The Barbados Rally Club’s 2014 season kicks up a gear this Sunday with the Valvoline Rally.
The entry list for the second round of the BRC Driver’s And Class Championships includes most of the island’s key players, with a good spread of entries across the most popular classes, plus some unusual driver/co-driver combinations and a little international flavour, to spice up proceedings.
Last year’s winner Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) is seeded at number one in the running order revealed at last night’s briefing meeting at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Club House, Searles, Christ Church. With regular co-driver Louis Venezia committed to clashing polo duties, his co-driver will be Stuart Maloney, who suffered an engine failure when he debuted his Peugeot 306 Maxi in the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc’s Spring Blaze 14 last month.
Recently returned from Rally Trinidad, Paul Bourne and Neil Armstrong will start at two and three, each making his island debut for the year. While Rally Trinidad 2014 winner Armstrong (Suzuki SX4 WRC) will be partnered by his regular co-driver Barry Ward, Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07) will have England’s Tom Woodburn on the notes.
Both Bourne and Woodburn will be hoping for a better outcome than their last events – Bourne finished third in Trinidad after a number of issues during the event, while differential failure a mile from the end of the final stage cost Woodburn and talented young British driver Arron Newby (TEG Sport Subaru Impreza) victory in last Sunday’s Lookout Stages in Britain.
Many eyes will be on the battle for two-wheel-drive supremacy, although the absence of Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift), following his accident last month, will undoubtedly take the edge off it for some fans. Josh Read and Mark Jordan (Toyota Starlet) will face Roger Mayers and Barry Mayers (Toyota WRStarlet) for the first time this year – that was a battle resolved on the very last stage of Valvoline Rally 2013 – while Rhett Watson and James Hutchinson (BMW M3) cannot be ignored.
Watson’s SuperModified 12 class will also include Stan Hartling from the Turks & Caicos Islands, at the wheel of the BMW M3 seen in recent times as the Zero Car, driven by Jonathan Still; Hartling will have Canada’s Andy Proudfoot as co-driver, who sat with him in Sol RB12 in his unusual Group B Lotus Exige.
Another BMW will enjoy its competition debut in the historic class, when Wayne Archer wheels out his Martin Stockdale-built 325, which arrived in the island recently; he will face Stuart White’s similar car, also created by the popular “Mad-Dale”, in what promises to be the first of many closely fought encounters.
The Greenland Agricultural Station in St Andrew is the service park for the day, also the location for the 9:30 a.m. start and lunch break, with the finish, slated for 4 p.m., followed by a prize-giving and post-event lime. Stage venues are Orange Hill to Four Hills, which will run three times in the morning, alternating with two runs from Pickerings to Luke Hill; in the afternoon, the stages will be reversed, with three runs of Luke Hill to Pickerings and two from Four Hills to Orange Hill. (RB)