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Green light for Sol Rally

Trevor Thorpe

Green light for Sol Rally

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International motorsport experts have given the green light to the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) over the staging of Sol Rally Barbados 2013.
However, Sue Sanders, International Training Programme Manager of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), Britain’s governing body, and experienced British Eligibility Scrutineer Geoff Doe said the club should work on its communications and address the absence of a permanent “Rally Office” with an “Official Notice Board”.
They said although the virtual notice board was good, it didn’t help anyone during the event, and was also not helpful for many overseas competitors who could not print documents from a hotel room.
The two were invited by the BRC to observe this year’s 24th running of the blue riband event. They said it was of a high standard and many English and other national events can learn something from the welcoming approach and genuine desire for people to enjoy both the sport and Barbados.
Sanders, who assisted in a senior official training programme run by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) earlier this year, is a former stage commander and safety officer of Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).
She works on safety and training around the world and based her assessment of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international on the standard format of Observers Report used by the MSA, for evaluating an event which is seeking championship status for the first time.
Five main headings help to make up the evaluation:  
• Standard documentation, ranging from road book through time cards to safety plan.
• Start and finish.
• Safety – including safety cars, emergency vehicles, manpower and safety for both competitors and spectators.
• Itinerary and infrastructure, dealing not only with special stages, but also road sections, service facilities, parc fermé, (the closed area to which cars are taken post-race) scrutineering and reconnaissance.
• Organization.
A total of 190 specific questions are listed, with five levels of evaluation. Level three is the expected or desired standard, with two levels above and below, ranging from extremely high to totally unacceptable.
The final section, organization, is the longest, representing just over one-third of the report, covering everything from pre-event promotion, the arrangements for import of cars and equipment, rally headquarters, communications, time-keeping and results to the competence, experience and performance of the senior officials.
The BRC came in for high praise for emergency vehicles and manpower; excellent locations throughout the stages, very professional and enthusiastic team members and lengths of special stages.
The international officials also had high praise for the way the pre-events were managed, especially the transportation of vehicles for overseas competitors; volunteers; marshals identification and the safety notice on the back of their T-shirts.
BRC chairman Mark Hamilton said Sanders and Doe had worked around the world helping events grow in stature, pointing out they were not trying to impose WRC-style requirements on the BRC, but simply working to help them make the best of local resources.
“Sanders travelled with a number of our senior officials to critique the event, and seek areas where we could improve,” Hamilton said.
“Bearing in mind that the club has no full-time staff, I am proud of what we have achieved and I am pleased that many of her comments are so positive about the way we do things here. It looks as though we got about eight or nine out of 10.”