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SOL RALLY BARBADOS

  • Written by Narend Sooknarine
  • Published in Rally

SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Jamaica’s Gary Gregg is the second previous winner to sign up for Sol Rally Barbados 2010 (May 29/30), which celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the inaugural running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) International All-Stage Rally; he is one of 12 overseas entries among the total of 30 already received on-line, which also includes 10-time winner, local ace Roger Skeete.
 
Gregg and co-driver, fellow-Jamaican Hugh Hutchinson, won in 2006 in their ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC02, then went on to become the first – and, so far, only - crew to win Rally Barbados and Rally Jamaica in the same year. After going on to win RJ07 in the older car, Gregg debuted his recently-acquired BD Gregg & Bros/NG Racing Ford Focus WRC05 on RJ09 last month, claiming his third win in four years on his home event.
 
In addition to their victory, Gregg and Hutchinson have twice finished on the podium in Barbados in the Focus – third in 2005 and 2008 – with fourth place in their previous Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI (2003) also to their credit; the following year, that car was destroyed in a major accident on the Saturday morning, while they also recorded a DNF in 2007 when the Focus failed to restart on Sunday morning with suspension damage.
 
Gregg has won more than 20 motor sport titles in his home country in recent years, in a wide variety of machinery, although much of his early rallying was done in Barbados, where he also learned to drive. Absent from Sol Rally Barbados last year, Gregg’s return will be welcomed by his many fans in the island.
 
The total of on-line entries is already at 30, three weeks earlier than that mark was reached in 2009. Once again, the entry level is capped at 90 starters, and Rally Chairman Barry Gale is cautiously optimistic that a close-to-capacity entry might be achieved: “To be honest, if you had suggested we’d have 30 entries by the second week of January, I’d probably have laughed in your face! Bearing in mind the financial climate is making things tough for everyone, this is a tremendous endorsement of our event and very encouraging for the Club, as we continue our discussions with sponsors.
 
“As things stand, we already have 12 overseas entries, including three new names; if the percentages of the total continue along those lines, then we’ll have a well-balanced mix of local, regional and international crews that will be very close to what we have enjoyed in the past.”
 
Additional Supplementary Regulations posted on Sol RB2010 web site
 
With overseas enquiries on the increase now the Christmas and New Year holiday period has ended, the Additional Supplementary Regulations for Sol Rally Barbados 2010 have been posted as a pdf download in the Competitors section of the official web site.
 
Key changes to the event format that will be noticed immediately are the switch of day and venue for Scrutineering – this will now take place at Simpson Motors on Saturday, May 22 – also the absence of the Ceremonial Start that was introduced last year. Barry Gale explained: “While the Ceremonial Start was a great success in hyping up the event for the weekend, there were many who felt it needed some changes; there are even those, including many of our overseas competitors, who feel it would be greatly improved if there could be a couple of night-time special stages nearby.
 
“Bearing in mind the tough economic climate, 2010 was definitely not the year to start investigating what could be a potentially costly innovation, so we decided to step back for a year and give the whole idea very careful thought for 2011. One big element of the Friday night that played well with everyone, however, was the enthusiasm with which the Government, our sponsors and marketing partners joined in, officially welcoming all of our overseas visitors and emphasising the National importance of the event.
 
“Although our plans are not yet confirmed, we’re aiming to increase the activity at Scrutineering significantly, by encouraging all of the stakeholders in the event to participate, also to create a more formal segment in the early evening for an official welcome. Having it on Saturday is also generally a lot more convenient for the fans and will allow a potentially greater number of people to attend, so we can also hype them up for Shell V-Power King of the Hill on Sunday.”
 
Among other changes to the running of the event, which are highlighted in purple text in the ASRs, is the introduction of a ‘Sunday Cup Opening Car’; this will run between the last of the crews still in overall contention and the first of the Sunday Cup competitors to help ensure that spectator control is maintained during the three-minute break.
 
Sol Rally Barbados (May 29/30) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB2010 marks the 20th Anniversary of the inaugural running of the Club’s International All-Stage Rally.
 
For further information:
 

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