A KIRKBY Lonsdale rally driver is set to return to action in the 2022 Barbados Sol Rally races.

Kirkby Motors Manager Phil Burton will be joined by co-driver Dylan Thomas in Barbados for the events this May, driving their iconic 1976 Mk 2 Ford Escort, better known as “Lorna Lou”.

The races will take place on May 29, and the weekend of June 4, in a gruelling series of events for both men and machines.

Phil, Dylan and the car named Lorna Lou after Phil’s daughter have been generously sponsored by many local Lune Valley companies.

A long-time competitor and racer, Phil said: “I’ve been on the British scene for over 30 years, both in the club and national level.

“I got involved in the Barbados Sol Rally a few years back. We were originally going to do it in 2020 but Covid put a stop to everything. It’s been on hold for the last two years.

“I’ve been really lucky to have the group of sponsors I’ve had over the years. To do this has taken a bit more this year so I had to approach a number of local businesses to help me out.

“Thankfully we’ve got six or seven who have chipped in to get me there. They’ve helped with shipping and insurance, things like that.

“It’s been a real community effort to get us to do this.

“We also have help from outside the community. Mike Smith at BDS Fuels in Middleton and Graham Bailey from Westgate Tyres, both have supported me since the beginning.

“Our car is named after my daughter, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1998. That year we started doing the Kirkby Lonsdale club championship and we won the silver stages rally as well.

“Thankfully she recovered but I wanted to give the car an identity so named it after her.

“We’re really excited for the race and to many more.”