I have been involved in rallying for many years as a mechanic, but never actually competed in the car. So when I was given the opportunity to navigate for Nat Presutto in Round 1 of the 2008 Victorian Club Rally Series, the Bonnie Doon Rally, I had to say yes!

It was the perfect event for me to start competing and my initial thoughts were "this should be easy! Tell Nat left or right, caution etc… where is the challenge in that?" How wrong I was!!!
Once we had entered the rally, the first stop for me was Meridian Motorsport to pickup some safety gear and also some advice, thanks to Brenton and staff! I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could in regard to navigating (I should have done a lot more) however the one thing I should have spent more time on was the Coralba trip computer! This machine was to be my first downfall.
We arrived at the first competitive time control five minutes late after I missed the turn off!! We got a 45 second penalty! After this minor mistake, Nat and I both relaxed a bit and started having fun. I started to use the machine to some degree and off we went on our first stage (I think I read one tulip right!) The day progressed in the same way, with me slowly working out what I really was meant to do!
Stage 3 saw us lose about three minutes when Nat lost brakes!!! The pedal went almost to the floor (not fun!) We had to slow right down to a crawl to the end of the stage. The problem turned out to be bad caliper knock-off which was rectified at the first service.
We were back on song for stage 4 though, setting our first fastest time for the day and we did it again on Stage 9 (thanks to Nat) - we were having a great time. Nat was relaxed and having fun, and I was having the time of my life! By the end of the day I had (believe it or not) worked out the majority of what it was all about, with no penalties in the second half of the day.
For people who have been involved in rallying, especially co-drivers, I now realise just how important you are! Co-drivers/navigators have absolutely no rest during an event like Bonnie Doon, and I now have a greater understanding of what rallying is all about.
I would like to thank all the people involved with the Bonnie Doon Rally, including other competitors. They were all more than helpful in every aspect of my experience with the event, especially on the day!

The other people to thank are Nat and our service crew of Chris, Ash & Bones - you guys did a great job. Also for all the support from SBARU Parts, The Yarra Glen Grand Hotel, Meridian Motorsport, PK Panels, Associated Tyres, Lucas Automotive & Thompson’s Radiator Service given to us that got us through the event, and to Randy & the boys from Nissco for their help on the day. Basically we would like to say a HUGE thanks from the whole SBARU Parts Racing Team.

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