“Being part of the crew was a thrill”
Iwas in the middle of a pretty normal day at Tunnock’s when my mobile rang. It was Matthew Wilson. The Teacakes were looking good, so I answered.
“Dad and I have been talking about bringing somebody back to the team to coordinate the weather crews on Tarmac rallies, do you fancy it?”
I love baking biscuits, but this is the sport where I am determined to make it as a professional co-driver and the chance to work with four-time world champions in Julien [Ingrassia], and Sebastien [Ogier] wasn’t one I was going to pass up.
I’ve worked with M-sport in the past, done some testing and co-driving with Matthew, so I’ve got a good insight into what’s made them the best in the business. But this was the first time I had worked with them in the World Rally Championship.
When I saw the weather forecast before the event, I realised I couldn’t have signed up on a more intense rally. The Monte’s always tricky for calling the weather, but a week out, there was talk of snow coming and plummeting temperatures, which would mean trying to second-guess when those damp patches would turn to black ice. And, in the other way, when the ice would melt, allowing the guys to whip off the winters and take the racers.
I was sure I would find it difficult to sleep in the nights before the start. But I was concentrating so hard on making sure the weather crews were all going to be placed in the right area and able to get the information back to me in the best possible fashion, I was absolutely knackered when I got to my bed!
Once the event started, the buzz was incredible and the focus amazing – to see this from the inner sanctum of the command centre was an absolute privilege. It’s our sport at the absolute highest level.
Ultimately, the first few days were pretty straightforward for the weather: it was dry and cold, but that final day went a bit mad. Everybody was talking snow, but at 0600hrs, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. But it came and we got it right.
There was real satisfaction in joining the team and getting the job done. Julien was fantastic and really helpful – that settled my nerves. But the relief when the boys crossed the line was unbelievable.
I was pretty chuffed when Malcolm came over, gave me a big hug and said: “You can come again!”
So I am. I’m off to Sweden and couldn’t be happier.
But don’t worry, I’ll keep my eye in with the Teacakes!