I would like to start off with a huge thank you to RallySport Magazine for inviting me to keep this on-line journal, and I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences - I hope you find it interesting. Currently I’m preparing for the Higher School Certificate - or as the teachers like to call it - ‘the big quiz’. It all kicks off in a week, so it’s last minute cramming time! I was sitting at my desk the other night when it sunk in just how much work I have to get done, therefore the rally car is unfortunately resting in the shed for the next few weeks.

I have to say that it’s been a hectic year trying to combine all the rallies and the HSC, but as soon as the HSC is over it will be full steam ahead preparing for the last round of the NSW Rally Championship, then Rally Des Femmes, and then on to 2007.

Hmm, so much has happened this year – where to start!? I have been competing in the NSW Championship which has been so much fun and I have learnt heaps more than I ever anticipated in only a bit over a year of rallying (in fact it’s my 15 month rally anniversary today!!).

I guess one of the most significant things that I’ve learnt about rallying is that it’s made up of  two things – highs and lows. I was lucky (if you want to put it like that) enough to experience both these things at my very first rally in Taree in 2005. I came into service after the first 7km stage completely ecstatic, I just couldn’t believe how much fun it actually was. 

I’ve been surrounded by rallying since I can remember but to actually be in the driver’s seat on a proper stage in a proper rally was just indescribable!! However the low was not too far away and 19km into the next stage I parked it vertically off the road. Bummer! I would soon learn the importance of winding off the lock VERY quickly.  I bet my co-driver, Mick Ryan, was regretting offering to co-drive for me.  But luckily he did pack some chocolate.

Thinking back on that incident, I realise just how inexperienced I was. When it first happened I tried to reverse vertically back up onto the road, but Mick suggested that it was maybe a bit too optimistic an idea.

The major high that sticks out in my mind was the purchase of my Celica, which I have been driving this year. I would like to thank my horse at this point for being so co-operative in his sale to finance my new investment! What a fantastic car to drive and it has taught me a lot about car control in a powerful rear wheel drive – and I can definitely tell why everyone raves about them. Awesome!

The car is also very challenging though. Being 32 years old, it doesn’t have any power steering. I’ve discovered that my arm muscles need a bit of work, which has kept me busy at the gym.  I am watching my biceps grow – although I do get some funny looks while lifting weights like I’m turning a steering wheel!!

My next event is the National Capital Rally in Canberra, so hopefully my next blog will be all about that. I have just put my nomination in for the CAMS Women’s and Rally Driver Development programs, so fingers crossed. I gained so much out of the programs run this year that I’d love to have the opportunity to gain even more next time. I think it’s a great initiative and it was pretty cool eating breakfast in the same room as Jana Pittman and other elite athletes.

The next big job for me is to finish putting together my sponsorship proposal and going on the hunt for some more sponsors for 2007.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my current sponsors: Gary’s Motorsport Tyres and Sideways Action Rally Schools, as well as Mick Ryan for calling the shots and to very bravely (or stupidly!?) volunteer to help me out; Greg McPherson, Craig Fletcher, Jay McCulloch, Neal Bates, Mum and Dad and everyone else, and especially all the event organisers and officials out there for as always doing such a fantastic job.  (And my sister Jane for tutoring me through my HSC study). 

Oh, and Simon Evans for first inspiring me to drive my buggy sideways, with apologies to my mum for ripping up the lawn.

Until next time

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