The Barbados Rally is probably more of a phenomenon than just an event in this tiny island country. Luckily, the pandemic affairs did not stop this wonderful celebration from happening.
It’s about Barbados again. This year’s World Affairs brought confusion to this country’s championship as well. Although without pandemics, it is actually extremely strange. For example, the first two events of the championship fit into the MCBI BRC Hammer Time Rally. One event of the championship on Saturday and the next on Sunday. One special stage, completely short and shakedown type. The ride is repeated several times and the crew showing the fastest time wins.
And the big Barbados rally is more like a rally we know. But it also has very interesting details. For example, all participants gather there much earlier. The reason is the Flow King Of The Hill race, which takes place a week earlier than Rally Barbados itself. The bottom line is that the Flow King Of The Hill race is an extremely important part of the Barbados rally itself.
Flow King Of The Hill has two official meanings in addition to the part of the show that sums up half the island. First, this is the test stage of the Barbados Rally – the shakedown. According to his results, the starting order for the main rally in Barbados is determined. And the second 3.3 km pass is also counted as an event of the championship, for which points are awarded. This year, D.Skeete became king with the Subaru Impreza S12 WRC.
This rally is usually visited by 20 to 30 crews from Great Britain. Barbados is a former English colony, and British culture on the island has survived strongly. So for the British – like tradition, pilgrimage, great exotics, sentiments, and everything else. So a huge bunch of them flock to this distant country in early summer. Only this year was different. Barbados received 3-4 times fewer guests from another island, and the date moved to late fall. The reasons are quite clear.
However, this country’s holiday was visited by one very famous person. Besides all that, he also won this rally.
Ken Block, who designed the rather impressive Ford Escort Cosworth in 2018, travels the World and from time to time visits interesting or important rallies. Worth mentioning are Rally Legends, Goodwood Rally Stage, Rallye du Valais or WRC Mexico.
So it’s time for Barbados, too. Only this time K.Block left with a brand new Ford Fiesta Rally2 fresh from the M-Sport factory.
For this US star, victory was not easy. The last time an American was sitting in a modern rally car was a long time ago, he didn’t have any tests, and Barbados was still facing tropical storms. Among other things, although the country is very small, the car park there is really impressive. K.Block had to compete against 4 WRC and 6 more R5 class cars.
At first, victory did not shine for the American. It took time to adapt to a brand new car, there was some gearbox issue, but in the long run, over 100 kilometers of various condition tarmac Barbados roads, K.Block was able to place himself first at the very end of the rally and stay there.
The biggest competition for the American was 13-time winner Dane Skeete with Subaru Impreza S12 WRC, Jeffrey Panton with Ford Fiesta WRC, and guest from Britain Robert Swann. Impreza broke down. J.Panton, the Jamaican who led the half-rally, made mistakes and lost the lead at the end of the rally. And R.Swann in Fiesta WRC lost 10 seconds to the American. By the way, this Ford Fiesta WRC is the same one that drowned in 2015 WRC Mexico with the current WRC champion O.Tannak.
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Photo – Sol Rally Barbados FB Page