You name it, he’s done it . . . if it involves motor sport!
Announcer, Clerk of the Course, driver, marshal, navigator, route-setter, Steward . . . over the past nearly 40 years in Barbados, at some point or another St Vincent-born Dave Barnard has been all of these things. And he is involved to this day, as Senior Steward of Rally Barbados . . . a task for which his previous experience makes him ideal.
You might say he’s married to the Club. Wrong! He married the daughter of the Club’s longest-serving Chairman, Trevor Gale, which amounts to the same thing. He first competed in Barbados in 1967; his early mentions include special stage winner in the ‘68 June Rally in a Hillman Hunter, while his second place in a dexterity test in an Austin-Healey Sprite to Michael Gill’s Mini-Cooper, by just three seconds in 300, might have sounded better, had he not beaten his future father-in-law by 15 seconds, displaying a trait for diplomacy (or not), which has never left him.
Barnard is one of the very few to have won the June Rally from both sides of the car; having finished fourth as navigator in John Springer’s Ford Escort GT in 1969, Barnard won as a driver two years later with John Bain from Grenada in a Fiat 128. The 1971 Esso June 500 was, in fact, nearer 600, and probably the toughest ever – testing driver (particularly the Safari-type special stage from The Chase to Morgan Lewis) and navigator (the whole of the last section was by modified straight-line diagram), it established the reputations of both Barnard and Bain.
Barnard tended toward front-wheel-drive cars (pictured below at Bulkeley in 1981 in an event winning production standard Mazda 323), although he still regrets selling his Fiat 124 Sport to Michael Mahon; a Mini Clubman followed shortly after, red with a black roof – in this, he raced on the dirt surface at Bushy Park, also once it was paved, although an accident in late 1971 put him out of action for a few months.
There were two more June Rally victories to come, in 1983, this time as navigator to Mike Atwell in a Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo, then four years later, he crossed the floor of the house once again, to win as driver, with Kevyn Yearwood navigating. Although committee membership is not his forte, he did serve briefly, and his days as announcer perched on the roof of the Bushy Park Clubhouse, risking life, limb and sunburn, should not be forgotten, either. And that’s without mentioning horse-racing . . . or going out on events with wife Celine supporting son Neil!