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I hope the day will never come
When I can’t awake to the sound of drum
Never let me miss carnival
With calypso songs philosophical

Harry Belafonte was probably singing about his parents’ Jamaican birthplace in his song ‘Island In The Sun’, but nowhere is carnival fever combined with fantastic motorsport atmosphere like the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival, run over two weekends at the end of August each year.

Nestled at the convergence of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Barbados is a place of varied tropical cultures, beach-time fun in the sun, rum punch, pirate ship parties, cricket and, between 18 and 30 August this year, historic motorsport.

Barbados has its own, expertly-designed, acclaimed RallySprint/RallyCross facility at Vaucluse Raceway; this is used for the RallySprint on the first weekend of the 13-day Barbados Historic Rally Carnival.

The second weekend hosts the second motorsport event in the Carnival: the Barbados Historic Rally, which runs over 15 asphalt, closed-road special stages, in daylight and darkness. With changeable, challenging surfaces on narrow and wide lanes and legendary (think Rally Sweden) lack of grip; suspension settings are closest to ‘bumpy Irish’.

All of which suggests why the Barbados Rally Carnival has been such an attractive draw for European competitors since 2001 and (since 2010) for historic rallyists. Seriously competitive motorsport over two weekends, with the week between filled with all kinds of tropical holiday destination fun in the sun. The fact that the all-inclusive entry fee – covering car shipment, crew travel and accommodation – is remarkably affordable also helps.

The Barbados Rally Carnival has promoted international competitor exchanges, by offering all-inclusive prize trips to Barbados for foreigners and to foreign events for locals since 2002; this partnership in 2014 and 2015 was with the Killarney Historic Rally in Ireland.

Far away from the rally-loving islands of Barbados and Ireland is the equally rally-loving island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Mallorca’s Oris Rally Clasico is a world-renowned event, with famous mountain passes, to which many UK and mainland European historic rallyists make pilgrimage in March each year.

For 2016, the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival began a promotional partnership agreement with the Oris Rally Clasico. This means that the winner of the main event for pre-1982 cars has won a free trip to compete in the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival this year.

That lucky man is German motorsport competitor Stefan Oberdorster, who blitzed the Mallorcan special stages in his 2.8-litre Porsche 911 Carrera, to win the top competition category.

Stefan, now an enthusiastic and fiercely-competitive 53-year-old, was “eight or nine” when: “Porsche became my dream. It was clear that one day I would own such a car.”

Stefan bought his first Porsche in 2000: a 3.3-litre 911 Turbo, which he still has. In 2003, he and a mate went to watch the Mallorca Clasico rally; they came away determined to contest the event one day.

It took more than three years to finish building his first rally car, a Porsche of course: the 911 Carrera 2.8, which he drove to victory on Mallorca this year. The car’s first attack on the Mallorcan stages was in 2007… and far less encouraging: Stefan near-demolished it on the third corner of the first stage! Undaunted, he was back the following year and has contested the Mediterranean event ever since, winning for the first time in 2011.

Stefan is more active on circuits and contests just two or three rallies a year, but the list of his active competition cars is mouthwatering to say the least: a Group C 962, a 2.8 RSR, a 2.5 ST, a 3.0SC Safari car and an original 1967 ex-Bjorn Waldegaard 911 2.0.

He’ll be using the Safari car in the above pictures in Barbados. Having bought it six years ago, the car was two years in restoration; it has since contested German gravel rallies and rallied once on Mallorcan asphalt. The Martini-liveried machine should go well on the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival’s narrow lanes and changeable surface.

The first 20 entries to the 2016 Barbados Historic Rally Carnival get the fully all-inclusive package for US$8,500; after that, it’s US$9,500. The details of the package and optional extras to enable family and friends to attend, as well as a schedule of events are on: http://www.barbadosrallycarnival.com.

Any questions? Please contact the Carnival organiser Greg Cozier, at: greg@barbadosrallycarnival.com.

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