Imp Sport he will take to Barbados.
For nearly 20 years, he has also been a very active co-driver, particularly on events in Scotland and northern England; last year, he was British Historic Champion Cat 1 Co-Driver Champion, sitting in the legendary Bob Bean’s MkI Lotus Cortina.
Curry continued: “To say I was stunned when the wee Imp was drawn out of the hat for the Rally Barbados entry would be an understatement! I couldn’t believe that a lowly clubman running at the back of the field in the smallest capacity (and oldest) car on the event could possibly be going to grace the stages of Rally Barbados in 2024. We were so shocked we all retired to the Mishnish restaurant after the prizegiving to look on Google maps to establish where Barbados actually was!“
He found his current Imp in 2019. It had been in storage for 40 years but had been built from a new shell with all the desirable Chrysler Competition bits on it, including a 998cc engine supplied by former Tour of Mull winner Alan Conley.
Curry takes up the story: “The car was in a sorry state, so I stripped it, started again with a bare shell and a large pile of bits, which took nearly two years to complete on my own. To be awarded Best Presented Car on this year’s Mull Rally brought tears to my eyes as it more than made up for the hundreds of hours I have spent getting the car to where it is today.”
While Curry hadn’t intended to compete this year, with ever-increasing co-driving commitments, he decided to have one last drive and recruited Tobermory-born Kevin MacIver to co-drive, their first event together: “Little did I know that Kevin is not only a top bloke, has competed on Mull numerous times, but is a walking encyclopaedia of all things Mull. The event went well and the only two issues the service crew dealt with were to repair a map light that came loose and re-align a windscreen washer jet!”
MacIver, who lives in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, is Finance Director of Aberdeen Football Club. His first rally was the 1986 Tour of Mull, co-driving for his late father – by chance the same year Curry first tackled the event – since when he has competed on the island 21 times, as both driver and co-driver.