BIRD WINS, T&T’S POWELL 3rd IN FINAL SOL RALLY BARBADOS SHAKEDOWN
Thousands gather for Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill
Britain’s Paul Bird won yesterday’s (June 3) Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill, the final shakedown ahead of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International. He is the first overseas driver to win in the five-year history of the event, and goes in to next weekend’s (June 9/10) Sol Rally Barbados in a confident mood.
With regular co-driver, Scotland’s Kirsty Riddick, alongside him in the Frank Bird Poultry/Fuchs-Silkolene Ford Focus WRC08, the former National Rally Champion was fourth in the practice run up the 3.4-kilometre Hangman’s Hill course, just over a second behind last year’s KotH winner Roger Skeete (Sol/Michelin/Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre/Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12).
Between Skeete (1m 52.65s) and Bird (1:53.84) were fellow-Brit Steve Perez (Kick Energy Drink Focus WRC07) and local ace Sean Gill (Simpson Motors/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art/Monster Energy Drink Suzuki SX4 WRC), with Jamaica’s Jeff Panton fifth, in his first tarmac outing in his recently-acquired Focus WRC06.
Having lost around 20 seconds to the leaders with a practice run spin, Trinidad’s John Powell (Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services/FT Farfan/Shell Impreza WRC S14), was fastest on the first official run with 1:50.42, ahead of Bird (1:50.77), Skeete (1:51.32), Gill (1:52.17) and Panton (1:52.78).
Bird was the first (and only) driver to dip below 1:50 – his second official run would be his best, at 1:49.18; Powell and Skeete were second and third, but switched places on the final run, to complete the podium finishers. Panton improved to place fourth, ahead of Gill and Perez, who missed the final run when his oil cooler split. On his second visit, Britain’s Roger Duckworth drew appreciative cheers from spectators for his handling of the Vaucluse 90-right in the Intrinsys/Kumho Impreza WRC on his way to seventh.
Having finished third in 2010, then second last year, ‘Birdy’s victory was welcome: “We’ve never won Rally Barbados but, now we’ve won King of the Hill, it’s good for confidence going into next week. We tried some new settings using a suspension we haven’t used since Rally Spain in 2009 and the car was quicker and firmer on the slippy Bajan tarmac.”
Skeete said: “The anti-lag motor gave trouble, which delayed our progress – only getting it fixed for the final run which wasn’t soon enough, but it was a wonderful day.” Powell was also satisfied: “The plan was to be right there with the boys, then back it off for runs three and four to conserve the car. We had a spin right in front of everybody in the VIP!”
Twice winner of KotH Paul Bourne (Chefette/LIME/Slam 101/MQI/Banks/Castrol Ford Focus WRC07) was not so happy: “It couldn’t have gone much worse. The launch was fouling out on runs two, three and four and, to cap it off, I slid up a bank on the last run right in front of the VIP tent.”
The best of the two-wheel-drives were snapping at the heels of the World Rally Cars. In practice, Ian Warren (Automotive Art/Simpson Motors/Degree Suzuki Swift) was sixth, Brett Clarke (SM10 Citroen C2 S1600) seventh and Stuart Maloney (Automotive Art/Sign Station/Valvoline Peugeot 306 Maxi) 10th.
On the first official run, Neil Armstrong (Chefette/Lubriguard/Hankook Tyres/Nassco/Redline Fuels/ARMAG Rentals Toyota Starlet) moved ahead, and would not be bettered, ending the day eighth overall (1:53.53), SM10 winner and top 2wd as last year. While Warren and Clarke both ran second to Armstrong, Clarke prevailed, improving by 1.8secs on his last run (1:55.86) to finish 10th in one of the day’s most impressive drives.
Another to dig deep on the last run was Logan Watson (Oreo/Chips Ahoy!/Club Social/Formula1 High Performance Auto Care Products/Liquid Wrench/Sign Depot/The Unknown Entity/In support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3), whose 1:57.35 put him ahead of Maloney for the first time in the day, for victory in SuperModified 11 and 12th overall.
In Group N and Group A, the winners were Geoff Noel (Globe Finance/Sentry Insurance Brokers/Cargo Solutions International/Mix 96.9FM/CIAC Air Conditioners Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Avinash Chatrani (Electric Avenue/Hankook/Solder Seal Gunk/Niagra Water/Sign Station Evo VI) for the second year in a row.
Local drivers Carlos Edwards (SM9 Starlet), Daryl Clarke (M7 Honda Civic), Neil Corbin (M6 Starlet), Sean Cox (M5 Suzuki Swift Gti) and Jeremy Croney (Clubman Peugeot 206) were all class-winners, but there was also good news for the overseas contingent.
