Rally fans can expect plenty of action this weekend when the Barbados Rally Club’s 2013 season kicks up a gear with the Valvoline Rally on Sunday.
A field of nearly 40 cars will tackle ten stages at two venues in the north of the island, while fans can mix with competitors at scrutineering tomorrow at Automotive Art, Welches.
Form man Paul Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07), winner of all three events on the island for the year, is seeded at number one in the running order revealed at last night’s briefing meeting at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association (BCTSA) Club House, Searles, Christ Church.
At two is last year’s winner Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) and three Neil Armstrong – he’s making his first appearance in a BRC Championship event this year in the Suzuki SX4 WRC – with top two-wheel-drive seed Josh Read at six in the Toyota Starlet.
Scrutineering at Automotive Art, Welches, will run from noon to 5 p.m.; arrival times for competitors are staggered, with the Clubman, Historic and Group B classes arriving first, and the four-wheel-drive classes scheduled to arrive no later than 3 p.m. Sunday’s start will be at the same venue at 9 a.m., with the first stage scheduled for 9:13 a.m. In the morning, there will be three runs of Hangman’s Hill, two of Dark Hole; in the afternoon, Dark Hole will run three times, Hangman’s Hill twice.
While many island fans are looking forward to another encounter between Bourne, Skeete and Armstrong, who is still learning about the SX4 with every stage, many eyes will be on the two-wheel-drive battle. Read has left all in his wake so far this year, with Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift) his closest challenger, but both will need to keep an eye for Roger Mayers, who has moved up a class in the WR Starlet, and is this weekend reunited with Max Ferri, co-driver when he won Rally Barbados 2005 in his Ford Focus.
And, while he may not be fighting for overall two-wheel drive honours, Trevor Manning will surely attract a lot of attention on his return to competition in the BMW M3, replacing the injured Logan Watson.
Greenland Agricultural Station, St Andrew, is the service park for the day, also the venue for the finish, slated for 5 p.m., followed by the prize-giving and post-event lime, starting at around 6 p.m. (RB)††