Skip navigation

Alongside the steady growth in the FIA R5 class for Sol Rally Barbados 2020, there is continued support for the more traditional four-wheel-drive classes. Confirmed today are entries for Ireland’s Peter Gallagher and Rupert Lomax from North Wales, each of whom will campaign a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI in the Modified 4 class, carrying the 4wd entries already posted on-line into double figures.

The 31st running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, round three of the 2020 FIA NACAM Championship, is scheduled for Friday to Sunday, May 29 to 31, with The Rally Show and Flow King of the Hill the previous weekend. 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.

Plant Hire contractor Lomax will compete in Sol RB for the sixth time, with local co-driver Kareem Gaskin sitting in to replace his regular partner Dave Alcock, who is unable to make the trip. Lomax and Alcock have been rallying together since 1998, front-runners in the British Historic Rally Championship in a Ford Escort MkI RS1600 and winners of the Association of North Western Car Clubs Championship. Lomax returns with the Evo VI in which he and Alcock claimed their best result in the island: having finished 13th the previous year, they beat Ireland’s Joe McQuillan (Evo IX) to 11th place by 14/100ths of a second in Sol RB15 after an event-long battle, winning Group A both times. An unsuccessful switch to an Evo VIII, which Lomax drove for the first time at Bushy Park just ahead of Sol RB16, resulted in their only DNF on the island.

With sponsorship from DigIt Plant Hire, SMS Motorsport, GMC Concrete, AMS Mitsubishi, Pallet Truck Man and Ash Engineering, the Evo VI is undergoing a rebuild. Lomax, whose also races in the British Autograss Championship, said: “We’re just getting the Evo ready, then will do some testing; it’s got a few upgrades. We also have an Impreza we’re hoping to have ready for the Chester Revival Rally, then I’m doing the first autograss of the year at Mallow in Ireland the weekend before King of the Hill.”

Irish jewellery designer Gallagher is clocking up his 14th entry, the third in his Dublin Crystal Evo VI, in which Jonny Leonard was a class-winner in the 2017 Irish Forestry Championship; he and regular local co-driver Rene Forde are hoping for a better run than recently: “Last year was a bit of a disaster. After a solid run on King of the Hill, the night stages were a different kettle of fish, and we never really got into a rhythm before the clutch let go just as we crossed the finish line on Saturday’s first stage. We got the clutch rebuilt for a run in the Sunday Cup, but then the intercooler pipe blew off, so we had no boost. We screwed it back on several times, but couldn’t use anti-lag, so kept going (slowly) and finished eighth.

“Fair play to fellow competitors, too many to mention, who lent a hand to get us back out for a run on Sunday. It is typical of the spirit of the competitors on Rally Barbados, and another reason why I love coming back year after year! Last year was the first time we had on-board video (actually it was the first time I had ever seen myself on one), so we have spent the winter analysing the footage and, along with a re-tune of the ecu, we would be hopeful of shaving a good few seconds off our times.”

‘Test stage’ a new addition to Rally Club calendar

The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 2020 calendar has been expanded to include a ‘Test Stage’ to give both competitors and volunteers a pre-season refresher. Ahead of the Club’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 5, the season got under way today (Saturday, February 22) with the first round of its Autocross Championship at Bushy Park; completing the Club’s disciplines, the Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship kicks off on Sunday, March 15.

The new ‘Test Stage’ is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, the day before the Motoring Club’s (MCBI) Speed Event. BRC PRO Neil Barnard explained: “The BRC stage will be at Orange Hill and run from roughly 2.00pm to 5.30pm. It will be very short and drivers will be able to drive it as many times as they wish; it will not be timed, but will run exactly as a speed event, with all the necessary safety and so forth. After the long winter break, it’s a chance for everyone to shake off the rust; it will give our volunteers the opportunity to work together again and the competitors, many of whom have new or upgraded machinery, a useful shake down.”

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB20 marks the 13th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fifth by communications provider Flow.

%d bloggers like this: