Home / Cars / Motorsports / News / Major Rethink of Sol Rally Barbados Route


Major Rethink of Sol Rally Barbados Route
Club looks to improve competitor, resident, spectator experience

Following the most comprehensive re-assessment since 2003 of the route for Sol Rally Barbados, the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is targetting three key benefits from this year's 20th running of the Caribbean's biggest annual motor sport event: a refreshing change in the challenge for competitors, a better spectator experience and a continued lessening of disruption for residents along the route.

While running an International tarmac rally on a Caribbean island measuring just 21 by 15 miles means the Club is very limited in its options, some creative thinking has resulted in a more compact route, which should enable the BRC to hit its triple targets.

As last year, there are 24 stages, but there will now be 14 on Saturday (12 in 2008) and just 10 on Sunday, plus the Shell V-Power Super Special at Bushy Park; this shifts the balance of competitive stage distance back to Saturday, compared with Sunday last year. The longest of the event's four routes is now Saturday afternoon, running into the evening . . . four runs each through Redline Fuels Dark Hole and Automotive Art Canefield total 41.2 kilometres, which represents almost exactly one-third of the event distance, which will make those stages more significant than before.

Questioned during last week's (May 6) Media Conference at the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, which will be Rally HQ for the forthcoming event, Sol RB09 Chairman Barry Gale said: "You will notice a number of changes to the route. We have modified it, to deal with some bits and pieces which caused problems, particularly with traffic.

"We have also shuffled the order in which the stages are run, to improve the spectator experience; there will be a shorter gap between the last car coming through each stage to the first car coming through next time round. This has a number of advantages - there is less time for spectators to be hanging around and losing interest . . . and, from the competitor point of view, it results in a significantly more compact route.

"Each day starts in a different way to last year - on Saturday, the first stage is Sailor Gully, on Sunday it is Malvern; in the past few years, we have suffered with delays on the traditional opening stages, Canefield and Kendal. One of the very few criticisms we have heard from our overseas competitors revolves around those early delays; while everyone in rallying accepts that, once you get under way, an incident, particularly a major one, can cause delays, there really is no excuse for not starting on time . . . so we have worked hard to address that criticism."

Programme of key events

Wednesday, May 20 - 4.30 to 6.30pm - Meet and Greet
+ a chance for fans to mingle with their favourite competitors
+ Shell Warrens Service Station, St Michael
Friday, May 22 - 4.00pm to approx 8.00pm - Scrutineering
+ Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Wildey, St Michael
Sunday, May 24 - 10.00am to approx 4.00pm - Shell V-Power King of the
+ round four of the Virgin Atlantic BRC Driver's and Class Championships
+ Stewart's Hill, St Philip, with one practice and three official
timed runs
Friday, May 29 - 6.00pm to approx 9.00pm - The Ceremonial Start
+ Simpson Motors, Warrens, St Michael
Saturday, May 30 - Sol Rally Barbados 2009 - day 1
+ round five of the Virgin Atlantic BRC Driver's and Class Championships
+ start at 9.00am from SS1, Sailor Gully 1
+ Simpson Motors is the service area for the day
Sunday, May 31 - Sol Rally Barbados 2009 - day 2
+ round six of the Virgin Atlantic BRC Driver's and Class Championships
+ restart at 7.30am from Bushy Park, St Philip, which is the service
area for the day
+ Shell V-Power SuperSpecial and Rally Finish at Bushy Park
Monday, June 1 - approx 3.30pm - Sol RB09 Prizegiving
+ The Boatyard, Bay Street, St Michael

Sol Rally Barbados 2009 (May 29-31) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 24) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Automotive Art, Banks, Digicel, McEnearney Quality, Red Bull and Simpson Motors; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line, Stoute's Car Rental and Virgin Atlantic; associate sponsors are ARMAG, Caribbean Airlines, Crane & Equipments, Merville Lynch Productions, Little Switzerland and Shelbury Construction.