Double Sol Rally Barbados winner Paul Bird and Rob Swann, who finished second in Sol RB17, will both compete in the final round of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Winter Rally at the end of next month. They will join regional regulars, including Jamaica’s Jeff Panton, who currently leads the BRC Champion Driver title chase, in what promises to be an explosive climax to the domestic season.

  The final round of the 2017 BRC Driver’s and Class Championships will open with two special stages at Vaucluse Raceway (VRW) on the evening of Friday, November 24, followed by two loops of six stages each in the north of the island on Saturday; the first loop will run in daylight, the second after nightfall. There is all to play for in the BRC Championship, as most class battles remain unresolved; with no dropped scores this year and an enhanced points structure for the final round – a class win will earn 28 points (up from 20), second 23, third 20, down to 10 for 10th place – championship hopefuls will need to bring their best game.

  Swann’s Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury/Cygnet Plant Subaru Impreza WRC S12B is due to ship from Portsmouth early this week, on the same Geest Line freighter that is carrying British entries for the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival, which starts at VRW on the previous Saturday (November 18). Swann, who equalled his best Sol RB result this year, will again have Darren Garrod of Wales as co-driver.

  For 2005 UK National Rally Champion Bird, it will literally be a flying visit to Barbados – also for his Frank Bird Poultry/Be Wiser Insurance/Hager/Wix Filters/Silkolene/Loco Energy Ford Focus WRC07 – as he will be competing in the PokerStars Rally in the Isle of Man on November 10-11, then the Grizedale Stages on December 2. As he intends to compete in both Carnival weekends, the car will be flown in both directions.

  ‘Birdy’s co-driver will be Scotland’s Stuart Loudoun, who finished fourth in Sol RB14 with Paul Bourne. In more than a decade of competition, he has gathered a broad range of experience across the world, competing the both the European and World Rally Championships. Bird said: “Stuart’s got loads of experience and is very organised. And I wanted someone who had done Barbados before and knew the event, so he is ideal for the job. I’m looking forward to it.”

  Just last weekend (October 26-29), he was co-driver to Matthew Wilson in a Ford Fiesta R5 on Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, running comfortably inside the top 10 of WRC-2, until two punctures (with only one spare in the car) dropped them down the order during the long run on Saturday. They eventually finished 39th overall, of 66 finishers, and 17th in WRC-2. Matthew’s father Malcolm had more to celebrate, however, after M-Sport won the 2017 WRC Manufacturers Championship against the might of factory teams Citroen, Hyundai and Toyota, and M-Sport driver Sebastien Ogier clinched his fifth consecutive Drivers Championship.

    Bird returned from his two-year absence from competition with a bang in August, finishing third against the Scottish Rally Championship regulars in his come-back event, the Grampian Forest Rally – Loudoun was also his co-driver on that occasion – then winning the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages (September 2) with Welshman Jamie Edwards on the notes.

  On his return to compete in Barbados, Bird added: “I have really missed it, there’s nothing like it anywhere else, I really like the camaraderie and the fans are just amazing. It has been two-and-a-bit years, that’s too long.”


BRC Class Championship Positions after round 6:


WRC: 1st Jeffrey Panton – JAM (Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06), 101 points; 2nd Roger Hill (Esso/Nassco/MaxMeyer/MotorMac/Pennzoil Toyota Corolla WRC), 78pts; 3rd Roger Skeete (Sol/Flow/Automotive Art/Simpson Motors/WTI Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), 64pts Group A: 1st Avinash Chatrani (Lenovo/PowerBass/Gunk/iShop/Genius Lynk/Copacabana Beach Club Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI), 67pts; 2nd David Coelho – TRI (Subway/Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 28pts

GpN: 1st Mark Thompson (Automotive Art/Stag Beer/Glassesco/NKM/Bio Beauty/SLAM 101.1FM Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 88pts; 2nd Andrew Mallalieu (Terra Caribbean Subaru Impreza N10), 67pts SuperModified 3: 1st Andrew Jones (Lucozade/Caribbean Powder Coating/AP Jones Pharmacy/Southern Surf Beach Apartments Ford Escort MkII), 91pts; 2nd Justin Campbell (Republic Bank/Five Star Fast Track/Hilton Barbados Resort/Dream Solutions/Automotive Art/Hilti/#RAY/Campbell Racing Team BMW M3), 82pts; 3rd David St Hill (St Hill & Sons Garage BMW M3), 72pts; etc

