Britain’s Nigel Worswick and Lindsey Pilkington will contest Sol Rally Barbados slated for June 1 and 2 for the third time this year, determined to put to good use the lessons learned on their previous two visits.
Their entry in the Worswick Engineering Ford Escort Mark II brings to 16 the number of International crews confirmed for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international, with further announcements in the pipeline.
As part of the preparations for his tropical trip, Worswick has been in action on two notoriously demanding forest rallies in recent months, with Paula Swinscoe as co-driver.
Worswick stated: “We were out in forests covered in sheet ice on the Grizedale Stages in December. We finished 16th overall, winning the class and the ladies award, then just two weeks ago, we had a third in class on the Malcolm Wilson Rally.”
Having learned of Sol Rally Barbados from friends and seen the television coverage, Worswick nearly missed out on his first visit in 2011, when the Escort’s engine blew on a rally just nine days before the Geest Line freighter was due to sail from Portsmouth. After days of drama, with trouble sourcing parts, parts that didn’t fit, borrowing a WRC flywheel which required a lot of re-engineering, the car then refused to start.
Worswick recalled that scenario: “When it finally did, we put it on the rolling road and it promptly blew the clutch seal. We had to wait for a replacement until Tuesday morning; we got the gearbox back in, loaded it up and made the dock one hour before the deadline.”
Having finished 26th overall and fifth in SuperModified 10 in Sol Rally Barbados 2011, the Escort had an engine transplant last year, moving it up to SM11. For 2013, there is more going on, as Worswick explained.
“The car is now being re-prepared to take into account the lessons learned from last year, when we were on schedule for a decent top 20 finish when the throttle sensor failed. The car is shedding a few more kilos, with lighter door windows and carbon trims and carbon bumpers which, allied to a longer axle ratio for better top speed, will hopefully make the car a bit quicker. Other minor mods and a new colour scheme will be revealed in Barbados,” he said.
Worswick was a regular on Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship during the 1990s, missing out on a top 10 finish by just one second in 1996 in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4 x 4, having finished in the top seven on the last five of 26 special stages. (RB)