First Citizens King of the Hill moves to new location

RB23 First Citizens King of the Hill

The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) confirmed today (Friday) that King of the Hill (KotH), the sprint used since 2008 to seed the running order for Sol Rally Barbados, will be staged at a new location this year, but with continued title sponsorship from First Citizens Group. To be staged on Sunday, June 4, the event returns to the east of the island, running on a 4.1-kilometre course from St Philip into St John.
  The First Citizens Group became title sponsor of KotH in 2022, expanding on its initial move into motor sport sponsorship in the island with the Barbados Motoring Federation’s (BMF) R5 Rally Championship. The company, which has a wide footprint across the Eastern Caribbean in Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Costa Rica and its flagship location, Trinidad and Tobago, is also continuing its support of that championship, of which KotH will be the second round.
  This year’s route for First Citizen’s King of the Hill is a revised and extended version of a stage the BRC last ran in the Winter Rally in 2020, as Sol RB23 Rally Director Neil Barnard explains: “The stage starts at Palmers, at the bottom of Stewarts Hill in St Philip, and heads towards Codrington, taking a sharp left up the steep hill that leads towards Society Plantation, where it turns right to finish outside Colleton Plantation Yard in St John. It’s about 4km long – the average length for a KotH event - and boy does it have a bit of everything! The steep hill, crests, its tight and technical in places and very fast in others.
  “We have to thank The Codrington Trust for working with us on this. There are some fantastic spots to see the action, but we ask that everyone pays close attention to where they can and cannot spectate from, as safety is as usual our number one priority. We will ensure everyone knows well in advance where those areas are."
  The CEO of First Citizens, Cheryl-Ann La Roche said: “We at First Citizens were delighted with the success of our involvement in last year’s King of the Hill and look forward again to sharing the passion, thrills and the engagement of competitors and fans at one of the premier events on the local rally calendar.”
  Barnard added: “As we all know, King of the Hill is the event that turns the ‘rally hype’ volume up to full ahead of Sol Rally Barbados and we are delighted that First Citizens will be our partner once again for what promises to be a thrilling day out.”
  After the inaugural event in 2008 at Turners Hall in St Andrew, KotH moved venues, first to Stewarts Hill, then Sailor Gully in St Peter, before finding a more permanent home on Hangmans Hill in St Thomas, where it ran from 2011 to 2018, apart from 2013, when it moved to Luke Hill in St Lucy. After two years back at Stewarts Hill, then the 2021 event lost to the pandemic, KotH returned to a heavily revised course in St Thomas, ending in the Vaucluse Raceway, where 18-year-old FIA Formula 3 racer Zane Maloney became the youngest-ever winner and the first from the FIA R5 class.
  Jamaica's Jeff Panton has won a record four times, back-to-back between 2016, when he tied with Simon Jean-Joseph after a rain-affected final run, and 2019, with Roger Skeete a three-time winner (2009, '11 & '15). Paul Bourne (2008 & '10) and England's Paul Bird (2012 & '14) have each won twice and Dane Skeete (2022) once, while Neil Armstrong has the distinction of being the only driver to have won overall (2013) and been Top 2wd (2011). Roger Mayers claimed his fifth 2wd win last year, while his brother Barry, Armstrong, Josh Read and Ian Warren have won twice each, with single victories claimed by Sean Gill and Rhett Watson.

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 First Citizens 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 Sol RB23.

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