‘The Golden Rule. . . is that there are no golden rules.’
If he was referring to motorsport, George Bernard Shaw could not have been more accurate.
In the same vein, Thomas Edison got pretty close when he said: “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”
Yet every sport must have its rules and regulations, and it becomes more complicated in motorsport, where not only are sporting rules required, but there must also be rules – or regulations – concerning the cars involved.
And cars are undoubtedly more complicated than, say, a football. The 2015 World Rally Championship cars are hidebound by a near-plethora of old, recent and new technical regulations, demanding the talents of experienced engineering sleuths to understand fully.
Historic motorsport has somewhat more complicated technical regulations, as currently interpreted by the FIA and its scrutineers; not only are period FIA Appendix J regs and period homologation papers applied, but a ‘period proof’ burden is placed on the competitor, with regard to the way his car has been modified for rallying. Essentially, even if a modification was permitted by period Appendix J and period homologation papers, competitors still have to prove that the modification was used ‘in period’ on a rally car which actually competed in an international event. Sleuths indeed!
As always, things are somewhat less complicated in the tropics. The Barbados Historic Rally Carnival runs to a set of technical regulations derived from the period FIA Appendix J, but without the need for model homologation or period proof; only period commercial availability of the model entered and period technology is required; with the exception of rollcages, which can be constructed to modern spec.
So, how does an aspiring historic rallyist get started on the road to one of the best motorsport holidays on the planet? The easiest way would be to enter a car which already has an FIA Historic Technical Passport (HTP) or an MSA Historic Rally Vehicle Identity Form (HRVIF); both of which satisfy a higher ‘burden of proof’ regarding the way the cars are modified.
But that would be boring, especially since one of the main reasons Barbados doesn’t require such is the proliferation of old cars which were rallied in period in the Caribbean, but were not necessarily rallied extensively in Europe, especially Japanese cars with unusual engine options. The opportunity therefore exists to build a car cheaper than might be the case if using parts which were homologated, or maybe choose something completely different, especially since Barbados’ asphalt is somewhat more forgiving than British forests.
The Barbados Historic Rally Carnival vehicle categories use the same date-breaks as those in UK historic rallying. For example, ‘Historic’ is UK Category 1: for cars marketed before 31 December 1967 – the fastest cars here would likely be Sunbeam Tiger, Triumph TR5, Lotus Elan, or Lotus Cortina. Cheapest would be Mini, Spitfire, MGB or Midget. It is unlikely that a Category 1 car would be capable of overall victory and wheels are limited to 6in-wide, albeit with the same modern, low-profile, moulded rally tyres as the other categories.
In Barbados, like UK, ‘Post-Historic’ category is for cars marketed between 1 January 1968 and 31 December 1974. Cars from category 2 are definite contenders for overall victory and the island’s notoriously slippery asphalt surface eliminates the advantages of later Porsches and Escorts. Fastest in this category would likely be Escort RS1600, BMW 2002, Ford Capri Perana or RS3100, Mazda RX3 and Porsche 911. One of the most economical options would probably be the Hillman Avenger.
If you wish to register an interest and/or have any questions, please email the Rally Carnival organiser Greg Cozier at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regs and schedule are on: www.barbadosrallycarnival.com.