Skip navigation

As the first European competitors arrived over the weekend to be reunited with rally cars they last saw at Dover, the new UK port of departure, just over three weeks ago, the final countdown to Sol Rally Barbados 2018 is under way. With the Rally Show this Saturday (May 27) launching 10 days of intense activity, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) preparations have changed up a gear; Flow King of the Hill follows on Sunday, with the BRC’s blue riband event, Sol RB18, running from Friday to Sunday, June 1-3.

Coinciding with FIA Volunteers Weekend, in which the world governing body celebrated the invaluable contribution made by those who give freely of their time to facilitate the sport, there was a comprehensive Marshals Training Day at the Vaucluse Raceway on Saturday (May 20). The same day, another crew of volunteers worked with Bridgetown Port staff to clear 28 cars and two service barges from the UK through Customs, plus two from Trinidad & Tobago, then deliver them to ‘Rally Central’ at Bushy Park Barbados.

All but one of the 42 overseas cars entered in the region’s biggest annual motor sport International are now in the island; double winner Paul Bird’s Ford Focus WRC08 will be the last to arrive, when it lands at the Grantley Adams International Airport, where daily passenger arrivals will carry the number of visitors past 350, those from the Caribbean and North America joined by long-haul travellers from as far afield as New Zealand.

Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “It has been a busy weekend, with a good turn-out of marshals for training; more than 70 volunteers participated, including members of all three teams that support the Club, along with Roving Response crews, who also play an integral part in the volunteer network that supports motor sport. I think it is safe to say that the location, the variety and the hands-on nature of the training was well received, instructive and it’s timing ideal, leading into the two busiest weekends of motor sport on the local calendar.”

The training was arranged in three components – Medical, Fire and Communications (use of flags and radios) – with the volunteers rotating between the three designated areas for training, roughly 90 minutes spent in each area. The Medical module was split further into three half-hour sessions, dealing with first responder, first aid, and pre-hospital patient management; in the Fire module, marshals were given hands-on training in the use of extinguishers, including dealing with an actual car fire, along with demonstrations of the Jaws of Life; in the final module, volunteers were reminded of the importance of radio protocol and the correct use of flags in dealing with emergencies.

Hamilton added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who participated or worked behind the scenes from an organisational perspective: Dr Brian Charles and his medical team, Jason Merkel and the team from Regional Fire & Safety, as well as the radio and flag instructors Clive Lord and Kreigg Yearwood, who provided the various training modules.”

Rally Club praises record-breaking Bridgetown Port operation

Once the Geest Line freighter Baltic Klipper docked at the Bridgetown Port soon after sunrise on Saturday morning, a finely-tuned operation got under way. Volunteers from the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), led by Sol RB Rally Office Manager Jeanne Crawford, worked until late afternoon, helped by Bridgetown Port and Customs personnel to off-load 28 rally cars and two service barges, process the paperwork, then transport them to ‘Rally Central’ at Bushy Park Barbados, St Philip . . . and all in record time.

Sol RB18 Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “That was a top job by Jeanne and her band of helpers . . . all the cars off the boat and up to Rally Central in one day, record stuff. It takes team-work to make this happen, especially on a Saturday, and we would like to thank Barbados Port Inc, Barbados Customs & Excise Department, The Ministry of Finance, our broker Codgies Customs Services, who all played a very important role in ensuring this could happen. Thanks to our volunteers Dave Crawford, Derek Edwards, Graham Gittens, Jeremy Gonsalves, Roger Hill, Clive Howell, Dane Skeete and Barry Ward, also Bunny Edghill and the staff on duty at Shed 4 for both Customs and Barbados Port Inc for making sure the whole day went so well. Finally, and certainly not least, our wrecker drivers Alvin, Curtis and Soldier Man, who worked tirelessly until after midnight to move the cars to Bushy Park.”

The local Club volunteers were repaying the enthusiasm shown by a group of the event’s regular British competitors, who had worked at Dover on the first Sunday in May to load the Baltic Klipper. Jeanne Crawford says: “Now the cars are safely tucked up in Rally Central, I must remember to thank the guys in the UK for the time they put in to load them just three weeks ago. The move to Dover meant they were working in a different location, and with Port personnel who were new to them, and there were some new members of our volunteer gang, too, so thanks to Stuart Austin, Andrew Costin-Hurley, Dan Coxhead, Stephen Gregory, Dick and Kathy Mauger, Paul Rees, Brandon Smith, Martin Stockdale and Nigel Worswick.”

Sol Rally Barbados (June 1-3) and Flow King of the Hill (May 27) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Title sponsors: The Sol Group and Flow. Major partners: Automotive Art, Banks, Chefette, Simpson Motors, Toyo Tires. Partners: Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, Tourism Development Corporation. Associate sponsor: Stoute’s Car Rental

%d bloggers like this: