NIGHT MOVES

Quite possibly unaware of the motorsport connotations to their 1977 song 'Night Rally', Elvis Costello and the Attractions were spot-on with its title. No matter that the song was about mass meetings promoting fascism, violence and fear; the relevance of some of the song's lyric to night rallying is so apt:

'You think they're so dumb, you think they're so funny. Wait until they've got you running to the. . . night rally, night rally.'

Those lyrics describe aptly the addictive fever in blasting around country lanes through the night in high-powered, classic rally cars.

Rallying in darkness is a special thrill, demanding special crew talents and impeccable pacenotes. Once an integral facet of the international sport of rallying, sadly it rarely happens today. In the UK, night rallying only exists in regularity-type events, running cars with legislation-reduced performance.

Fond in the memory of British old-stager rallymen, road rallying is no longer the force it was in UK rallying's glory days of yore. As it currently exists, UK road rallying is somewhat emasculated by regulation to a shadow of its former derring-do self. Some of the restrictions include stringent engine and wheel size limits, as well as a ban on sponsor advertising on the cars.

Night stages were integral to international rally competition in the periods when the classic rally cars (and some of the current drivers!) now entered for the 2015 Barbados Historic Rally Carnival were in their prime, contesting some of the world's iconic events. In those days, you wouldn't need to walk far through a dusk-time service halt without encountering huge stacks of Cibie Oscar, Super Oscar or Marchal driving lights being bolted to the front of rally cars, or co-drivers checking or adjusting the flexible extensions to their map-reading lamps.

Night stages were part and parcel of the sport when rallying was enjoying its glory days in the 1970s and '80s. Then, no Ford Escort, Talbot Sunbeam, Porsche 911, Opel Ascona, etc. would have been prepared for the sport without the best lights money could buy at the time to help the crew keep up the frantic pace expected to be competitive.

Lately, rallying at night has also been a no-no in the World Rally Championship, although there have been recent signs of vestigial returns to the nocturnal nature of the sport at this top level. But restrictions still exist.

Not so in Barbados. On Saturday 29 August 2015, many high-powered, pukka historic rally cars will pound the tricky and slippery country lanes across the island from midday, through a tropical sunset dinner stopover around 6.30pm, then onwards past midnight in total darkness.

As the Historic Rally Carnival competitors visiting Barbados in August will find out for themselves, proper night-time stage rallying still exists in the world today. It really is something special.

Second overall in the 2010 Barbados Historic Rally Carnival in his Tuthill Porsche 911, five-times British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae (right) shares past midnight post-event 'lime' time with event winner and Historic Rally Carnival organiser Greg Cozier. Meanwhile, Francis Tuthill (centre) points out how Barbados night rallying takes him back to his past.

There are a few practical advantages to night rallying in Barbados. Most importantly for European competitors, the tropical island is much cooler at night, so the daytime heat fatigue is much reduced. This is a big deal for most crews, as the in-car heat can be difficult to acclimatise to.

There is also less bus traffic; public transport buses are exempt from daytime Barbados public road closures and tend to hold up stages as they pass through them. Rallying at night means fewer stage delays. There is also less traffic in general, so longer stages can be run at night.

What's not to like?

If you're an experienced UK road-rallyist, you'll have an idea of what we're talking about. If you fancy a two-week holiday in the sun (August 19 to 31), with some serious night-and-day proper flat-out, special-stage rallying, with ample time for the social side of our sport as it can only be experienced in the Caribbean, then consider this:

Just US$4,900 pays for return shipping of one rally car from Portsmouth UK to Barbados, entry to the Historic Rally and the Rallysprint (on the previous weekend), two return flights from London, self-catering accommodation for two for 12 nights and free entry to all - the many - Carnival social events.

And, of course there's the fantastic opportunity for families, friends and rally fans to catch some great historic rallying action, mix with the rallyists and have a fun-filled relaxing Caribbean holiday with a proper party atmosphere.

Interested? Regs and schedule are on: www.barbadosrallycarnival.com.

Entries are filling up, so to take advantage of this great deal or ask questions, email Greg Cozier at: greg@barbadosrallycarnival.com.