Duckworth is 10th R5 entry for Rally Barbados

Duckworth is 10th R5 entry for Rally Barbados


Confirmation that former UK National Rally Champion, Britain’s Roger Duckworth, will enter Rally Barbados 2024 (May 31-June 2) brings to 10 the entries posted in the FIA R5 class, which has produced the overall winner in two of the last three editions of the event. Duckworth is one of four UK entries confirmed today, driving a range of Ford rally cars, which will comprise more than half of the shipment due early next month.

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 in 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.

This will be Duckworth’s third outing in the island in his Technia-supported Ford Fiesta R5, with co-driver Alun Cook returning for the first time since 2017 when they finished third overall and winners of WRC2 in the Subaru Impreza WRC S6; Duckworth’s best result came in RB19, when he finished second (with long-term co-driver and friend Mark Broomfield), then he added an eighth top 10 finish to his record last year, with only two DNFs, most recently an accident in the Fiesta in 2022.

The Fiesta was acquired that year to ensure he could participate in both the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) and Sol RB22 as the dates were too close to allow time to ship the Impreza back. A long-time supporter of the iconic British event, Duckworth won the FoS Forest Rally Stage ShootOut last year for the first time, having finished third then second the previous two years, and has also been active in the Fiesta.

He and Cook finished third in the closed-road Three Shires Stages in the British Midlands last September, much to Duckworth’s delight: “It was a very pleasant surprise to do so well, especially to beat a very old rival Melvyn Evans (who denied us a couple of Manx victories back in the day) and also to beat Rob Swann.” They entered the opening round of the British Rally Championship two weeks’ ago, the North West Stages, but their own issues (the Fiesta cutting out, then a puncture) were compounded by stages being cancelled, leaving no time to pull back up the order; they finished 20th.

While Duckworth is returning to compete for the 11th time, former Indy Car and Formula 1 engineer Andrew Costin-Hurley will clock up his 19th participation this year in his self-designed Clubman Motorsport/Earl’s Performance Hoses Ford Puma Evo, which was built from a Ford Motorsport shell originally intended for a works Puma 4wd rally programme. In his days working for Ilmor Engineering, he was known as ‘Horsepower Hurley’ as he kept squeezing more and more power out of the Indy engines (peaking at 925hp and 250mph).

Rob Brook is again his co-driver – they share three Group B class wins in the Puma – as Costin-Hurley looks forward to celebrating his 60th birthday, which falls during the time he will spend on the island with wife Melissa. He says: “I have clear and very fond memories of celebrating my 40th birthday at the Bushy Park RallySprint in 2004 – where did the intervening 20 years go?

One of at least 10 Ford Escorts entered this year will be the G Haigh & Sons/Tanfield Engineering Services MkII of Yorkshire farmer Graham Haigh, who will be reunited for his fifth visit with regular co-driver Kari Bates, who could not make the trip last year because of family commitments. Despite a comprehensive rebuild for the distinctive British Airways-liveried car during the week after King of the Hill after a detached oil pipe wrecked the engine, Haigh claimed his best overall result last year, 31st, with Jonathan Haynes standing in for absent co-driver Bates.

This year, Haynes switches seats after two previous visits to compete as a co-driver, having also finished 65th and third in Modified 2 in 2022 in Ian Coulson’s Ford Focus ST170. Now the owner of the Focus, Haynes achieved a number of class podium finishes last season but retired from the Dukeries Rally at Donington Park last month, intended as a shakedown, when the Haynes Car Sales Focus developed a misfire early on. A holiday visitor to Barbados more than 20 times, Haynes admits to an addiction “to the island and the friendly people who live and compete there.”

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