Stockdale and Costin-Hurley back for Sol Rally Barbados

image courtesy Barbados Rally Club/Image Vault, Feted by local fans for his flamboyant driving style, Martin ‘Mad-Dale’ Stockdale returns to compete in the Barbados Rally Club’s blue riband event for the 21st time

With 20 trips to compete in the Barbados Rally’s Club (BRC) blue riband event already under his belt, Britain’s Martin Stockdale is again preparing his BMW 1M Coupe to head across the Atlantic for this year’s 33rd running of the event. Sol Rally Barbados 2023 will run over the weekend of June 9-11 with The Rally Show on Saturday, June 3, and King of the Hill the following day; on-line entries close on Friday, April 28.

  Second to ‘Mad-Dale’ in the list of overseas competitors who have logged the most visits is former Indy Car and Formula 1 engineer Andrew Costin-Hurley, who is bringing his self-designed and built Ford Puma Evo for the 18th time. And, while Stockdale’s co-driver Graeme Wood is new to the event, Costin-Hurley will be accompanied by another of the event’s regular participants Rob Brook, who has not only competed – he shares three Group B class wins in the Puma - but also acted as a visiting official in the past.
  Stockdale has missed only one event, Sol RB20, since his first visit in 2001, his best overall finish coming the following year, seventh, when he also won the Modified Open class and the trophy as highest-placed overseas crew in his original M3. He finished 12th overall and second in SuperModified 11 in his M3 GTR in 2007 and has also won Group B (twice), the Sunday Cup and the highest-placed non-national Rwd trophies (twice).
  Driving the BMW 1M Coupe he built in 2015, he and Wood will compete in SM2, supported by Canems Engine Management, Drive-a-Matic Car Rentals, Astleyfab Erection Specialists and Divi Southwinds Beach Resort. Stockdale has rallied only once since Sol RB22: “I had a good rally at Leckonfield in August, finished last year 12th overall and third in class. I haven't done any events since but son Thomas has been using the car: he did the Deenethorpe Stages in November, 10th overall and second in class – Rob Swann won that in his Fiesta WRC - and then the Dukeries Rally at Donington Park, where he and Emma Morrison were 17th overall and fourth in class.”
  Although he and Stockdale have competed only once together, on the Abingdon CAR-nival Stages in 2020, one of the very few rallies run during the height of the coronavirius pandemic, Wood has a long history as a co-driver, sitting for many years with Ian Joel’s Ford Escort Cosworth; their cv includes three consecutive finishes on the Network Q RAC Rally, Britain’s former round of the World Rally Championship, along with wins and podiums in a number of forest events.
  Costin-Hurley is another who rarely rallies outside Barbados but has done extensive work on his Puma since Sol RB22: “We were frustrated by uncharacteristic reliability issues, perhaps related to the car getting on a bit - it's 22 years since I built it. The alternator failed about 100m off the start line on SS1, but we made it back to service before the battery went flat. With the generous and swift help of local mechanics (the like of which there is truly no comparison) the alternator went across the island for repair and test, returning so speedily that we were out again for SS4.
  “It was good to be back in the rally, but shortly after the start of SS6 one of the rear stub shafts sheared in two. I've never broken one in the UK in 60 plus events, but in Barbados this has proved to be the car's Achilles heel; this was the third such failure and I suspect the exhilarating, but brutal, Dark Hole stage was the most likely culprit. Not wishing for a repeat I have upgraded the entire rear hub assemblies from a mix of Group A and Group N parts to hopefully bullet-proof full WRC spec.”
  An outing with Brook on a UK event also revealed an engine issue, so a full rebuild is nearly complete, along with a further few upgrades to enhance performance for this year's event.

Sol Rally Barbados (June 9-11) is a tarmac rally, with around 20 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Water Resources; the King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ (June 4), runs under a similar arrangement and features four timed runs on a roughly four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for RB23.

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