an image of outgoing Barbados Rally Club Chairman Mark Hamilton

Despite Covid-19, Rally Club survives in good health

Barbados Rally Club (BRC) members gave long-serving Chairman Mark Hamilton a standing ovation as he stepped away after nearly two decades of service on the Club’s Committee of Management at its Annual General Meeting last evening (Thursday). Held at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association (BCTSA) Clubhouse at Searles, Christ Church, the AGM was followed by an EGM to vote on the next three-year cycle of Vehicle Regulations 2022 to 2024 and a Covid-19 Briefing ahead of Saturday’s (June 5) Double-Header Sprint at Bushy Park.
  Hamilton told the membership that the Covid-19 pandemic had created “one of the more difficult years” in his experience. Despite that, the Club had survived in good health, and with some unexpected results: “Surprisingly, and in no small part due to the Ken Block media machine, Sol Rally Barbados and Barbados itself enjoyed an increase in media coverage in all areas. This was a ‘big win’ for the Club and Barbados and was seen all over rallying as a major achievement. We should all take satisfaction in that.”
  Of his decision to stand down, he said: “I have been at this job, for that is what it essentially is, for the past 15 years, 12 as Chairman and three as Vice-chair, and I simply need to have some down time where my brain is not full of motor sport related things 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thankfully, I depart with the knowledge that the membership is strong and vibrant, the club financially secure and in the hands of dedicated people. I take great personal satisfaction in this.”
  After stints as Entertainments Officer (1993) and Public Relations Officer (2004-05), Hamilton replaced Bruce Lambert as Chairman in 2006. Apart from three years between 2010 to 2012, when he was Vice-Chairman to Geoff Noel, Hamilton has been at the helm of the Club during its most significant years of growth and for just over half the timeline of its premier event, the All-Stage Rally which became Rally Barbados.
  BRC PRO Neil Barnard, who replaced Hamilton in that post in 2006 and had worked with him since then, summed up the Chairman’s story: “Through his dedication and selflessness, Mark has made an incredible contribution to the Barbados Rally Club and been the driving force behind the development of our premier event, supported by a willing team of volunteers. He has helped to engineer multi-year partnerships that have positioned our Club as one of the most respected sporting organisations on the island and Rally Barbados as the most important motor sport event in the Caribbean. In large part, Rally Barbados has been the engine that has fuelled the Club’s ability to improve safety, communications, equipment, timing, results, human resources – all things that have facilitated the Club’s growth and professionalism and which have also been of benefit to other Clubs and motor sport as a whole."
  In 2014, Hamilton succeeded Barry Gale as Chairman of Sol Rally Barbados and three years ago became Vice-President of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) on the retirement of John Sealy, big shoes to fill in both cases. In his short tenure at the BMF, he has overseen the introduction of streamlined systems, a new web site and successful applications for FIA funding to assist island motor sport for the benefit of all clubs.
  Hamilton started competing in the late 1980s, a class-winner in a Mitsubishi Lancer in his first Speed Event, at Stewart’s Hill, before driving club stalwart Andrew Phillips’s Ford Escort MkI, then Allan Kinch’s Mazda 323 – they finished 10th in the 1999 Texaco All-Stage Rally – then his own Proton Wira. After a short break, he returned in 2004, his Escort MkII remembered for its livery reflecting Ari Vatanen’s Rothmans car. That was replaced by a second Escort in which he and co-driver Clive Howell won SuperModified 11 in Sol RB10 and the year-end class title, before switching to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, in which they finished eighth overall and won Group N the following year; in both seasons Hamilton finished in the top three of the Overall Champion Driver title chase.
  Geoff Noel is the new Chairman, while further changes to the CoM were also approved: existing member Jamal Brathwaite becomes Assistant Competition Secretary, replaced as Secretary by Jason Downey; Geoff Goddard, who served for nearly two decades as Club Secretary in the 1980s and ‘90s, returns as Marshal Liaison Officer, while Robert Simmons is the new Entertainment Secretary.
  In conclusion, Hamilton said: “As outgoing Chairman, I would like to thank the marshals body for their hard work and dedication, the members for their support and invaluable contribution, the print, broadcast and on-line media for their continued coverage and support of motor sport, Corporate Barbados for continued confidence and investment in the Club and its activities, the Government of Barbados and its officers with whom we interact, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the various NGOs for their on-going support, the CoM and sub-committees for their continued hard work and all of those who quietly lend a hand without any acknowledgement or fuss.”

BRC CoM: Chairman, Geoffrey Noel; Vice-Chairman, Neil Corbin; Treasurer, Jeanne Crawford; Competition Secretary, Kreigg Yearwood; Assistant Competition Secretary, Jamal Brathwaite; Assistant Competition Secretary (MudDogs), Ricky Holder; Vehicle Classification Officer, Adrian Linton; Secretary, Jason Downey; Marshal Liaison Officer, Geoffrey Goddard; Equipment Officer, Ben Norris; Public Relations Officer, Neil Barnard; Entertainment Officer, Robert Simmons

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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Web sites: www.barbadosrallyclub.comwww.muddogsbarbados.comwww.rallybarbados.net

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