90 to face King Of The Hill starter
Ninety crews – one shy of the record entry in 2012 – will contest Sunday’s Flow King Of The Hill, the final shakedown ahead of Sol Rally Barbados 2018.
Last year’s winner, Jamaica’s Jeff Panton, Britain’s Paul Bird and island legend Roger Skeete, who have won seven of the ten previous editions of the King Of The Hill between them, will go head-to-head in a battle for supremacy that truly captures the spirit of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event –a showdown between local, regional and international drivers.
The provisional running order lists the 90 starters in 14 classifications, with Group B split to accommodate the rare presence of eligible four-wheel-drive cars. As before, the results of Flow King Of The Hill will be used to seed Sol Rally Barbados 18 – drivers who either don’t compete or fail to set a time will be seeded behind the last car in their class, unless safety considerations dictate otherwise.
BRC and Sol RB18 chairman Mark Hamilton told the SATURDAY SUN that as Sol Rally Barbados has developed, so has Flow King Of The Hill.
“Sunday’s 90-car entry is sure to provide competitors and fans alike with a spectacular day’s sport, particularly as the format of four official runs and no practice means drivers have to be on it from the get-go.
“I am delighted that Flow has expanded its commitment to the Barbados Rally Club as title sponsor of the new SuperSprint Series, which adds another layer to our growing partnership,” Hamilton said.
Having shared the Flow King Of The Hill crown with former double European Rally champion Simon Jean-Joseph (Ford Focus WRC08) in 2016, Panton (Focus WRC06) went on to claim the second in his hat-trick of Sol RB victories, joining Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, 2011) and Bird (Focus WRC08, 2012) in doing the KotH/Sol RB double in the same year.
With Britain’s Rob Swann (Impreza S12B) and Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta) also in the mix – their best finishes respectively are second and fourth in 2017 – the result of tomorrow’s event is not a foregone conclusion, but the outcome will fuel some lively discussions among fans in the coming days.
As it has since 2015, Flow KotH will run from Hangman’s Hill through the Vaucluse Raceway (VRW) then north to Lion Castle, all within the parish of St Thomas, for a total stage length of 4.30 kilometres.
Cars will run in reverse order of seeding, from Clubman 1 up to WRC-1, and the top 10 at the lunch break will be held back and re-seeded in reverse order to run at the end of the field for the final two runs.
From the first King Of The Hill at Turners Hall in 2008, local drivers Paul Bourne (2008 and 2010) and Skeete (2009 and 2011) shared the laurels, as it moved first to Stewart Hill, then Sailor Gully and Hangman’s Hill.
England’s Paul Bird won back at Hangman’s Hill in 2012, and again in 2014 with Neil Armstrong winning in 2013, at Luke Hill.