Competitors from a record-equalling 15 nations including host country Barbados are making last-minute preparations for Sunday’s (June 3) Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill, the final shakedown ahead of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) . . . and Simpson Motors Scrutineering tomorrow (Saturday) will give fans their chance to see nearly 20 cars new to the island for the first time.
The provisional running order for Sunday’s event published today (June 1) lists 101 entries, missing only a handful of those entered for Sol RB12 the following weekend. These include overseas competitors who have not yet arrived in the island and local competitors battling against the clock to have their cars in full readiness for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) blue riband event.
Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill is being staged at Hangman’s Hill for the second year running, the first time a venue has been revisited since the inaugural KotH at Turner’s Hall in 2008; that was followed by Stewart’s Hill and Sailor Gully, with the 3.4-kilometre St Thomas stage, which ends shortly after the Lion Castle crossroads, first used last year.
The Service Park is at Simpson Motors, Warrens. The practice run is slated for 10.15am, followed by three official runs, the fastest of which will decide competitors’ finishing positions. Cars will run in reverse seeding order, from Clubman up to Modified 8-WRC, and the top 10 after the first official run will be held back and run in reverse order at the end of the field.
KotH victories have so far been shared equally, and in alternate years, by local drivers Paul Bourne (2008 & ’10) and Roger Skeete (’09 & ’11), so the trophy has always stayed ‘at home’; overseas drivers have been podium finishers, however, with England’s Paul Bird the most successful so far, third in 2010, then second last year . . . perhaps the start of a pattern?
The Simpson Motors Suzuki Swift was highest-placed two-wheel-drive for the first three years, with Sean Gill sixth in his last season in the car (2008), then Ian Warren ninth and fifth, the highest overall KotH finish for 2wd. Neil Armstrong was top 2wd last year, while Roger Mayers, Josh Read and Cliff Roett have also featured in the overall top 10.

Newcomers on show at Simpson Motors Scrutineering

Nearly 20 of the more than 100 cars that will assemble for Simpsons Motors Scrutineering tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) are new to island fans, so a major turn-out is anticipated for the family-friendly function at the Warrens, St Michael, venue.
Competition cars will arrive to a pre-arranged schedule from before 1.00pm, so the scrutineers can carry out their work in a secure area. All cars are mandated to remain on site between 3.00pm and 6.00pm, during which time driver interviews and related promotional programming will be broadcast on the Giant Daylight Screen.
The island’s knowledgeable fans will find much to interest them, starting with the record-breaking International entry of 30 cars, a third of which are newcomers to the event. Among these, regular visitor Rob Swann’s Subaru Impreza is likely to command attention: his Sol RB10 Group N winner has had a total make-over at TEG Sport in the north of England - stripped to a bare shell, lightened, then dipped and re-sprayed, it now has a WRC spec engine, with a six-speed sequential gearbox and active centre diff.
Irish newcomers include Martin Donnelly and Joe McQuillan, with Group A and N Mitsubishi Lancer Evos respectively, plus a host of rear-wheel-drive exponents, while the Oxford University Motorsport Foundation’s immaculate Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV is sure to attract a crowd.
Sunday’s Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill will also see four local drivers debut their new cars, two of which have strong links with regular visitors to the island. In SuperModified 11, Martin Atwell will return to competition in a BMW M3, while former Modified 7 Champion Adrian Linton will reveal his recently-completed Vauxhall Astra SRi. In M6, Jeremy Gonsalves has a new Opel Corsa built in the UK by John Hardman, while the Clubman Historic class will include Stuart White’s new BMW 325, another ‘Beemer’ for the island from Martin Stockdale’s workshop.

Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) and Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill (June 3) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Climate Control, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Scotiabank and Stoute’s Car Rental.

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