It’s been a good six months since I’ve had the opportunity to take the Fiesta back on to the Dirt tracks of Great Britain’s Amateur rallying scene…
But, now that I’ve had a break from the scene, I’m ready to jump back into the fray – I just have to make sure that the old Ford doesn’t kill me in the process.
I’ve spoken before about my journey from racing obsessed kid to sports journalist – but the journey from Sunday Driver to amateur Racer is a story worth telling in itself. If you’re considering getting into some Amateur racing, then you will no doubt discover soon enough that it is the community spirit of the racers and teams that really make this a sport worth getting involved in.
The first connection that I forged within the community of the amateur rally racing scene was with an American man, on holiday with his son. It was one of the first of a handful of events that I’d entered into with the Fiesta back in 2012. For some reason, I was worried that I’d make a terrible fool of myself, as a result I’d failed to inform any of my friends, family or colleagues at work about my race. I had the thought in my head of entering into the race alone, a one-man driving and maintenance team, I would then go on to claim a podium position and take the trophy into the office the following morning.
This didn’t happen.
Despite my years of spectating Motorsport at both amateur and professional events, I’d somehow managed to forget that when entering a car, you need more than one member of a team, for Health and Safety reasons at the very least. Although amateur events in the UK are governed by strict safety regulations requiring Emergency Vehicles and Medical Staff on hand at all times, all drivers are still required to be accompanied by supporting members in case of accidents or breakdowns.
Luckily, I met Richard Croshaw and his son, Michael. Travelling the UK for a summer, this Electrical Engineer (from a well established Engineering company, Wall Industries) turned out to be my saving grace that day. They had stumbled upon the event that day purely accidentally and were just wandering into the Drivers’ Area when I came across the first hurdle of the day. Halfway through registration, an exasperated man with a clipboard was confused as to why I’d thought that I could attempt an all day race by myself and I was slowly growing more embarrassed and angry as a result.
Thankfully, Rich and Michael were there to help. Over hearing my troubles and seeing the opportunity to be a part of a Cinderella story of sorts, these plucky Americans offered to stand in for the day and support me through the race. Both Father and Son had race-day experience and being avid fans of Top Gear (at a time when it was still good) were both more than eager to be a part of a genuine scrap heap challenge. Although my saviours that day had come a long way to save my racing dream, they were two people who remain symbolic of the Motorsport scene throughout the world – generous, passionate and helpful.