Former British Trial & Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) champion from the United Kingdom, Warren Philliskirk, will make his Sol Rally Barbados debut in May, when the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) marks the 25th Anniversary of its premier event. His historic-spec Ford Escort MkII is currently nearing the end of a bare-shell rebuild, specifically for its forthcoming trip to the Caribbean.
Sol Rally Barbados 2015 will run on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, with scrutineering and the King of the Hill shakedown event the previous weekend. Philliskirk told the official web site,www.rallybarbados.net: “It’s cold over here, Christmas is over and we’re back to work. We are all good to go and looking forward very much to our Barbados adventure.”
A land and sports field drainage specialist, Philliskirk is based in Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire, mid-way between York and Harrogate, where his co-driver Garry Green runs a business specialising in motor sport wiring looms. They live right in the middle of classic rallying country, boasting some of the UK’s most popular stages and with famous forest events such as the Trackrod Rally based nearby.
Philliskirk has been rallying for more than 40 years, claiming his first title in the late 1970s (the Yorkshire Championship) in a MkI Escort, built from a shell using components from a Ford Cortina in which he had spent a year grass track racing. After switching to a MkII Escort, then a rear-wheel-drive MkIII – all these cars built by himself and friends – he made what he refers to as “a life-changing decision” and bought an MG Metro 6R4, in which he won the BTRDA Championship in 1997, his first full season in the car.
He campaigned the 2.5-litre 6R4 in more than 60 rallies over the next few years, winning a number of National Championship rounds, and with seventh overall chalked up in the Iceland International Rally in 2000. The BTRDA Championship’s Gold and Silver Star titles are British club rallying’s most prestigious, with Andy Burton in his self-built Peugeot-Cosworth and Barbados regular Steve Perez, who won the title in 2010 and last year in a Ford Focus WRC, among the few to have done so more than once.
The Escort which Philliskirk is bringing to Barbados, with backing from Philliskirk Drainage and Autosparks, is enjoying a bare-shell rebuild after 25 rallies in the Yorkshireman’s hands, including the demanding Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2010. He added: “We have taken advantage of the holidays to put the car together after its bare-shell paint.”
Philliskirk spent two days in Barbados before joining a Caribbean cruise with his wife Hilary last March, during which they contacted members of the Sol RB organising committee to learn more about the event. He said: “I had heard about Sol Rally Barbados from friends who had competed in the past, but being able to learn so much more first hand helped us make up our minds.”