OSCC co-driver Andy Proudfoot from Gander, Nfld., teamed up with Stan Hartling of The Turks and Caicos Islands to compete in several events on the Barbados Rally calendar with a 2003 E36 M3 that they keep on the island. They recently ran three events: Shakedown, King of the Hill, and Sol Rally Barbados.
Shakedown is literally that: a one-day rally covering about 60 km of stages designed to get your car out and shake it down. Break what you can before the big event starts the following month. Forty cars entered and we were seeded to start 21st. Middle of the pack. The level of competition in Barbados is high, with local entrants and those from the U.K. and Europe, as well as the rest of the Caribbean.
There were 10 stages throughout an entire day. We had some great runs and the car was feeling good. But showers had been off and on so we eventually got caught in a stage with dry tires in the wet. Not good! We were holding our own until a very tight corner which saw us go over a curb and bend the two front control arms on the BMW. We were able to drive out of the stage and our service crew had us back and ready in time for the final stage of the day, but we packed it in, considered it time well spent, and hoisted one with our terrific crew.
The next event the last weekend in May was King of the Hill,which determined the seeding for Rally Barbados. Competitors did four runs of the same four-km stage, with the best time being used. We had a fairly uneventful day. One interesting point to note is that we were seventh in our class of seven cars, which was frustrating. I then realized that other than the guy leading our class, the other six of us were all within one second of each other, each of us were separated by hundredths of a second! Pretty tight. We did manage to qualify 37 out of the 94 entries.
King of the Hill is one weekend with Sol Rally Barbados the following weekend, the idea being that you could vacation with your family during that week. I have never been able to see how that would work what with pace-noting, car prep, etc.
Rally Barbadosstarted at an autocross track with two cars competing head to head. About 5000 people come out to Vaucluse Raceway to take it in. The track surface changed several times so grip was not consistent. We had a spin that set us back a few seconds but we put that behind us and pressed on the next day. We ran a couple of stages the next morning and then our clutch caused us some issues. We had a new one but of course it was at the garage and not at our remote service area. Our excellent service team of Nancy and Warren Haywood managed to piece one together but after the first stage, it heated up and stuck the car in gear just as we finished the run.
We were able to get the car moving and drive it back to our garage where Nancy and Warren and our crew at ProAuto in Christ Church spent the evening installing a new clutch. We were fortunate enough to be able to go and view some night stages.
So onward and upward; off we go on Sunday morning. There is a separate competition on Sunday called the Sunday Cup for cars such as us that break on the Saturday and get repaired overnight. We had a great drive for the day and managed to finish fourth out of sixteen cars. Overall, we were very pleased with that. I finally got some hardware to bring home from the Caribbean!!!
The Barbados Rally & Motorsport Club do a terrific job of organising all the events. They have 43 on their calendar this year alone! TSDs, Stage Rallies, Safari Events for the four- wheel-drive guys. The entire country breathes motorsport. The residents are huge fans of the Rally. If you ever get an opportunity to attend, I’d certainly recommend it!