Alastair's Blog

Barbados Historic Rally Carnival - November 2017

Alastair Caldwell - Thursday, December 07, 2017

Greg Cozier started the Barbados Rally Carnival in 2001 for modern rally cars and evolved the event to the Barbados Historic Rally Carnival in 2010. Greg says: "First of all, organisers need to realise they are competing against some great classic historic rallies around the world for occasional competitors, so standards need to be very high. More importantly, we need to understand that competitors and teams aren't doing this for a living; they're doing it for a great rally adventure. This means there needs to be added value in the event. Comfortable and affordable hotels, 'lick-down' welcome parties, informal prizegivings, family involvement and other activities surrounding the event need to enhance the rally itself. Historic rally organisers need to be family-oriented, holiday tour operators.

"The 12-night, two-event format has worked well for us since 2001. The RallySprint at Vaucluse Raceway on the first weekend allows everyone to find their feet in our unfamiliar Caribbean climate, and to test their cars in a stress-free environment. The Raceway also enables competitors, supporters and service crews to intermingle in a social atmosphere, while watching the competition unfold. The week after allows an easy recce and a chance to repair or tune cars for the rally, while enjoying the social side of Barbados. The rally itself runs over an afternoon and then into the night, which is somewhat cooler and more comfortable inside a rally car in the tropics. So historic rallying is for everyone, not just those of us with old cars or old dreams. As the Bajan saying goes; "Only grave-diggers start at the top."

Rally Schedule of Events


• Friday, Oct. 28th (TBC): Deliver cars to Portsmouth, England to be shipped to Barbados.
• Saturday, Nov. 18th: RallySprint, Vaucluse Raceway (optional).
• Wednesday, Nov. 22nd: Scrutiny and welcome party, 5pm, Vaucluse Raceway.
• Thursday, Nov. 23rd: Unlimited recce, three venues, both directions.
• Friday, Nov. 24th: SuperSpecial SS1, 2, 3; Vaucluse Raceway, 5pm.
• Saturday, Nov. 25th: Tarmac Rally, 1pm until midnight.
• Sunday, Nov. 26th: Prize-giving and Jolly Roger Pirate Ship party cruise, noon.
• Monday, Nov. 27th: Pack up cars to ship home.


Late decision


I made a very late decision to send my little Peugeot 205 Rally to do the Barbados event, so with zero preparation I got it out after years of disuse. As it happened, I was going to Birmingham that day so I drove it there and back to see how it fared. It seemed ok so I delivered it to the shippers in Portsmouth the next day. Ruth and the twins came and picked me up and we had a nice day at the historic docks. All good so far, doing a rallysprint event on a race track tonight with paired cars going off on four laps on a figure of eight course together, which is a new experience for me. Then tomorrow we're doing four very rough stages, three times each in the pitch black. Some go through towns so should be lots of very enthusiastic Barbadians about. Weather is hot and sunny and the beautiful sea warm and the locals very nice. 

The Peugeot ready to go to the shippers



Posing in front of an old mill building



Street fruit seller



Arrived and found the little Peugeot 205 safe and sound. Now to recce the route and do some island investigation.  Here's the rally car with support vehicle and old abandoned Lotus Cortina.





Drinks at the beach bar. The weather was good at this point!



View from our hotel



Torrential Rain


Did the Rally over two days, the stage part started on Saturday afternoon and ran through the night in torrential rain, which became almost undriveable! A couple of cars crashed, so play was stopped for an hour then off we went again. 14 stages in the pitch black and pouring rain, all good fun and the little Peugeot did well even when it was close to being swept back by the force of the water!

Start of a stage in the jungle




The Peugeot after the rally - all good and the 25 year old second hand suit still fits me (just!)



More scenes from Barbados





Organiser Greg Crozier and commentator Woody at boozy prizegiving, lots of rum about!




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