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There aren’t many sports where you can compete on equal terms with your kids, but we’re fortunate that rallying is one of them. In recent years I’ve had the pleasure of playing in the same senior cricket teams as my sons, and have now had them both in the co-driver’s seat in rallies. In early September my youngest son, Matt (15), finally got the opportunity he had longed for when we acted as zero (or course opening) car for our club’s Mt Porepunkah Rallysprint.
While there was no pressure to perform, other than getting to the end of the event, it quickly became an experience to be remembered: father-son time that’s hard to replicate anywhere else.
Like many children around the world, Matt and his older brother, Luke, have been born into a rallying family. It’s in their blood and they had little chance not to get the bug. It had been three years since I’d sat in the driver’s seat for a rally. That was back in 2014 when Luke and I had contested a rallysprint in our much-travelled Ford Escort. Now it was Matt’s turn, and he took to the task like a duck to water. A major clutch issue on the way to the very first stage almost ended our day before it even began, but quick work by a couple of mechanics at the first control soon had as up and running again.
What followed were eight stages of exhilaration for both driver and co-driver, and the look on Matt’s face as we finished each stage was worth every penny spent in preparation for the event.
Of course, now they’ve both had a run in the car they’ve backed me into a corner. Both want to co-drive, although 20-year old Luke is perhaps more intent on pushing his old man aside for a crack behind the steering wheel …. Male or female, young or old, rallying is a true family sport, and we should be doing everything we can to encourage more and more people to get involved. We aren’t all going to be champions and win events, but that’s inconsequential. Competing with your family, and enjoying the company of other competitors and officials is what makes this sport unique. Long may it remain.

Competing together was a father-son experience that will be hard to top.

Sideways and fun ... and probably safer than on the football field together too.

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