Every so often, we’ll be posting a quick write up on some of our competitors. Some of their stories will surprise you!
Today we are profiling none other than Tom Clarke. Tom has been around rallying for quite a while and although he has gone to the dark side with a Mitsubishi EVO, he did start his career in a mighty Datsun 1600! Read on to find out more -
Driver or Co-driver or both: Driver
Name: Tom Clarke
Number of years in the sport: 7 years
What got you into the sport: Growing up with a family that was heavily involved for years (Gavin, Kelvin and Clinton Croker) and having rally that used the roads around the house I grew up in. (Termeil)
Favourite part of the sport: Love the adrenalin of driving the car. Weekends away with friends and family. Great circle of people in the rally community.
Your favourite event: Always have loved the local event (Bay Stages – Batemans Bay) rally Australia out of Coffs Harbour 2015 was a memorable event.
What’s your favourite car you’ve competed in: Most my rally career has been in a Datsun 1600 which is an incredible car to drive and compete in. This year I’m in an EVO 9 for a change and thoroughly enjoying the car.
Who is your rally idol and why: Sebastian Loeb driving over the past years was amazing to watch.
Career highlight/s: Finishing events without car dramas or breaking it. Tough sport to get to the podium.
Any exciting rally moments: Rally Australia in 2015 was a very memorable first event in the Evo.
Any scary non-rally moments: Plenty!! To many to talk about!
What are your plans for the year: To compete for the NSW rally championship title.
What are your goals for the year: To make each event of the state rounds and look towards a good end of series result.
What’s your day job: Business owner of a Construction company.
What do you do when you’re not rallying: Relax as much as possible. Surfing, crossfit training to keep fit, and finding time to have drinks with mates.
Thanks Tom and best of luck this year!
Time for the second instalment of the rally bio's! This time we're getting to know young gun and all-round nice guy, Justin Griffin.
Read on to find out more!
Driver or Co-driver or both: Driver Justin Griffin, navi Tom Flegl
Name: Justin Griffin
Nickname: Shmicko, Griffo, Chucky, list goes on
Number of years in the sport: Been involved in rally since I could walk, been driving in rally events since I could hold a cams licence, so a long time
What got you into the sport: Phil Griffin, my old man, has been involved in rally before my time and must be in my blood. A lot of close friends rally as well so always been around the sport
Favourite part of the sport: Driving of course nothing better than getting loose and having a good time trying to scare your navi!!
Your favourite event: The roads out around Bathurst and Oberon areas are some of my favourites love how fast but technical the roads are
What’s your favourite car you’ve competed in: Would have to be the 4WD turbo Celica. Great car to steer!
Who is your rally idol and why: Colin McRae & Possum Bourne. I watched them as a kid and they always looked effortless when flat out and best of all, they were always sideways. There is nothing better!
Career highlight/s: Would have to be the 3rd rally Flegl and I did in the Celica at Bathurst rally in 2015. We were leading the rally without even knowing, while have major mechanical problems!
Any exciting rally moments: Umm every corner is a moment!
Any scary non-rally moments: Ha ha, we all know the answer to that!!
What are your plans for the year: Fix the car and try to do as many events as possible
What are your goals for the year: Try and scare Flegl, just finish every rally possible, and put on a good show on for the spectators!
What’s your day job: Panel beater / fabricator / painter
What do you do when you’re not rallying: Work and more work and whatever fun things come up!
Today, it's Erin's turn to tell her story.
“My Nana, June Kelly, was really into it,” Erin explains. “In one event she even rolled the family car! My uncles and my mum, Catriona Kelly, all grew up around rallying, and in 2002 my Mum got into co-driving. Not long after, my Uncle Al built a Renault Alpine A110 and asked me to navigate for him.”
Since then Erin has competed nationally and internationally as a co-driver, racing in the Australian Rally Championship, Asia Pacific Rally Championship, British Rally Championship and New Zealand Rally Championship. She also won the 2014 Queensland Rally Championship. Erin’s roles as co-driver means she reads the pace notes that describe the upcoming course for the driver. This navigation is critical in rally driving due to the high speeds and unpredictable roads the drivers contend with. For Erin, flying through the air in a rolling car is all part of the job.
“There are always exciting moments in a rally car however some get the adrenalin pumping more than others,” she says. “I would have to say rolling at Rally Australia in 2015 and landing back on the wheels, pointing in the right direction, powering the car back up, picking a gear and continuing on without missing a beat was pretty exciting. We would have lost less than 10 seconds.”
Erin’s favourite part of the sport is the people she meets and the places it takes her. Along with her family, Erin has spent years rallying in Canberra and around Australia, but her favourite event is Rally Whangarei in New Zealand. “The roads are unbelievable!” she says. “I swear they were purpose built for rallying.”
In the world of female rally drivers, Erin looks up to French former rally driver Michele Mouton, who began racing as a co-driver but soon moved into the driver’s seat. Mouton competed in the World Rally Championship and took four victories, finishing runner-up in the drivers’ world championship in 1982. “Firstly because she drove one of the coolest cars around (an Audi Quattro),” explains Erin when asked why Mouton inspires her, “and secondly, she’s is one of the only women to give the boys a run for their money at the World Rally Championship level.”
Erin is dreaming of a podium finish herself this year, as co-driver to Canberran driver Adrian Coppin in the Australian Rally Championships.
This time we are getting to know Tim a bit better! Read on to find out about the legendary Silvia driver!
Driver or Co-driver or both: Definitely driver, I haven’t got the bravery for sitting in the other side of the car!
Name: Tim Wilkins
Number of years in the sport: 10 years rallying now and looking forward to many more!
What got you into the sport: Being anywhere near my father (Stewart) I wasn’t going to have a choice, I was persuaded and I have loved every minute of it!
Favourite part of the sport: The atmosphere, the fantastic people and the community around it all are fantastic but just the feeling of driving a car to your full potential is a massive rush, so that would have to be it.
Your favourite event: Rally of the Bay. We have run this event once so far and it’s the best I have ever done, the roads are fantastic and very easy to read.
What’s your favourite car you’ve competed in: Couldn’t go past the Silvia,
Its fast, very sideways and shreds lots of tyres. Its lots of fun!!
Who is your rally idol and why: Neal Bates, being long term family friends of my parents he had been someone I had seen a lot of as a kid and always looked up to him and admire his talent.
Career highlight/s Coming 3rd outright in the NSWRC last year was certainly the highlight.
The car is developing and I’m getting more confident every event so hopefully we can repeat that again and end up on the podium this year.
Any exciting rally moments: Plenty of exciting moments it’s hard to think back to just one but if I had to pick one, I wore the two rear tyres down past the canvas on a stage at Tumut last year and drove the last 4 kilometres on just rims, it certainly had me on the edge of the seat for those last 4 k’s which felt like 20!!
Any scary non-rally moments: Plenty of motocross accidents but nothing that comes to mind immediately.
What are your plans for the year: To continue in the NSWRC and to attempt to get the best result at each event we go to and gain as much experience as possible.
What are your goals for the year: The goal is to try and make it on the podium at the end of the year again, there is so much more fantastic competition this year which will make it difficult but it should also make it interesting.
What’s your day job: Managing Director of SSS Automotive Imports, importing cars and high performance parts from Japan.
What do you do when you’re not rallying: When I’m not rallying I’m thinking about rallying, it’s such an addictive sport and there is so much preparation involved in having cars ready and keeping them reliable it’s really all that’s revolving around my little world anyway.
Thanks for your time Tim.