“Be­ing Wales Rally GB clerk is a real hon­our”

Motor Sport News - - Rally Gb Report -

Ever since Fred Gal­lagher stepped down as clerk of the course of Wales Rally GB at the end of last year’s event, I had been wor­ry­ing about my el­e­va­tion to fill the enor­mously big shoes he’d left un­der the table in rally con­trol.

Fred had been do­ing the job for 20 years and the prospect of try­ing to fol­low him was fairly daunt­ing.

Through­out this sea­son, I’ve watched and learned as this in­cred­i­ble team went through the gears and built up to­wards the start of last week’s event. By the time I moved into Dee­side at the start of the week, the nerves had gone. I’d been enor­mously re­as­sured at see­ing just how good these folk are at do­ing what they do.

I then re­alised, how­ever, that the fi­nal de­ci­sions on things now lay with me, which made me all the more de­ter­mined not to let any­body down.

As it hap­pened, the event ran fault­lessly. For a first time as clerk, last week’s rally was a pretty good one – noth­ing like the weather-af­fected night­mare last year turned out to be. I of­fered up a silent prayer of thanks to the weather gods on Sun­day night.

Col­lec­tively, what we do in rally con­trol is what we’ve al­ways done in rally con­trol: we set the con­voy mov­ing at shake­down on Thurs­day morn­ing and we just try to keep it rolling along un­til Sun­day af­ter­noon. And we did that with an ab­so­lute min­i­mum of fuss and drama.

There were a cou­ple of spec­ta­tor and marshal-re­lated ill­nesses along the way, but those were dealt with quickly and com­pe­tently – as were the massed ranks of spec­ta­tors on the sec­ond run of Clo­caenog.

Fri­day was prob­a­bly the busiest day, which con­cluded with us go­ing into a city cen­tre event in Ch­ester later than planned. But again, we worked through our plans and ev­ery­thing was per­fect.

The sec­ond run of Al­wen also caused a few tense mo­ments. As we watched the first run through the Sun­day test, which started at 0928hrs, it be­came clear we might be in dan­ger of lap­ping our­selves with the sec­ond run which started at 1114hrs. As it was, the zero car for SS21 went into the stage pretty much di­rectly be­hind the sweeper for SS19!

But we made it. Peo­ple have asked me what it’s like to be clerk of the course of a WRC round and that ques­tion makes me smile. I can’t be­lieve peo­ple are ask­ing me that ques­tion! Thanks to my dad, I’ve been rally mad all my life and the thought of me, Iain Camp­bell, be­ing the clerk of the course of a world cham­pi­onship still catches me by sur­prise.

And that was prob­a­bly the rea­son I found my­self sit­ting down on my own in rally con­trol with a stupid big grin on my face late on Sun­day night. But the re­al­ity is, there’s a fair bit more pa­per­work than I’d imag­ined.

But if that’s the price of the best job in the world, then I am happy.

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