Sol Rally Barbados which comes off on June 1 and the Scotiabank King of the Hill on May 26 offer local competitors in the Barbados Rally Club’s Virgin Atlantic-sponsored drivers’ and class championships three out of 10 chances for the year to score points.
So, there are competitors fighting for vital points throughout the 98-car field.
The 2012 Drivers’ Championship ended with an unprecedented four drivers tied on equal points, eventual champion Neil Corbin (Modified 6 Toyota Starlet) winning after a tie-break mechanism had been completed. The others included M7 winner Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic), who had finished just ahead of Corbin in Sol RB12, 13th and 14th overall.
Behind the overall two-wheel drive battle, there is a further tussle including these two, plus others from their classes and from SuperModified 9, in which Carlos Edwards (Starlet), second in SM9 to Roger and Barry Mayers last year, will face the older Starlets of Allan Maynard and Winston Thompson, plus Rhett D’Andrade’s Daihatsu Charmant.
While Clarke has dominated M7, it’s a big class of 15 entries: with former M6 Champ Jamal Brathwaite moving up in a Civic Type-R, veteran Norman Catwell (Volkswagen Golf GTI) on form, along with other experienced former class-winners Edward Corbin (Toyota Corolla RunX) and Jeremy Sisnett (Ford Fiesta ST), it’s hard to predict.
The overseas visitors can threaten, including Turks & Caicos representative Paul Horton (MkI Escort), England’s Andy Hawkins, with a Golf Mk4 built to mark his 10th Anniversary visit to Barbados, and Ireland’s noted giant-killer Tommy Doyle (Renault Clio R3).
Beyond Corbin’s rapid Starlet, M6 also includes the peugeots of Wayne Archer (206, and splendidly re-liveried) and Jason Cozier (205), who is not seen often, but is quick when he is, while others to watch for include Jeremy Gonsalves (Opel Corsa) and Irish visitors Danny O’Brien (Starlet) and Keith Power (Renault Clio).
The M5 entries sum up sports-tourism: local driver Sean Cox (Suzuki Swift Gti) faces Ulsterman John Hardman (Nissan Micra), co-driven by Trinidad’s Vishal Dhanraj, and Welshman Paul Rees (Vauxhall Astra), who went rallying in Barbados years ago and found a wife in Ali, daughter of island motor sport stalwart Biddy Barber. (RB)††