1957 - 66 The Early Days
Against the background of a world recovering from the Suez crisis and the resultant fuel shortages, the formation of a new club devoted to motor sport appears an unlikely event. That it should occur on an island occupying just 166 square miles on the edge of the Caribbean Sea ought to reduce the odds even further.
But that is exactly what happened in the summer of 1957. As Founder Member and incumbent Club President Bill Mallalieu proudly states, the Barbados Rally Club is the longest–established club in the island devoted to a sport that does not involve a ball. Regionally, it is also the oldest motor sport club still bearing its original name.
And one of the core values of the Club that is evident to this day, the involvement of family, was very much key to its creation. As the Club celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2007 with a programme of special events, the membership encompasses many second– and even third–generation competitors, cheered on proudly by parents and grand–parents, who raced or rallied in days gone by.
Towards the end of 1956, engineer David Massiah was driving back to Sion Hill in the parish of St James – the Massiah family home – from a bird–watching expedition to Long Pond; sitting alongside him in his Triumph TR2 sports car was one Captain Maurice Hutt, a former British Army officer, now a history teacher at Harrison College, and part–time ornithologist.
Their journey took them through Rock Hall Hill in St Andrew, one of many roads in Barbados that would be considered prime rallying country by any motoring enthusiast, then or now – remarkable in itself, in an island measuring just 21 miles long by 14 miles wide. Apparently, the words uttered were “what a hill for a motor rally” and, while it is not known which one said it, the creation of the June Rally and subsequently the Club, were the results.
As Mallalieu remembers: “They continued discussions about this at Sion Hill, where Wilfrid Massiah, Sam Ward and I joined in. After sleeping on it for a few days, we got together again and decided to make a serious effort to organise a rally.” Like Hutt, estate agent Mallalieu and River Plantation manager Ward were (or were soon to be) related by marriage to David Massiah, who was cousin to Wilfrid, a teacher at Lodge School . . . the seeds of the Club, which would have family as one of its core strengths, were already being sown.
In early 1957, a meeting was arranged at the Hotel Royal. In addition to the five from Sion Hill, that original ad hoc committee comprised Dennis Bannister, the manager of ABC Motors, Frank Hutchinson of Chelsea Garage, Hutt’s wife Hazel, Mallalieu’s cousin Fred, who worked for Barclays Bank, Geoffrey Manning, a planter of Golden Grove, David McKenzie, the manager of Ford dealer Charles McEnearney & Co Ltd, and Graham Wilkes, at the time a teacher at Lodge School but later Founder and Principal of Mapps College.
Circulars were mailed to as many interested parties as the members of this committee could think of and the inaugural June Rally was run on Sunday, June 16, 1957.
Read More in 0-50: The Barbados Rally Club, 1957-2007.
Written by Robin Bradford.
To purchase this book, please contact the Barbados Rally Club.
Founder Member Bill Mallalieu was also a fierce competitor, whose choice of car more often than not guaranteed he would be entertaining to watchRead More >