Originally from West Yorkshire, I currently live in Cumbria and work as
Test Co-ordinator for M-Sport, who run the Ford World Rally Team. I
studied Mechanical Engineering at Southampton University, where, like
Nigel Parrish a few years before me, I competed on Wessex MC ‘Plotters
Cup’ Scatters and 12-cars. In 1992 we won the National Students
Motorsport Championship up in Edinburgh, where the night rally clues
were more difficult than table-tops! I have competed up in Scotland a
couple of times since on Inter Association Rallies, and they haven’t got
any easier, or I haven’t got any better – Steve Turnbull can vouch for
my 13-minute brain-fade on one section on the Forth Bridges last
I have always had an interest in maps, so did club table-tops and treasure hunts before I was allowed out in a ‘proper’ rally car – I did my first road rally in 1988 (just after the rules changed) in a 1-litre Metro. I first came across the postal table-top events in 1989 when I did the Langer Park. I am sure they were even more mind boggling then, I remember one coded route card was solved by replacing place names by their STD dialling codes, thus yielding grid squares to visit… I enjoy intricate plotting, but find it very frustrating if I can’t actually work out what I have to do in the first place!
I’ve been navigating on rallies for over 20 years, mainly on road rallies but also some stages, all over the UK. Between 1998 and 2003 I won 11 regional championships in the North and Midlands before moving more into endurance road and historic rallying in the last few years. I did my first international events in 2006, including the Historic Acropolis and Classic San Remo Rallies, on the way to winning the FIA Trophy for Historic Regularity Rallies alongside Malcolm Pickering in a Sunbeam Alpine and Rapier. We repeated this championship win in 2008, winning three events outright – The Winter Trial, The Classic Marathon and The Cyprus Historic. Sadly Malcolm had a stroke just a few days after our last event and passed away in December – he will be sorely missed.
I put my engineering degree to absolutely no use as I have worked mainly with Sainsbury’s and also the Co-op as a Department and Store Manager before moving to M-Sport in January 2007. I’m a life-long member of Ilkley & District Motor Club as an organiser and official as well as a competitor, most recently I was Hon. Secretary of the Association of Northern Car Clubs until 2008 and Stage Commander on numerous events up to BRC level, although I’ve relinquished most of these duties since I moved up to Cumbria.
I really enjoyed the challenge of the 2008 championship and was pleasantly surprised that my scores were good enough to win, especially with the limited time I had available for some of the events. On the only occasion I had time to tackle a route card at work, I had to break off plotting for an hour to go and sort out a drain problem – world rallying is not always as glamorous as it looks!
Sincere thanks to Crow, Gavin and Chick for their hard work setting the route cards and wading through the queries afterwards.
January 9, 2009