‘Ninja’ going for broke
It will be the 20th appearance for Roger ‘The Ninja’ Hill when he suits up for Sol Rally Barbados, from June 1-3.
The former Barbados Rally Club (BRC) champion driver will have the Esso/Nassco/MaxMeyer/MotorMac/Pennzoil Corolla WRC for the event as he hunts another top ten finish in the 29-year history of the club’s blue riband event.
The two weekends of Flow King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados are vital to local drivers chasing points in the BRC Drivers and Class Championships, as they represent three of the qualifying rounds.
The King of the Hill on May 26-27 is round two, while the Friday and Saturday of Sol Rally Barbados will be round three, with round four on Sunday.
With no dropped scores in the seven-round championships, these two mid-summer weekends can make all the difference.
During the event’s first decade, when it was known as the International All-Stage Rally, Hill competed in a Toyota Starlet, with two fourth places his best finishes among five top ten results. He has also chalked up two class wins.
In 2000, he switched to a Toyota Corolla GT4, which he drove for the next eight years. He recorded his best finish in 2003 when he came second, which was also the first of four consecutive years of Modified 8 class wins.
With changes to his team, he teamed up with current co-driver Graham Gittens, and upgraded his machinery in 2009.
He acquired the Corolla WRC in which current Citroen WRC crew Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle won Sol Rally Barbados that year and added seven more top ten finishes in the past decade while always being a force to be reckoned with in the WRC-2 class for cars built before the end of 2003.
After a bare-shell rebuild by his regular engineer Dave Crawford during the winter, Hill finished sixth overall and second in WRC-2 in last year’s Sol Rally Barbados, raising his tally of top ten finishes in the event to 19. Only 13-time winner Roger Skeete has more, with 20.
Hill, Neil Corbin and Andrew Jones are the first local entries for the big event this year, each seeking to add to their previous tally of class wins.
Since the BRC opened entries on the official website – www.rallybarbados.net, the list is approaching 60 with record interest from overseas. (TT)