SOL RALLY BARBADOS MODIFIED CLASSES WIDE OPEN: Power Stage a fitting climax to the weekend
With the return of a multiple Champion, upgrades galore and some determined International competition, the Modified classes in Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) promise to keep the fans entertained long after the battles for supremacy overall and in two-wheel-drive have passed through each stage.
In Modified 7 (1600-2000cc), five former Barbados Rally Club (BRC) M7 Champions will go head-to-head, with the return of Edward Corbin, who won a hat-trick of titles starting in 2003. Since moving down and winning M6 in 2009, he has concentrated on circuit racing, crowned Overall Barbados Auto Racing League Champion for the past two years.
Now driving the ex-Freddie Gale Toyota Corolla RunX, he should be at the sharp end, along with the car’s former owner, the M7 Champion in 2009 & 10; Gale won the class in Sol RB11, but has since been having issues with his newer RunX. Also in the fray are brothers Adrian and Jonathan Linton (hat-trick Champions in 2006-’08) with their untried new Vauxhall Astra SRi, reigning Champion Jeremy Sisnett (Ford Fiesta) – he won the title in his comeback season after a long break – and 2001 winner John Corbin (Corolla).
This year, however, Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic) has won M7 in all three Virgin Atlantic BRC Championship rounds and currently leads the overall driver table; others to watch for include Kyle Catwell (Volkswagen Golf GTI) and Chris Ullyett, who always shows well, despite this being the only annual outing for his Ford Escort RS2000.
In M6 (1401-1600cc), Neil Corbin (Starlet) is ahead so far in local events while Champion for the last two years, Jamal Brathwaite (Mitsubishi Mirage), has missed a couple. Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of his first trip to Barbados, Scotland’s Kenny Hall brings his Super 1600 Ford Puma back for another crack at M6 with co-driver, Holland’s Fenny Wesselink, while Jeremy Gonsalves will debut his brand new Opel Corsa.
In M5 (up to 1400cc), Sean Cox (Suzuki Swift) ploughs a lonely furrow in local events, as the class is merged up to M6 for BRC points, so Sol RB is the highlight of his season. He won the class last year by a mere nine seconds from Northern Ireland’s Glenn Campbell, who again leads the International invasion in his Nissan Micra Kit Car. Returnee Peter Gallagher from Dublin has brought the Talbot Samba he last rallied 15 years ago out of storage, while Stuart Deeley from the North of England makes his Barbados debut in a John Hardman-owned Nissan Micra.