|Pictured: Paul Bird driving to a??first place finish at Sol Rally Barbados 2012. ??(photo courtesy of Sean Chandler/vtcaribbean.com – all rights reserved)|
A weekend of thrills and spills was followed with an evening filled with cheers and applause as the SOL Barbados Rally hosted its prize giving ceremony at the Boatyard, Bay Street, yesterday.
Along with the local, regional and international competitors and supporters, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, was on hand to offer congratulations to the winners.
He praised the organisers for producing an event which had record-breaking accomplishments.
"[There were] over 100 entries… we also had a record number of overseas entries, and from the tourism point of view that was a very wonderful thing – close to 40 entries.???? [There was also a] record number of female [co-drivers], 12 I am told…and we want to see this go from strength to strength," Minister Sealy said.
The Tourism Minister also said that he believed Barbados’ local talent could make it on the world stage, adding that he was "… particularly encouraged by the number of young drivers and co-drivers…??Kris Meeke, who is now a world class rally driver, [said] that one of the toughest rally experiences he had was right here in Barbados.??
"So, I don’t think that it’s beyond the realm of possibility that some time in the future we could see Barbadian drivers and co-drivers participating on the international rally circuit…certainly from our end in tourism, we will continue to support the event," the Minister assured.
The SOL Rally Barbados 2012 champions, Paul Bird of England and Kirsty Riddick of Scotland, won with their Ford Focus WRC08.???? Barbados’ own Paul ???Surfer Bourne and Megan Bryant placed second, driving their Ford Focus WRC 07, while Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jr. earned third place, with their Ford Focus WRC06 .