2007 and beyond The Future

Approaching the end of its fifth decade, the Barbados Rally Club started to plan its 50th Anniversary celebrations, with changes in the pipeline for the ‘big picture’ of motor sport that might help the Club achieve one of its core aims, that of securing a sustainable future for the sport.

Although the creation of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) in 2000 had removed the Club’s status as the national governing body, it retains an equal voice on the BMF with its five fellow members: the Barbados Auto Racing League (BARL, race organiser at Bushy Park), Barbados Automobile Association (BAA), Barbados Karting Association (BKA), Motoring Club of Barbados Inc (MCBI) and the Vaucluse Raceway Motor Sport Club (VRMSC).

A key aim of the BMF was to create a central voice in motor sport’s relationship with the authorities, over potentially-contentious issues such as road closures; the clubs now submit their proposed dates to the BMF, which draws up the annual calendar.

A Motor Sport Task Force was created, including representatives from the BMF and various Government departments and ministries. As 0 to 50 went to press, the completed Task Force report, including recommendations for the duty-free importation of competition cars and components, was awaiting ratification. If given the go-ahead, its implementation would certainly pave the way for the Club to plan its Centenary in 2057.

As Barry Gale explains: “Government certainly appears to have taken notice of Rally Barbados and the Barbados Rally Carnival, seeing them as a potentially-important part of the sports tourism product; my feeling is that this has helped grease the wheels to some degree. Interaction with officials in the various departments and Ministries has become easier over the last couple of years, so I think we’re all on the right track.”

Certainly, 2007 started on a high note, with healthy entries for the first two events on the calendar; the opening round of the Safari Championship attracted 36 crews, more than half of them entered in the novice class, promising further continued growth in the sport of navigational rallying. In addition, a few ‘old hands’ returned, including former June Rally winner Hal Hunte, to play themselves in gently in readiness for the 50th Anniversary June Safari.  

After a successful trial in 2006, each event in the Championship now includes at least one driver’s challenge in each route, giving the driver the chance for more direct input into the crew’s overall result, rather than purely playing chauffeur; the 2006 Driver’s Champion Leslie Alleyne also decided to take a year out of competition, to monitor each Safari to ensure compliance with the sub-committee’s guidelines, and thereby consistency through the season.

Alongside the four annual championship events, the Club started to run practice events, on paved roads or good tracks, where people could use a road car to learn the basics of navigation, also a Table-Top Rally, where competitors were required to plot routes correctly on to a map in the shortest possible time.

Support for the first round of the Texaco BRC Rally Championship also suggested that the 50th Anniversary season would be a success, with 24 crews an unusually high number for the first rally of the season. Spectator attendances for both events were also very good, island fans starved of competition for more than three months.

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.

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