SM2: 1st Barry Mayers (Chefette/Rubis/Digicel/DHL/Hankook/Illusion Graphics Ford Fiesta), 91pts; 2nd Stuart McChlery (Lubriguard/Gunk Ford Escort MkI), 78pts; 3rd Dane Skeete (Sol/Flow/Automotive Art/Williams Trading Inc Peugeot 306 Maxi), 53pts; etc

SM1: 1st Neil Corbin (Nassco/H Jason Jones/Emtage Electric/BG Products & Services/Auto Solutions/Valvoline/Sun General Insurance/Maxmeyer Paints Toyota Starlet), 72pts; 2nd Clifford Cox (Hilti/Snorkel/Williams Equipment/JLG Reaching Out/MQ Multiquip/Yanmar/Hankook Toyota Starlet), 66pts; 3rd Jeremy Gonsalves (Sign Depot/Valvoline/Makita/John Hardman Engineering Opel Corsa), 37pts; etc Modified 2: 1st Daryl Clarke (Flow/Automotive Art/Amir’s Chicken/MQI Collision Repair/Valvoline/eCarib Classifieds Honda Civic), 85pts; 2nd Paul Horton - TCI (Turks Head Brewery/Java Island/Sky Motorsports/H Racing Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX), 84pts; 3rd Kurt Thompson (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio-Beauty Day Spa Honda Civic), 45pts; etc

M1: 1st Edward Corbin (Automotive Art/Hilti Daihatsu Charmant), 86pts; 2nd Paul Inniss (Durex Barbados/Brydens Insurance/East Point Grill/Auto Derm/Hugh Autobody/K-Tech Auto/Chicken Stop/Tint Plus/Caribbean Villa Chefs/JJ Racing Team Honda Civic), 56pts Historic 2: 1st Wayne Archer (Archers Hall Design Centre/RW Water/Arrow Woodworking/Arrow Construction/D & A Mechanical Services BMW 325), 92pts; 2nd John Corbin (Automotive Art/Pro Sales Toyota Corolla), 78pts; 3rd Greg Cozier (Barbados Historic Rally Carnival/Geest Line/Jondel Race Engines/Rally and Competition Equipment Ford Escort RS), 53pts Clubman 2: 1st Stuart Garcia (Intelligent Defence Systems/Smiths Engineering Works/Four & Twenty Bakery/Tropical Sunset/Zaccios BMW 318ti Compact), 95pts; 2nd Derek Edwards (D & A Mechanical Services/Arrow Construction BMW 318ti Compact), 68pts; 3rd Allan Kinch (Jolly Roger/Pirate’s Cove BMW 318ti Compact), 63pts; etc

C1: 1st Trevor Mapp (Sign Station/JSB Motorsport/Chicken Pen Racing/AS Autostop/Valvoline Mitsubishi Colt Mivec RS), 86pts; 2nd Jermin Pope (Good Time Snacks/Uniform Factory Outlet/Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/PEG/Niccolls and Edghill/SLAM 101.1FM/Industries Job Honda Civic), 68pts; 3rd Randy Reid (School Boy Sound System/Bird’s Wrecker Service Toyota Starlet), 40pts; etc

GpB: 1st Calvin Briggs (Massy Realty/Lucas Oils/Keisha's Cheesecakes Ford Sierra), 26pts


BRC 4wd Championship: 1st Panton, 105pts; 2nd Hill, 82pts; 3rd M Thompson, 68pts; 4th R Skeete, 64pts; 5th Chatrani, 59pts; 6th Mallalieu, 54pts; 7th Coelho, 23pts BRC 2wd Championship: 1st B Mayers, 84pts; 2nd Jones, 71pts; 3rd Campbell, 59pts; 4th Rhett Watson (Chefette/Power King Batteries/Gliptone/Stihl/Gunk/The Unknown Entity in support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3), 58pts; 5th D Skeete, 51pts; 6th Clarke, 47pts; equal 7th Roger Mayers (SM2 Chefette/Rubis/Digicel/DHL/Hankook/Illusion Graphics WR Starlet) & St Hill, 43pts; equal 9th N Corbin & Horton, 41pts; etc

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