Reigning Manx Rally Champion, 21-year-old rising star Connor Corkill, has entered Sol Rally Barbados 2011 (June 4/5) in a “fire-breathing” Ford Escort Mk I, to the delight of the Barbados Rally Club, which announced in November a range of incentives to attract the most exciting two-wheel-drive cars in Europe to compete in the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international.

Corkill, who was also the British Historic Rally Championship’s Under-25 Champion in 2010, was last week listed 11th in the ‘MN Fast 50’, a list of drivers predicted to hit the headlines in 2011 published in respected British weekly Motorsport News. BHRC co-ordinator Simon Marks commented: “It really came together for Connor in 2010, and he was a front-runner on asphalt and gravel. His win in Ulster was particularly impressive.”

Having started rallying in 2006 in an Escort Mexico, Corkill rose to prominence in the BHRC last year at the wheel of a Mk II Escort - as well as claiming the Under-25 title, he finished 12th overall (out of 93 competitors) and second in class, his crowning achievement of the season being victory in the Ulster Historic Rally by 1min 45secs; he is also the reigning Junior and rear-wheel-drive Champion in the Isle of Man. His co-driver and fellow Manxman Rob Fagg is a three-time Manx Champion, the 2006 British Super 1600 Champion, 2006 Chinese Team Champion and 2005 British Stars of the Future Champion.

Of the Mk I that he is taking to Barbados, Corkill said: “Both my dad and I have been rallying this car for the past three years, and I used it to win the 2010 Manx Rally Championship. When we bought it, it had a 240bhp 2-litre Zetec engine, but that wasn’t enough, so we put in a 270bhp ‘red top’ . . . still not enough power! So we put a fire-breathing 340bhp Duratec in it, making it one of the most powerful rear-wheel-drive rally cars in Britain, and a bit of a handful!”

Recently, the car’s registration plate has been changed to MAN 1C to reflect its character. Corkill explains: “Myself, my dad and my grandfather have always had 111 number plates on our rally cars, and the Mk 1 was no exception until my dad decided a month or so back that he was going to put his road car plate on - this car is a bit of a beast and we thought the MAN 1C plate would suit it quite nicely.”

Sol Rally Barbados chairman Barry Gale says: “I was delighted when Connor’s on-line entry form dropped into my e-mail inbox, as he is exactly the sort of entry that we were looking for. Then, when I saw the spec of the car and some photos, I was just blown away – rally fans in Barbados are really going to take this car to their hearts. As Connor is still in only the early days of his rallying career, let’s hope that he enjoys the experience, and returns home to the Isle of Man to spread the word.”


Two-thirds of international on-line entries are newcomers

Entries for Sol Rally Barbados 2011 are one-quarter of the way to the increased capacity entry of 100, with 25 on-line entries so far received via the official web site, www.rallybarbados.bb. This matches the numbers received by the same date last year, with an identical mix of local (13), regional (three) and international (nine).

Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale said: “I am very encouraged at this early stage to see that we are keeping pace with last year, which suggests that our decision to increase the maximum start list from 90 to 100 may prove to be the right one.

“The big plus about these early entries, though, is that six of the nine international crews are newcomers to the event. With our competitor promotions stepping up a gear at Rallye Sunseeker in the UK next month, I’m hoping that there will be some more first-timers joining the list.”

Sol Rally Barbados (June 4/5, 2011) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 29) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB2011 is the 22nd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the start of a second three-year term of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com

web site: www.rallybarbados.bb

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