Bid to keep Sol trophy at home
Keeping the Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill trophy here will be foremost of the minds of drivers when they tackle an international star-studded field in today’s Barbados Rally Club (BRC) event at Hangman’s Hill.
Since the club added the King of the Hill event to the calendar in 2008, it has always been won by a Barbadian driver beginning with Paul “The Surfer” Bourne at the wheel of the Chefette/LIME/Slam 101/MQI/Banks/Castrol Ford Focus WRC07, and alternating since then, between himself and current defending champion Roger “The Sheriff” Skeete in the Sol/Michelin/DaCosta Mannings Auto Centre/Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12, who did the double last year, winning Sol Rally Barbados.
But podium finishers among overseas drivers, including England’s Paul Bird, the most successful so far with a third place in 2010, then second last year, and the in form Jamaican-born, Trinidad and Tobago-based driver John “Penti” Powell, who is fresh from winning PetCom Rally Jamaica last year and Rally Trinidad earlier this year, could change.
Another driver on whom much will also depend is Sean Gill, in the Simpson Motors/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art/Monster Energy Drink Suzuki SX4 WRC, which is packing a punch since remedial work in the Valvoline Shakedown Stages Rally where he finished third in the company of co-driver, Michael “Zippy” Cummins.
Yesterday, competitors from a record-equalling 15 nations were making last minute preparations for the final shakedown ahead of next weekend’s Sol Rally Barbados 2012, which will give fans their chance to see nearly 20 cars new to the island for the first time.
Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill is being staged at the 3.4-kilometre St Thomas stage, which ends shortly after the Lion Castle crossroad. It was used for the first time last year and this is the first time a venue has been revisited since the inaugural event at Turner’s Hall in 2008 which was followed by Stewart’s Hill and Sailor Gully.
Today’s event will begin with the practice run slated for 10:15 a.m., followed by three official runs, the fastest of which will decide competitors’ finishing positions.
Cars will run in reverse seeding order, from Clubman up to Modified 8-WRC, and the Top Ten after the first official run will be held back and run in reverse order at the end of the field.
Among the two-wheel drive competitors expected to impress today are Ian Warren, Roger “His Hotness” Mayers, his brother Barry, Stuart Maloney, Neil Armstrong, Josh Read and Neil Corbin.