Returnee Andrew Siddall (Ford Escort MkI) beat Tim Pearcey (Escort RS1800) to the line in the all-English Historic battle, while Welshman Gary Thomas (Escort MkII) won Clubman Historic. Glenn Campbell (NIR) and Stuart Deeley (ENG) finished second and third in M5 in their Nissan Micras, and there were third-place finishes for Irish newcomers Joe McQuillan (Group A Evo VII), Martin Donnelly (Group N Evo IX), and Matt Shinnors (SM9 Escort MkII).
Scotland’s Kenny Hall (Ford Puma S1600) started the 10th anniversary of his first visit on the wrong foot, missing the practice and first official runs to resolve fuel pump issues; he still managed third in M6, however. Meanwhile fellow-Scot Allan Mackay in the famous Ford Anglia WRC seems to have a challenger for his International Mr Entertainment crown, as Ireland’s Raymond Conlon was certainly thrilling the crowd in his sideways Toyota Corolla.
In the only major incident of the day, Graeme Finlayson rolled his Group A Evo III shortly after the finish line; while he and co-driver Orville Bruce escaped with some bruising, the car was damaged beyond immediate repair.
Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) and Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill (June 3) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Climate Control, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Scotiabank and Stoute’s Car Rental.
SOL GO FURTHER/SCOTIABANK KING OF THE HILL 2012
Key to nationalities (competitor from Barbados unless shown): ARG – Argentina; CDN – Canada; ENG – England; IRL – Republic of Ireland; JAM – Jamaica; NED – The Netherlands; NIR – Northern Ireland; RSA – South Africa; SCO – Scotland; TRI – Trinidad & Tobago; WAL – Wales
1st Paul Bird – ENG/Kirsty Riddick – SCO (M8-WRC Frank Bird Poultry/Fuchs-Silkolene Ford Focus WRC08), 1m 49.18s
2nd Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia (M8-WRC Sol/Michelin/Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre/Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12), 1m 50.26s
3rd John Powell – TRI/Nicholas Telfer – TRI (M8-WRC Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services/FT Farfan/Shell Subaru Impreza WRC S14), 1m 50.42s
4th Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM (M8-WRC Ford Focus WRC06), 1m 51.24s
5th Sean Gill/Michael Cummins (M8-WRC Simpson Motors/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art/Monster Energy Drink Suzuki SX4 WRC), 1m 51.50s
6th Steve Perez – ENG/Paul Spooner – WAL (M8-WRC Kick Energy Drink Ford Focus WRC07), 1m 52.29s
7th Roger Duckworth – ENG/Gary Digger – ENG (M8-WRC Intrinsys/Kumho Subaru Impreza WRC), 1m 53.38s
8th Neil Armstrong/Barry Ward (SM10 Chefette/Lubriguard/Hankook Tyres/Nassco/Redline Fuels/ARMAG Rentals Toyota Starlet), 1m 53.53s
9th Dean Serrao/Josh Delmas (M8-WRC Sugar Ultra Lounge/Rush Restaurant Subaru Impreza WRC S9), 1m 55.83s
10th Brett Clarke/Garry Clarke (SM10 Citroen C2 S1600), 1m 55.86s
Modified 8-WRC: 1st Bird/Riddick; 2nd Skeete/Venezia; 3rd Powell/Telfer; etc
M8-A: 1st Avinash Chatrani/Martin Goddard (Electric Avenue/Hankook/Solder Seal Gunk/Niagra Water/Sign Station Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI), 2m 00.55s – 22nd o/a; 2nd Graeme Finlayson – SCO/Orville Bruce (www.racedandrallied.com Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III), 2m 03.50s; 3rd Joe McQuillan – NIR/Neill Finlay – NIR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII), 2m 10.44s
P4: 1st Geoff Noel/Kreigg Yearwood (Globe Finance/Sentry Insurance Brokers/Cargo Solutions International/Mix 96.9FM/CIAC Air Conditioners Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 1m 57.72s – 14th o/a; 2nd Mark Hamilton/Clive Howell (CIBC-FCIB/Simpson Motors/MAXI Malta/PowerMaster/Boston Seasoning/Automotive Art Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 1m 59.69s; 3rd Martin Donnelly – IRL/Colin Fitzgerald – IRL (Eire Concrete Inc Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 2m 03.02s; etc
