Two families from the British Midlands have a special reason to look forward to Sol Rally Barbados this year.
Legendary BMW driver, Worksop & District Motor Club president Martin Stockdale, and fellow club member Hugh Peat will both be joined by offspring who have been travelling and working on the other side of the world to enjoy a family reunion in Barbados.
This year marks Stockdale’s record 16th consecutive appearance in the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international and he returns again at the head of the “Worksop Warriors”, who last year became the largest-ever group to contest the event from a single United Kingdom motor club. Stockdale and Peat are again joined by Ray Clough and Stuart Tomlinson, with more than 20 family and friends in tow.
The Barbados Rally Club’s blue riband event, Sol Rally Barbados 2016 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 3 to 5, with scrutineering at Simpson Motors and Flow King of the Hill the previous weekend, May 28 and 29. Sol Rally Barbados 2016 chairman Mark Hamilton said that having families organise reunions like this around the Sol event was a great example of the success of the island’s sports-tourism product.
Stockdale returns with the BMW 1M Coupe, which he debuted last year. He finished 21st overall, third in SuperModified 12, adding to his impressive record since 2001, including four class wins. His co-driver for Sol Rally Barbados 2016 will be Mark Swallow, but daughter Laura-Jo will sit in for Flow King of the Hill.
“Mark can’t get there until the day after King of the Hill, so my stand-in co-pilot will be Laura-Jo. Glenis and I have not seen her since November 2014, as she and her boyfriend Tom have been travelling and working in Asia and Australia. They are spending three weeks with us in Barbados, along with Tom’s mum and dad, before returning to Oz. We’re looking forward to another fantastic event,” Stockdale said.
A similar situation prevails for Peat and wife Shirley, who returned to the event last year for the first time since 2005, after taking a break from the sport. He finished seventh in the Sunday Cup in his Subaru Impreza N11, but this year brings a Harry Hockley-built BMW M3 Compact. Stockdale, who has just rebuilt the engine, said: “It is a very nice car, I think it should go well.”
Last year, both Mark and Stephen were living and working in Australia, meeting up in Barbados. This year, as mum Shirley explained: “It’s going to be a family affair again, Mark sitting with Hugh for King of the Hill, Stephen the co-driver for the rally itself. Mark is still travelling the world – he has now been to a total of 51 countries – and will be spending a few months in America with his partner Gabi and Ste after the rally.”
Clough, a former sponsor of both Peat and Stockdale, returned to rallying last year, having first competed in the late 1970s. He returns with the same Saint-Gobain Weber Ford Escort MkI in which he finished 42nd and fourth in the International Historic class last year, and will again be joined by local co-driver Stephen Bell.
The final Worksop crew are Tomlinson and WDMC competition secretary Nick Taylor. They suffered mechanical problems last year, leaving them ninth in the Sunday Cup in the 2.1-litre Cosworth-engined Escort MkII in which they have previously won the East Midlands Rally Championship. Already treated a bare shell rebuild last year, the car has been further re-prepped with fuel injection installed to cure its carburettor issues.
Taylor co-drove in the Stockdale BMW in the Dukeries Rally in March, finishing eighth overall and third in class. Taylor noted: “The only drama being a collision with a hare which decided to play chicken with us and smashed the front bumper.” (RB)