Britain’s Nigel Worswick was in action over the weekend in his Ford Escort WRC on the Live Rally Stage of the Race Retro. That event served as a final test in preparation for shipping the car across the Atlantic Ocean to compete in Sol Rally Barbados 2016.
Europe’s leading show for historic motor sport enthusiasts is staged annually at Stoneleigh Park in Kenilworth, a few miles outside Coventry, formerly one of the main manufacturing centres of the British motor industry.
The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event and the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados 2016 will run from June 3 to 5, with scrutineering and the King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ event the previous weekend, May 28 and 29. Worswick, one of more than 55 overseas entries received on-line through the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net, will be making his sixth consecutive visit.
His best result in his Ford Escort MkII was 15th overall in 2014, third in SuperModified 11, an achievement he was delighted with, particularly as it was the first major rally for co-driver Rebecca Kirsch.
Worswick said: “I must highlight what a great job Rebecca has done these last two events, having done no rallies prior to being invited to make her co-driving debut two years ago.”
Although they slipped to 17th overall last year, they moved up to second in SM11 . . . but not without some much-appreciated assistance from the island’s rallying fraternity, as Worswick explained.
“After the gearbox exploded at King of the Hill, it looked like curtains for us. But thanks to local Toyota Starlet driver Ralphie White, who loaned us a gearbox, then everyone at Ullyett’s Machine Shop, who worked most of the week to make it fit the Escort, we were ready for the Friday night start. It is that sort of attitude that makes Sol Rally Barbados so special. Nothing is too much for anyone.”
For Sol Rally Barbados 2016, however, they will campaign Worswick’s Escort WRC, which he could not bring last year, as he was entered for the Manx National and the shipping dates clashed. Built from a new shell in 1999/2000 by Worswick and his then co-driver, Clive Molyneux, the Escort has a factory roll cage, Tommy Field engine, full WRC-spec suspension and rear diff, plus an XTrac front diff.
Since the car was finished, Worswick has alternated between the WRC and his MkII on rallies, while his WRC has become a firm favourite at spectator-focused events such as the annual rally day at the high-speed Castle Combe race circuit in south-west England.
Worswick’s record of success includes a string of victories on the Cambrian Rally, recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s toughest forest events. He won all four years he contested it, sharing the event’s Roll of Honour with the likes of Mikko Hirvonen, Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Ostberg and Steve Perez. In the Escort WRC, he finished third on the Jim Clark Rally in 2007, following a fourth-placed finish the previous year.