courtesy of BRC/Image Vault, Dane Skeete in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12 won both directions of the MCBI Spring Blaze 22 as rallying returned to the roads

UK friends to reunite at Sol Rally Barbados 2022

As rallying returned to the island’s roads last Sunday (March 27) for the first time since December 2020, fans had their first chance to gauge form ahead of the new season, during which the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is celebrating its 65th Anniversary. The club’s blue riband event, Sol Rally Barbados 2022, is scheduled for the weekend of June 4 & 5, with King of the Hill on the previous Sunday (May 29).
  More than 30 cars turned out for last weekend’s Motoring Club Barbados Inc (MCBI) double-header Spring Blaze 22, as spectators lined the 4.7-kilometre course running from Cliff to Society, St John. The event, which comprised four runs in each direction, also counted towards the new R5 Rally Championship presented by First Citizens, which had kicked off with a Sprint at Bushy Park the day before.
  While Dane Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) won Sunday’s event in both directions, Stuart Maloney emerged as R5 points leader in his Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo after three events, ahead of Jeff Panton (Ford Fiesta R5), who left the road on his final run, with Roger Hill (Fabia) and Sol Esuf (Fiesta) tied in third. Driving his uncle Stuart’s older Fabia, FIA F3 racer Zane Maloney had beaten him on Saturday then in the first direction on Sunday in his first experience of road rallying, but is not registered for points.
  Of a healthy entry of six in SuperModified 2, Barry Mayers won in the first direction and finished fifth overall, beating all but three of the R5s in his rear-wheel-drive Fiesta, while Andrew Jones (Ford Escort MkII) came out on top in the reverse run, also ahead of a couple of R5s. After issues on his second run in the first event, Mark Thompson returned in the reverse runs to plant his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX firmly in contention, fifth overall, behind Skeete, Stuart Maloney, Panton and Esuf.
  Edward Corbin (M1 Daihatsu Charmant) and Sean Corbin (C2 BimmaCup) were class-winners in both directions, while Calvin Briggs (Ford Sierra) and Shawn Eversley (Suzuki Swift) shared the honours in Group B.

UK friends to reunite at Sol Rally Barbados 2022

Britain’s Howard Paterson, whose ninth-place finish in the 1991 International All-Stage Rally was the first overseas result in the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, returns to Sol Rally Barbados this year marking his 50th year in competition. Once again Paterson and his wife Ruth will reunite with friends and former team-mates Sean Kukula and Simon Nutter, 15 years after they tackled the 10-day Caminos del Incas in Peru in a matching pair of Skoda Fabias. The Patersons finished 23rd overall in 2007, the first British crew to complete the event since Tony Fall won in 1969 in a Ford Escort, Ruth also the first female to finish in event’s 41-year history.
  Since the 1983 Himalayan Rally, Paterson has contested more than 100 International rallies; his CV includes iconic events such as the London to Mexico, London to Sydney and the Safari, and he has won championship titles as both co-driver (1985 British GpB 1600) and driver (1999 Middle East F2, 2006 FIA Dubai RallySprint). Paterson will be competing in Barbados for the fifth time, his 1991 result coming in a Volkswagen Golf GTI, followed by two further finishes, in 2016 and ’18, in the ex-Incas Fabia.
  His best result, with Kukula co-driving, came in Sol RB20, when they finished 15th overall, collecting the trophy for Highest-Placed Overseas Rwd and winning Clubman 3 in the Mazda RX-8 he will drive again this year, with wife Ruth co-driving. Nutter and his wife Fiona Udale also competed in Sol RB20, but not with the same degree of success; after the engine of their Toyota Corolla had been rebuilt by local engineer Peter Hinkson and his crew after a testing failure, they ran strongly early on, only for the engine to let go again on Saturday’s fifth stage, when they were running 25th overall.
  In common with Paterson, Nutter is a former FIA Middle East F2 Rally Champion and has competed extensively over many years in cars ranging from a Ford Escort RS1700T to a Subaru Impreza. After a dnf in Sol RB16 in his Inca Fabia with son Robert as co-driver, he returned with the Corolla and daughter Sonia Dent on the notes two years later - 44th overall and fourth in Modified 1 - then in Sol RB20 with wife Fiona. For 2022, the Corolla is sponsored by Scotty's Cheap Car Hire, the Coral Mist Beach Hotel and Udale Speciality Foods.
  Kukula, who was co-driver to both Paterson and Nutter on occasions in their Middle East campaigns, also to Ruth Paterson on the two events she contested in the region, returns to Barbados for the third time with his Ford Escort MkII, known as Wilma. In Sol RB16, he finished 38th and second in Historic 2, but a catalogue of issues resulted in a dnf two years later. Plans to mark his 50th birthday on Sol RB20 were thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic, but his employers, the motor sport equipment & parts business Competition Supplies Limited have sponsored his entry this year as a belated 50th birthday present, which is a good fit as his co-driver and partner Emma Arthur also celebrates a significant birthday on the Friday of Sol RB22 weekend.

Sol Rally Barbados and King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates its 65th Anniversary in 2022; Sol RB22 marks the 15th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

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