Procter seeks elusive podium in Sol Rally Barbados

Kevin Procter (pictured in his Temsa Ford Fiesta at Bushy Park by Gerrard Wilson) finished fourth in Barbados for the fourth time last year

Marking the 20th Anniversary of his first trip to compete in the island, Britain’s Kevin Procter will return for Sol Rally Barbados next month with the Ford Fiesta S2000T in which he has finished fourth three times since 2017. Also confirmed today (May 2) are entries for Texas-based Scotsman Fraser Louden and fellow-Scot Ian Barclay, their Mitsubishi Evos bringing the entries in the four-wheel-drive classes to 20.
  Sol RB23, the 33rd running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, will start with a floodlit SuperSpecial at Bushy Park Barbados on Friday, June 9, with two days of action in the northern and eastern parishes culminating in a daylight SuperSpecial and Rally Finish back at the St Philip facility on Sunday. The Rally Show and First Citizens King of the Hill will be staged on the previous weekend, June 3 & 4.
  Procter will be competing for the 16th time since 2003, with 11 finishes in the top 10 to his credit and only four DNFs, most notably in Sol RB19. His first stage win in the island had looked set be followed by an elusive podium finish until the gearbox of his Procters Coaches & Bus Sales/Swift Signs & Shirts/Temsa Sales UK Fiesta let go on Saturday’s final stage, when he was lying in second place.
  He has competed in seven different cars, a Hyundai, two Subarus and four Fords, and with six different co-drivers, with Patrick Walsh, who shared that disappointing Sol RB19 retirement, returning for the fifth time. He has competed in the island twice each with Procter and the UK’s Graham Coffey, with whom he finished eighth and 12th in Sol RB17 & 18 in a Subaru Impreza WRC S12B. A veteran of more than 25 years in the co-driver’s seat, Walsh has won multiple Welsh, Irish or British titles, most recently the British Rally Championship with fellow Welshman Matt Edwards in 2019.
  Louden, whose business is based in Houston, Texas, returns for the fifth time, aiming to avoid a repeat of Sol RB20, when he looked set to maintain his 100 per cent finishing record: however, one corner from home and in sight of the finish marshals, he struck the Vaucluse Raceway chicane in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Proto, losing what would have been his highest overall finish, as he was lying 11th at the time.
  On his first visit to the island for Sol RB15, the former Scottish Rally Championship class-winner (2006, Ford Puma 1600) was dubbed the ‘King of the wild rides’ in the local media after an excursion into the trees in his previous Evo IX on King of the Hill. He then rolled in spectacular fashion two years later on KotH, his appearance in Sol RB17 thanks in no small part to a huge number of helpers who repaired the battered car at ‘Rally Central’ in the Pits at Bushy Park.
  His co-driver is Scotland’s Ashleigh Will, who was with him in Sol RB20, also in the previous year’s HO2 Construction Winter Rally in Barbados, finishing 10th overall and second in WRC. Ashleigh, whose husband Peter will be celebrating his birthday while they are in the Caribbean, had previously competed in Evo IXs with Donnie MacDonald (RB15) and Barry Groundwater (RB17), while her sister Caroline was co-driver in what is now Louden’s car when it was first rallied in the island by fellow-Scot Brian Watson.
  Barclay is back for the second year in a row – indeed, he was so eager to return that his was the first entry posted on-line in December – this time with wife Sue Plater in the co-driver’s seat. Last year, when she was unable to make the trip, their elder son Cameron sat in but he returns too, co-driving for family friend Mick Smith in his historic class Sunbeam Imp. Barclay has been rallying since the mid-1990s, first with a Hillman Avenger, before twice entering the iconic Tour of Mull in his native Scotland in a Peugeot 205; he has lived in London for more than 25 years and only competes in a limited number of events. Sue started co-driving in 2017 and they also rally a Darrian GTR nick-named ‘Dave’.

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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