Barbados SOL Rally 2009
“Barbados SOL Rally 2009 – It just doesn’t get much better than this”
Sol Rally 2009 has once again succeeded in providing the ultimate Caribbean rally motor sport experience. As England’s Paul Bird stated, “It just doesn’t get much better than this”. This year’s 2 day tarmac rally – in its 20th year running – rocked the island with outstanding performances and gut wrenching road-side excitement.
World Class Entertainment
Spectators – estimated at about 20,000 – came from around the region and the world to witness this world class event from the 24 special stages strategically situated around the course; including the main stages located at Canefield, Sailor Gully, Dark Hold, Malvern, Kendal South and Kendal North.
Setting the Stage
The team of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle put in a spectacular effort winning once again to take first place in the Caribbean’s premier international motor sport event.
Meeke and Nagle were followed by England’s Paul Bird – blazing back from retirement – who proved to be an unstoppable force as he and Ian Windress took second place.
Representing the local talent, Barbadians Paul Bourne and Stuart Maloney claimed the title of third place.
Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell Jr tore up the tarmac winning the regional title while finishing seventh place overall.
The event had 88 starters from which 41 were ranked as ‘overall finishers’ while 66 entries made ‘class finishers’ under Barbados Rally Club (BRC) stipulations of having to complete at least two thirds of the stages.
The Sheriff is brought down
Disappointment followed 10 time winner, Roger ‘The Sheriff’ Skeete. Skeete pushed the limit of speed while displaying quality knuckle-biting driving skills as he set the pace on three of Saturday’s six morning stages but luck was against the mighty Sheriff. Skeete lost contention by going over the allowable time limit while servicing a faulty battery. Failing to let that stop him, Skeete was finally brought down by force as he crashed on the second uphill Canefield stage.
England’s Chris Moss and Stuart Ulyatt were cheered on by avid rally fans excited to witness the first ever Aston Martin to hit Bajan tarmac. Coming in 31st place, the Famoss Ltd Aston Martin Rally GT – the only right-hand-drive Rally GT – turned heads and blew the eardrums of spectators with its 430 horsepower V12 engine.
Where’s the donut?
English crowd pleaser Steve Perez – a regular competitor in Barbados – with Welsh co-driver Paul Spooner dazzled the crowd with dynamite ‘donuts’ after experiencing throttle failure which set him back 11 minutes. Placing 33rd overall, the daring duo made the most of the situation with adrenaline pumped crowds cheering them on throughout the event.
Props to the Barbados Rally Club – now in its 52nd year – for organizing this premier event and title sponsor, Sol Group. For those that just can’t get enough rally excitement, watch out for more Barbados motor action at the Bushy Park Autocross or the Mud Dogs Shelbury Rally taking place in June 2009.