SOL Rally Barbados Welcome Party at Kendal Sporting

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Drivers and co-drivers from a record 15 nations, including the host
country, have assembled for the Caribbean’s biggest annual international
motor sport event, Sol Rally Barbados 2010 (May 29/30); the final
running order, published on Wednesday (May 26), lists a record 92
starters, promising a fitting celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the
inaugural running of the Barbados Rally Club’s International All-Stage
Rally.

Past and present Champions from the wider Caribbean and Europe will face
local aces Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) – a 10-time winner in
the event’s 20-year history – and Paul Bourne, who is seeded at number
one, following his victory in last Sunday’s Shell V-Power King of the
Hill; Bourne (Ford Focus WRC 07) has also won the island’s premier
event, twice, in 2003 & ’07.

Two more former winners are seeded in the top 10, Jamaicans Gary Gregg
(Ford Focus WRC 05) and Jeff Panton (Ford Focus WRC 00) – Gregg won in
2006, Panton in 1998; leading the European charge is former UK National
Champion Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC 08), who finished second to Ulsterman
Kris Meeke for the past two years.

The tussle for two-wheel-drive honours also looks set to be one of the
closest in recent years: front-runners Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift), Josh
Read (Toyota Starlet) and Mark Hamilton (Ford Escort) are all seeded
well inside the top 20 – Warren starts as high as eight – but much of
the crowd’s attention will be focused on BMW M3 number 27, shared by
brothers Barry and Roger Mayers, making a rallying comeback after five
years concentrating on circuit racing. Between them, they have claimed
seven top 10 finishes, Roger winning (Ford Focus WRC) and Barry (Toyota
Starlet) finishing fourth overall and the only two-wheel-drive car in
the top 10, in 2005.

Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale said: “The entry has been
oversubscribed for some time now – we actually received 108 entries –
but a combination of the worldwide recession and the usual problems of
car preparation and incidents reduced the number to 92 by today, when we
needed to publish the final list of starters.

“In light of this year being the 20th Anniversary of an event which was
started by clubman competitors in the island, and has been increasingly
supported by clubmen competitors from overseas, we decided that no-one
should be excluded from this year’s event. We have therefore waived our
90-car maximum, and all 92 confirmed entries will receive competition
numbers at tonight’s Briefing Meeting and be allowed to start.

“While we are delighted to have a record number on our list of starters,
the decision was not about the record, but made in the spirit of the
way our event has developed and making sure that we continued to support
the clubmen who have supported us.”

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

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