The largest-ever group to visit Sol Rally Barbados from one motor club in the United Kingdom is making a celebratory trip to the island this year.
Led by legendary BMW driver Martin Stockdale, the “Worksop Warriors” will field four cars in the Barbados Rally Club’s 25th anniversary event from May 29 to 31, with 30 family, friends and supporters making the trip.
President of the Worksop & District Motor Club, “Mad-dale” makes his 15th consecutive appearance, a record among overseas competitors. He is joined by Hugh Peat, with club chairman Mike Sendall as co-driver, Stuart Tomlinson, whose co-driver Nick Taylor is on the committee, and Ray Clough, with his co-driver yet to be confirmed.
Taylor is marking his 50th birthday, while Clough and Stockdale chalk up the big 60 this year.
Barbados Rally Club’s chairman Mark Hamilton expressed his pleasure at the development.
“This is a huge endorsement of the sports-tourism impetus behind our event and we are all looking forward to welcoming the Worksop Warriors and sharing in their celebrations,” Hamilton said.
Stockdale, whose co-driver will be newcomer Stephen Ritchie, is building a new BMW 1M Coupe, sponsored by Drive-a-Matic, Divi Southwinds and Quarry Motors, having collected the shell from Custom Cages last weekend.
“There are many hours of midnight oil to burn, but I keep telling myself failure is not an option. This is a fantastic turnout from Worksop and regulars and newbies are all looking forward to a great trip,” he said.
Peat rallied in Barbados in 2003 and 2004 in a Ford Escort MkII, 29th overall and fifth in Open Modified in his first year the better result, before upgrading to an Escort Cosworth, finishing second (to Stockdale) in Group B in 2005. In the following years, he rallied a Nissan Sunny GTi, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI and, finally, a Subaru Impreza, in which he won two regional titles –– the ANEMMC and EMAMC Championships –– in the UK in 2008.
After a break from rallying, while he started a new business, WeMix Concrete, he returned to the sport last year. Peat explained: “We came back with an ex-prodrive Subaru Impreza N11 and entered the same championships as in 2008 –– we finished second and third overall, but it was a hard battle competing against the same guys six years later.
“So we have decided to compete in the rallies we want to do without the pressure of a championship . . . and Rally Barbados was top of that list. What better time to return than the 25th anniversary –– we can’t wait to be back to enjoy some fun in the sun.”
For Peat and wife Shirley, the event is also a family reunion with sons Mark and Stephen –– they were 15 and 12 when they first visited the island in 2003, but both now live in Australia.
“Barbados is a special place for us all,” added Peat, “with someone in the family visiting each year between 2003 and 2009, then 2012.”
Although he has never rallied in Barbados, Clough is also familiar with the island and the event, to which this will be his eighth visit. He is now returning to rallying, having first competed in the late 1970s.
“I’m 60 this year, so I thought I would treat myself, get the car out of the garage and use it for what it’s built for,” Clough said.
The car is an International Historic Group 4 Escort MkI, with a 250bhp engine, backed by Saint-Gobain Weber, DBP Bradford, The Builders Center Sheffield, Yorkshire Fixings Otley, Encon Leeds and Minster Sheffield. Found in a fish and chip shop queue by Worksop member and regular Barbados visitor Julian Lockwood, it was built into a rally car by Clough.
The Worksop “newbies” are Tomlinson and Taylor, who will campaign their Tomlinsons and Atlas Copco UK-supported Group 4 Escort MkII in Historics. The car is undergoing a bare shell rebuild, the blue livery familiar to British fans in recent years now replaced by Ford Racing Red, with an engine and gearbox overhaul all part of the package.
Originally built for Magard –– famed for their sump guards –– the Escort was acquired in 1993, since when Tomlinson and Taylor have contested more than 100 events. Now with a 240bhp 2.1-litre Cosworth engine, it has carried them to numerous class wins on local events, also the East Midlands Rally Championship title.
Taylor also has a World Rally Championship class win to his credit, having finished 50th overall on the 2001 Network Q RAC Rally and A5 winners in a Ford Ka with Rob Gill, the motoring editor of The Sun. (RB)