Scotland’s Stewart Morrison has taken over the prize entry to Rally Barbados 2024 (May 31-June 2) offered at the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally in the UK last October after the initial winner of the draw, Mike Curry, found he could not make the trip. Supported by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, the prize covers entry to RB24 and the previous weekend’s King of the Hill, inclusive of return shipping for Morrison’s Ford Escort MkII from the UK to Barbados.
With Irish co-driver Johnny Baird, Morrison finished ninth overall – the second consecutive top 10 finish on Mull for the driver in his 15th visit – and won Class 4 which, with 32 entries, represented more than one quarter of the 116-strong starters list. They led the class throughout, winning all 17 stages, beating their closest rivals Doug Weir and Daniel Forsyth, also in a MkII, by nearly seven minutes.
RB24 is the 34th edition of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event which has its roots in the International All-Stage Rally of 1990; since then, the event has grown in stature to become the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key component of the promotion of ‘Motorsport Island’. The Rally Show and King of the Hill (KotH), the final shakedown and seeding event, will be staged on May 25 and 26.
Morrison, a 37-year-old mechanic from Oban in the west of Scotland, already knew of Rally Barbados from his friend Allan MacKay, whose Anglia WRC was such a hit in the island. He said: “It was very much a bucket list event to tick off and the decision was made much easier after winning the prize at the Mull Rally.” Morrison’s name had been drawn as first reserve in case the winner could not make it.
He has been competing since 2005, almost always in this Escort. While he has no titles to his name, his record includes some class wins and podiums, also fourth overall and a class win on the 2022 Manx Rally. Morrison adds: “Fourth in class at the Donegal International last year was a high for me as it is such a high-profile event.”
Co-driver Baird (44), a University Administrator from Letterkenny in County Donegal, first competed in a Toyota Corolla in 1998. Since then, he has built an impressive cv with overall and class wins and podium finishes aplenty throughout Ireland; sitting with Wesley Patterson, he won back-to-back MkII Escort Challenge titles in 2014 and ’15.
With a 2-litre KGP Engineering Vauxhall engine pushing out 300bhp, Morrison’s Escort will run in the SuperModified 2 class, home to the island’s fastest two-wheel-drive cars. Nicknamed Baby B, it was built and prepared by Den Motorsport in Ireland, as Morrison explains: “The car was originally an ex-works RS1800, believed to have been a Roger Clark car but the ID was retained and the car has now changed into full Irish tarmac modern spec, so not much remains of the original 1979 car.”
Welcoming Morrison’s participation, RB24 Rally Director Neil Barnard said: “Naturally we are very sorry that Mike cannot attend our event this year, but we are delighted that our first reserve is a front-running Escort. I was fortunate to have seen Stewart in action on the Mull Rally last year and he is seriously quick.”