Nathan Quinn's 2021 rally season is all laid out for him, but the current Coronavirus lockdown means that his 2020 ARC plans are in serious jeopardy.
RallySport Magazine asked Quinn about how he was surviving COVID-19. His thoughts on the remainder of the year, and on a reduced ARC season, will spark much interest.
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RSM: Where are you holed up during this lockdown?
Nathan Quinn: Lockdown isn’t so bad in Coffs Harbour, and while there are obvious disadvantages of living in a remote town, there’s the advantage of not nearly half the strangers you get in big cities.
Who's in the house with you?
In fairness, my lockdown life is much the same. Trying to keep my staff employed at work and using my weekends to get out on the bike. I say a helmet is just as good as a mask!
It’s actually great for me – the pubs are shut.
My partner is with me at home and she is working the frontline in ED at the base hospital. We are both well aware of exactly how bad the case is at home.
More importantly, we're aware of the precautions to be met, and it’s pretty tough for her as she can’t risk seeing any of her family.
What are you doing to keep amused during these strange times?
I downloaded my first streaming service over the weekend, so I’ll spend the nights on that and may even purchase a PlayStation Rally game.
Meanwhile, I’ll hopefully continue to maintain riding the dirt cycle as my essential exercise. If all else fails I have plenty of loose ends in the workshop that need attending too.
Do you have a driving simulator close by to keep you entertained?
I had a simulator a bit over a year ago. I moved it on - it just doesn’t quite cut it for me and takes up so much room!
There's no truth that Quinn has been moonlighting as an Uber driver during isolation.
Are there any cars and tools there for you to play with?
I have things I could do to the RX2, but I like to leave my prep to the last minute. It’s far more productive.
I also have a 1974 Mazda 929 myself and a mate bought to turn into a road car, but there’s a fair bit of bodywork to do. I know how to bend panels, not straighten them, so I’m procrastinating if we'll get onto it. If not, it’s for sale.
What are you missing most about not being able to get out and about?
I was going to give rallying a nudge at the top this year, so to have it put on hold is a killer.
Furthermore, getting away just for the simple state/club type of events really makes me miss the sport.
I’m also spewing I can’t get in for a haircut, and the club sports I play during the week and weekends are off, and that's always a great time to socialise and remain competitive.
What are the three most-used apps on your phone at the moment (eg: Facebook, Spotify, etc)?
Instagram, Facebook Messenger and the internet.
I logged out of the Facebook app in December last year. Too much %#@$ on it and I found myself scrolling for no reason.
Now, the way every man and dog posts about their new home gym is making me reconsider whether I should keep Instagram.
Do you think we'll be back rallying before the end of the year?
Yes, I'll be rallying. However, next year is my 'triple' - Otago, Rally of the Heartland and Alpine, so realistically I won’t be scheduling any ARC events in 2021.
However, if the ARC were to run a minimum four-round series at the end of the year, through to say February, then I am 100% down for it.
If they had to make state rounds part of it and include a blind event and a night event, then I am 200% down!
And finally - do you have anything to add?
Is our social distancing a reminder of the 80s and 90s? Perhaps if we keep these pubs and businesses from Saturday afternoon/night and Sunday trade, it could it be an opportunity for rallying to boom again?
The public's only entertainment would be their lounge-room or a BBQ, and perhaps the remote sport of rallying could draw people back out into the forests! After all, it could be a long time before international events can operate effectively.
Nathan Quinn will have his Mazda RX2 out competing again in 2021 – a classic year! Photo: Peter Whitten
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