Members of the Barbados Rally Club will not be the only ones celebrating when Sol Rally Barbados 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the club’s premier event on May 30 and 31.
Having followed it for more than ten years, British driver Marcus Tinsley will finally get to compete this year, a 30th birthday present to himself.
This is not telecommunications specialist Tinsley’s first time competing in Barbados, however, although he has changed sports. “I visited Barbados in 2000 on a cricket tour and loved the place, I just can’t wait to return,” he said.
Since that first visit to the island as a teenager, Tinsley has followed his father Kevin into special stage rallying. Competing in Sol Rally Barbados is a long-held ambition.
“I’ve seen it advertised for years and first had dreams to do the event in 2003. I follow it every year on the internet and via social media, but I needed a proper excuse to come over and do it . . . and justify the expense. My 30th birthday seemed like the ideal excuse. And what a fantastic birthday present!”
Tinsley, who was born in England but currently lives and works in Scotland, will campaign a Peugeot 205 Rallye, backed by Tinsley Joiners, Rodgers Plant Hire and Taylor Signs in the BRC’s Modified 5 class; his co-driver will be James Crosland, another rallying in Barbados for the first time.
Having first navigated for his father in a Ford Sierra Cosworth a couple of years after his cricketing foray to the Caribbean, Tinsley’s first event as a driver was on his 18th birthday, at the wheel of a Sierra XR4x4.
He has competed in nearly 40 events, as time has allowed, initially in two different Peugeot 106 Rallyes, before acquiring the 205, in which he has had two class wins and four other class podiums in ten events, along with a year-end class win in the Association of Northern Car Club’s Tarmac Challenge in 2011.
Co-driver Crosland, a mechanical engineer from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, is a former marshal, who turned his hand to navigating in 2012, with considerable success. In 2013, he won the Association of North East Midlands Motor Club’s Navigators Championship, collecting the Tarmac, Gravel and Under-25s titles as well, winning three of the four again last year, along with the East Midland Association of Motor Club’s Navigators Championship.
The crew will have a “shakedown” at the end of February in the Jack Neal Memorial Stages, a single-venue event at Blyton in Lincolnshire.
Barbados Rally Club’s public relations officer Neil Barnard said Tinsley and Crosland were just the sort of club competitors they were keen to attract.
“They have learned about Sol Rally Barbados by seeing it on television and also through the internet coverage and social media, and have added it to their bucket list of events they want to do. The fact that they are both still in their 20s is particularly encouraging, bearing in mind how many of our first-timers are so blown away by the event and the island that they come back again and again,” Barnard stated.