The hometeams look set to face a strong challenge in Rally Barbados 2005 withconfirmation that former Caribbean Rally Champion Doug 'Hollywood' Gore- Jamaica's most successful driver - is among the six entries from thatcountry received by event organiser, the Barbados Rally Club (BRC).
And double World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz will surely be thoughtof often over that weekend, as the Spaniard drove two of the carsrepresenting Jamaica as factory entries in WRC events in recent years.Rally Barbados 2005 is slated for May 28/29, the second of twointernational motor sport events that form the fifth Barbados RallyCarnival and rounds three and four of the Texaco BRC RallyChampionship.
With long-time co-driver Mark Nelson, Gore has twice finished onthe podium in the premier event in Barbados: in a Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIII, he finished third behind fellow countrymen Jeff Panton/Rudi Meikleand rally winner Ireland's Kenny McKinstry in 1996, the only year inwhich there has been no Bajan driver on the podium, although McKinstrydid enjoy the talents of local ace Sean Gill as co-driver. Again, in1998, by now with a Lancer Evo IV, he tied for third place with TrevorManning and Mike Ward in their Evo III.
These days, Gore pilots an Evo VIII, backed by Sandals,Walkerswood, Motor Sales and Service, Ricks Café, Slam, Amsoil, ValueBuys and DMS Distributors.com. In his first year with the car, amongother successes, he won Rally Jamaica 2003 and the JMC RallyChampionship; last year was his most successful in the sport, winingfour rallies and three sprint events, including a total of six in arow, a first for a Jamaican driver.
Gore and fellow-Jamaicans Gary ''The Colonel' Gregg, Peter 'PJ'Moodie Jnr and John 'Pentti' Powell can claim a total of more than 40race or rally championship titles between them, so a strong challengeis promised.
Gregg returns to Barbados just a year after a major accident on dayone of RB04, which saw him hospitalised - briefly - and his Mitsubishidamaged beyond repair; he replaced it with an ex-works 2001 Ford FocusWorld Rally Car, which numbers Francois Duval and Carlos Sainz amongits former pilots.
The KFC/B D Gregg Bros/KIG-backed car finished runner-up in itsfirst major test, the two-day Rally Jamaica 2004 last December, aclose-fought event in which Gore, Gregg and eventual winner RichardRerrie (Subaru Impreza) all swapped fastest stage times. Gregg's bestresult in Barbados - where he learned to drive as a youngster - came in2003, when he finished fourth overall and highest overseas crew, withregular co-driver Hugh Hutchinson.
Although based in Trinidad, where he is a former Group Champion andDriver of the Year, Powell is Jamaican by birth. A regular competitorin Barbados for more than a decade, he finished eighth overall in RallyBarbados 2003 at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII and second inGroup N to Barry Gale.
Since he acquired his Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooringand Launch Services/Toyota Trinidad Toyota Corolla WRC, the car hasbeen based in Barbados; Powell has used the time to gain experiencewith his new mount, in which Carlos Sainz won the Monte Carlo Rally in1998, by contesting the opening round of the Vaucluse RacewayRallySprint Cup and the BRC's recent Tarmac Stage Rally, the latterwith his usual co-driver Michael March.
Reigning Sprint Champion of the MoBay Motoring Club in Jamaica,Peter Moodie Jnr has not yet achieved the same successes in rallying ashe has enjoyed in circuit racing and sprints. At the wheel of theMoore's/Citrix/Teleform/Jap Auto Supplies/MoTec/NGRacing/CenturyWrecking/Auto Maintenance Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, he is back for hisfourth crack at Rally Barbados. Last year, with the experienced MichaelFennell Jnr co-driving, he finished 12th, and highest-placed of theregional entries.
There will also be some interest for Jamaican fans in the classes,with two cars entered in Modified 6. Noel Golding Jnr is back with hisrapid Suzuki Swift GTi, in which he and co-driver Peter Clarke finished26th overall and third in the Group last year. Making their debut onthis year's event in the JET/Hilton Kingston/Super PlusSupermarkets/Xpress Air Mitsubishi Colt Mivec are Rajendra Jadusinghand David Anderson, who were notably quick until their retirement onRally Jamaica 2004.
RB05 Rally Chairman Barry Gale said: "We are delighted with thequality of entry from Jamaica, and it is a good indication of thesteady growth in competition between the two countries. More driversfrom Barbados are now making the trip to compete in Rally Jamaica andI, for one, hope it will continue."
Ex-Sainz World Rally Cars gather in the Caribbean