Sol Rally drivers ready for actionRoger Skeete (left) and Paul Bird. (Rawle Culbard)
By Stefan Walker | Fri, June 08, 2012 - 12:03 AM
THE time draws near for Sol Rally Barbados 2012.
The preparation is over now, and all that stands in the way of the drivers, co-drivers and the fans is one day of anxiety.
The rally club has officially released its finally starting order and there are 101 cars ready for this weekend’s spectacular.
The Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates 55 years this year, and all those involved this weekend took some time out of their busy schedules, to relax at the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Christ Church on Wednesday.
The purpose of the evening was threefold – to brief the competitors of the more technical side of the rally, to present trophies to class winners and to officially welcome all the overseas competitors.
This year saw a boost in entries as the club raised the list to 100 and received applications far surpassing that.
Of 101 entries, there are 64 international drivers and co-drivers, 28 of whom are new to the event, said Barbados Rally Club chairman, Geoff Noel.
Noel also said that Barbados has the largest motorsport event in the English-speaking Caribbean which received great coverage in the Press, magazines, websites and most important television.
The Barbados Rally Club said television coverage for Sol Rally Barbados 2011 reached 771 million homes worldwide, a feat that most local sports could not even begin to fathom.
Prizes were also presented for the Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill event.
The event was attended by many of the competitors and some of the Caribbean’s top drivers who shared their thoughts and plans for this weekend.
Sean Gill, who was fifth in the King of the Hill event, like all drivers in the M8-WRC class, wants to win but identified drivers such as Paul Bird and John Powell as his main rivals.
Gill also pointed to the weather which could cause problems and was quick to praise the club for coming up with some great stages for this weekend.
John Powell, who won both Rally Trinidad and Rally Jamaica and placed third here last Sunday, said he was “nervous”.
Powell also said he has to adapt his driving style for Barbados because it more suits gravel than tarmac.
However, after competing in two tarmac events here, Powell said he was ready for the competition.
Roger Skeete said Rally Barbados would be “as hard as is ever was”.
He has won the event 12 times and is looking to make it a third hat-trick of wins.
Paul Bird, who finally won an event here after trying since 2008, said “I am not worried about anybody.”
However, he added that he treated “everybody with respect, from Roger Skeete to Paul Bourne to Sean Gill and John Powell”.
“There are a possible eight to ten guys who could win rally,” said Bird, the 2005 British champion, who has also competed in the World Rally Championship and the RACC Rallye de Espana in 2009.
Bird said winning Sol Rally Barbados 2012 would mean more to him than winning the British championship.
Sol Rally Barbados boasts an impressive tally of 13 female competitors, including the all-female crew of Shannon Kirton and Lisa Roett in their Nissan Datsun 120Y.
Both these women grew up in the sport and have the blood of racers flowing through their veins.
Kirton said it felt pretty good to be part of the lone female team.
“At the same time, it would be nice to have some more drivers, so maybe they could swap stories, instead of her swapping stories with the guys,” she added.
Kirton and Roett won their group last year.
- Editor's Choice
- Your Lamen commented on $60M loss
- Tanya Respect Forde commented on Rihanna, wins R&B artist, album
- Tony Webster commented on EDITORIAL: LIME’s $100m investment great news
- Judy Clarke commented on DEAR CHRISTINE: Should I bail out because of disease?
- Frank Husbands commented on Credit unions must pull investments