Skip navigation

As individuals and organisations around the world mark International Women’s Day (Friday, March 8), island rallying’s most loyal overseas competitor, England’s Martin Stockdale, has confirmed that his co-driver for Sol Rally Barbados 2019 will be Emma Morrison. ‘Mad-dale’, as islands fans have dubbed him, returns for his 19th visit to compete, while multiple co-driving champion Emma is back for the second time, one of 16 women among the entries so far received on-line.

The 30th edition of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed by Flow King of the Hill at its new Stewarts Hill location on the Sunday; in three decades, it has evolved from small beginnings as the All-Stage Rally of 1990 into the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International and a key National Event on the island’s sports-tourism calendar.

While having a female ‘on the notes’ is an almost competely new experience for Stockdale – his wife Glenis sat with him once, as he put it “many moons ago” – he is confident of a successful outing: “Emma is an accomplished and experienced co-driver, who comes highly recommended. I’m sure she will be able to get me revved up and point me in the right direction. I’m really looking forward to it.”

With backing from Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Drive-a-Matic, Canems Engine Management and Quarry Motors, Stockdale returns in his 3-litre V6 Jaguar-engined BMW 1M Coupe, which runs this year in SuperModified 2 in the new three-year cycle of BRC Vehicle Regulations. Stockdale has rarely flown home without a trophy since his first visit in 2001 – his record includes two Group B wins and a host of class podiums – and he has been the highest-placed overseas rear-wheel-drive entry for the past two years.

He has not had chance to compete in the UK this year, as he has been busy on a virtual ‘production line’ of BMW 318ti Compacts for BimmaCup competitors in the Caribbean, and now also in the UK, but he hopes to get round to the Coupe shortly: “The car is going to get a few engine mods and a freshen up over the next few weeks, so it is ready for its fifth trip to Barbados.”

Morrison started rallying in a Land Rover with the Armed Forces Rally Team in 2002, winning her first Champion Co-driver title in 2005, adding a hat-trick in the British Army Motorsports Association Stage Rally Championship over the past three years; as she expanded her experience with AFRT, which also included events in Iceland and the Netherlands, she has become a co-driver much in demand. She was Champion Co-driver in the British Rally Championship Challenge in 2014, then BRC Class 5 in 2016, the same year winning the first of her two British Trials & Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) Lady Co-driver titles, the second coming last year.

Sitting with rapid teenager Tommi Meadows in his Ford Fiesta R2, Morrison finished an impressive 15th overall of 57 finishers in the 2018 Wales Rally GB National event and is committed to a full BTRDA campaign this year. With limited testing, they finished 30th overall and third in class in the opening round, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally last month, and are in action again tomorrow (Saturday) in the Malcolm Wilson Rally.

On her previous trip to Barbados, Morrison finished second in class as co-driver to Andrew Costin-Hurley (Ford Puma Cosworth) in Sol RB17, which included a record-equalling number of 18 female participants, with a new record of 23 set last year; both totals are around double the number an equivalent UK event would attract – Saturday’s Malcolm Wilson Rally, for instance, has 10 women co-drivers in an entry of 97 cars.

While delighted that men and women can participate on equal terms in rallying and would like to more to join in, Emma can see it from both sides: “Being able to multitask is key, also being calm and collected when things go wrong is a definite advantage. I won’t deny that I’ve sometimes got a better response to queries when dealing with organisers and officials than some of my male counterparts. Also, having a woman around can calm down situations.

“From the other side, it is difficult, sometimes expensive to get equipment that fits. I’ve often had to pay for more expensive helmets and so on, because the cheaper stuff is only in larger sizes. Rallying is definitely not glamorous and if you’re afraid of getting your hands dirty, then forests are not for you. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to change tyres in the rain covered in mud or lie under a car trying to fix it!”

Wholesale redesign of web site now live

The official web site of Sol Rally Barbados – rallybarbados.net – has undergone a thorough revamp at the hands of local graphic design company, 809 Design Associates; the new site, boasting a fresh new look, bold imagery and much-simplified navigation, went live last Thursday (February 28), coinciding with the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Annual General Meeting. The web site was built by another local business, Caribbean New Media, which also hosts it. The provisional entry list is now live and growing week by week as local competitors enter on-line and overseas crews confirm their participation.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: