Hot on the heels of last week’s promise from popular British competitor Kevin Procter to “come back stronger” for Sol Rally Barbados 2018, two more Ford-mounted returnees have echoed his thoughts.
Andrew Costin-Hurley and Nigel Worswick, returning for the 15th and eighth times, respectively, this year, have both signalled their intention of upping their game after technical issues in Sol RB17.
Organised by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, Sol RB18 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 1-3, with The Rally Show and Flow King Of The Hill on May 26 and 27. In the three months since entries for the 29th running of the club’s premier event opened on the official website – www.rallybarbados.net – near 60 have been posted, with record interest from overseas.
Costin-Hurley will again drive his Earl’s Performance Hoses/Wootton Tyres Ford Puma Evo, in which he has won Group B five times, with regular top 30 finishes (although GpB cars are not eligible for overall awards), and looked set to add a sixth victory to his haul last year after a rally-long battle with the Mini of Holland’s Frans Verbaas.
While the flying Dutchman had been closing on Costin-Hurley on Sunday afternoon, it was a huge effort on the final Bushy Park stage – the little Mini was a remarkable tenth quickest of the 66 cars that ran – that gave him the class win by just seven-tenths of a second.
What Costin-Hurley did not discover until his self-designed and built Puma was repatriated was what he describes as “a major structural failure of a rear suspension attachment point – we were very blessed to have finished the rally. Had the failure been apparent during the rally, I think that I would have retired on the spot to prevent further damage. The repair proved to be very, very tricky and seemed to take the whole summer but the attachment (on both sides) is now considerably more sturdy.”
Worswick’s UK rallying achievements also date back many years.
In the 1990s, he was a regular competitor on Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (the Network Q RAC Rally), missing out on a top ten finish by just one second in 1996 in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4, having finished in the top seven on the last five of 26 special stages.
Having rebuilt the engine and turbo of his Ford Escort WRC after a valve in the anti-lag system failed late on Saturday in Sol RB16 when running 13th, Worswick had high hopes last year of improving on his best result of 15th overall (Sol RB14, Ford Escort MkII) . . . and he did so, 11th and third in WRC-2.
But it was not the smooth run he’d been looking for, after so much work ahead of the event, which had also included reconditioning the diffs, driveshafts and brakes, along with converting the gearbox to sequential. (PR)