SuperModified 11: 1st Logan Watson/Rhett Watson (Oreo/Chips Ahoy!/Club Social/Formula1 High Performance Auto Care Products/Liquid Wrench/Sign Depot/The Unknown Entity/In support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3), 1m 57.35s – 13th o/a; 2nd Stuart Maloney/Trevor Perkins (Automotive Art/Sign Station/Valvoline Peugeot 306 Maxi), 1m 57.90s; 3rd Sammy Cumberbatch/Nicholas Yarde (LIME/F Taylor Associates/Castrol BMW M3), 1m 59.15s; etc
SM10: 1st Armstrong/Ward; 2nd Clarke/Clarke; 3rd Ian Warren/Robert Warren (Automotive Art/Simpson Motors/Degree Suzuki Swift), 1m 56.79s; etc
SM9: 1st Carlos Edwards/Andre Waithe (Courts I-Finance/Enermax Toyota Starlet), 2m 08.51s – 44th o/a; 2nd Allan Maynard/Marcus Beck (Marshal Trading/Roberts Manufacturing Toyota Starlet), 2m 12.40s; 3rd Matt Shinnors – IRL/Catherine Levis – IRL (www.vetcar.ie Ford Escort MkII), 2m 12.91s; etc
Group B: 1st Geoffrey Ullyett/Jason King (Ullyett’s Machine Shop/Algae-X Fuel Conditioner Datsun 200T), 1m 58.52s – 16th o/a; 2nd Frans Verbaas – NED/Carina van Westen – NED (Mini Cooper S), 2m 08.68s; 3rd, Harold Morley – ENG/Mark Nelson – JAM (Ontrac Systems Barbados Porsche RSR GT3 Rally), 2m 09.57s; etc
Historic: 1st Andrew Siddall – ENG/Carl Williamson – WAL (Siddall and Hilton Ford Escort MkI), 2m 03.00s – 30th o/a; 2nd Tim Pearcey – ENG/Neil Shanks – SCO (Willowgreen Homes/Ravenol/Dunlop Ford Escort RS1800), 2m 06.74s; 3rd Ding Boston – ENG/Sophie Black – ENG (Phillips Tyres of Oxford/Geest Line/Huzier/NGK/Virgin Atlantic/Toyo Tires/Centor Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV), 2m 26.35s
M7: 1st Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (Ellco Rentals/Mom’s Pasta Products/MQI/Roberts Manufacturing Honda Civic), 2m 02.93s – 27th o/a; 2nd Adrian Linton/Jonathan Linton (Ravensden/Barbados Yellow Pages/JAD Performance/Garbage Gobbler/Innovative Security Solutions Vauxhall Astra SRi), 2m 03.27s; 3rd Jeremy Sisnett/Justin Sisnett (Ford Fiesta), 2m 08.19s; etc
M6: 1st Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (Nassco/Jason Jones/Auto Solutions/Castrol Toyota Starlet), 2m 05.65s – 39th o/a; 2nd Wayne Archer/Lucas Nicolao – ARG (Peugeot 206), 2m 11.54s; 3rd Kenny Hall – SCO/Fenny Wesselink – NED (Halltune Garage Ford Puma S1600), 2m 11.67s; etc
M5: 1st Sean Cox/Adam Cox (Simpson Motors/Gliptone/Johnsen’s Suzuki Swift Gti), 2m 13.16s – 60th o/a; 2nd Glenn Campbell – NIR/Jonathan MacDonald – NIR (Nissan Micra Kit Car), 2m 18.95s; 3rd Stuart Deeley – ENG/Alistair Dodd – ENG (Demon Tweeks Nissan Micra), 2m 24.53s; etc
Clubman Historic: 1st Gary Thomas – WAL/Phil Ralphs – WAL (Tsalta Motorsport/Cambrian Garages/Cambrian Land Rover Ford Escort MkII), 2m 07.18s – 41st o/a; 2nd Nigel Reece/David Reece (Subzero Services/IGM Air Conditioners/Ullyetts Machine Shop Service/Valvoline/Gatorade/Frito-Lay/Trident International Ford Escort MkI), 2m 08.27s; 3rd Greg Cozier/Andrew Croney (Hyundai Lubricants Ford Escort MkII), 2m 09.39s; etc
P2: 1st Fabien Clarke/Arlington Hoyte (Barbados Business Listings/RCR Tours/Bovell Auto Repair/Simple Trucking Suzuki Ignis Sport), 2m 35.28s – 80th o/a
Clubman: 1st Jeremy Croney/Damien Johnson (ReMax Lifestyles/Sweet Temptations/Sign Station/Gunk Peugeot 206), 2m 27.85s – 77th o/a; 2nd Shannon Kirton/Lisa Roett (Ullyett’s Machine Shop/Gomez & Western Services/Field Insurance Brokers/Cartique/Gatorade/Fritolay/Fingerprint Designs Datsun 120Y), 2m 34.89s; 3rd David Brewster/Alex Kirton (SRG Engineering/Castrol/Innovative Security Solutions Peugeot 205GTi), 2m 39.08s