The Barbados Rally Club (BRC), which celebrates its 60th Anniversary this year, has confirmed the dates for the 28th edition of its premier event: Sol Rally Barbados 2017 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 2-4, with Scrutineering and Flow King of the Hill the previous weekend, May 27/28. On-line entries opened on October 1 and will remain open until early May 2017.
Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell Jnr claimed back-to-back victories on Sol Rally Barbados 2016 in their Ford Focus WRC06, making Panton the most successful driver in the event’s 27-year history after island legend Roger Skeete. Panton, who was the event’s first regional winner in 1998, now moves ahead of double-winners Paul Bird, Paul Bourne, Kris Meeke and Kenny McKinstry, with his recent wins in 2015 & ‘16.
Thirteen-time winner of the island’s premier event, Skeete finished second, Louis Venezia co-driving in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, with Welsh World Rally Championship contenders Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta R5 Evo) third. Double European Rally Champions Simon John-Joseph and Jack Boyere of France had also been in contention in a Focus WRC08, until diff failure on Sunday morning.
Panton said: “The pace started off fast, as we expected, and we were pushing, which made us a bit messy. Simon was pushing us really hard, but when he got issues it gave us a cushion to work with. Once we recognized that we had to clean up the driving, we focused on being tidy, maintaining the lines and being consistent with it.”
Roger Mayers (WR Starlet) finished fourth and top two-wheel-drive, pushed hard on every stage by Josh Read (Starlet), who finished fifth. Fourth equalled the highest overall 2wd finish since a 2wd car last won in 1997, Roger’s brother Barry in 2005. Mayers said: “I've been rallying 18 years, even in the WRC class against the very best in the region, and Josh pushed me harder than anyone has ever pushed me before.”