Searching for a victory

One of the true tests of a marriage is perhaps whether you can have your wife sit in the co-driver's seat of your 300 h.p. rally car with trees whizzing by at 200 km/h on a forest road and still be friends at the end of the race.

For certain, a healthy dose of insanity goes a long way in this type of environment, as does a reasonable level of self-preservation.

Regardless, Jackie has agreed to co-drive for me this year and I am thrilled. 

Rally is without a doubt my favourite sport to participate in and Jackie is about to find out why.

For the last several years, I have been busy doing advanced driver training and precision driving.

It is good to keep my hand in, but there is nothing like the adrenaline-fuelled anticipation as you sit on the start line of an event with the co-driver counting down those last few seconds and then you drop the clutch.

Like everything in life, I find the surge of adrenaline is very temporary. It is often precipitated by the tension of getting to the start line. The logistics, technical inspections, hotel arrangements and a busy few days prior to the actual rally.

Once the lights go green, my heart rate settles down and my brain engages with a cacophony of notes being read to me by Jackie.

Jackie, on the other hand, is probably petrified. A lot falls in to the co-driver's lap prior to and during the event and for a newbie rally co-driver, the fear of making a simple math error is paramount.

As drivers, we can be fighting for seconds on each stage or event tenths of seconds and yet a simple math error on a time card by the co-driver can lead to a penalty of a minute. 

To try and avoid the challenge, Jackie spent last week being coached by a Canadian champion co-driver, Nathalie Richard.

Nathalie, very kindly, spent a few hours online with Jackie coaching her about a number of management responsibilities both in the car and at the event (including managing the drivers desire to drive too quickly or too slowly).

Obviously, a two- or three-hour session online is not going to create a top quality co-driver, but if Jackie is less nervous at the first event we will have a fun time in the process of getting our feet wet again.

My goal is to have her stand on the hood of the car this year and celebrate a hard-earned victory — because victories always are hard. Nothing comes easy, but I have a suspicion Jackie has a knack for co-driving that is not completely natural.

In a test event several years ago, Jackie jumped in the passenger seat, picked up a set of notes for the stage we were running and announced she was going to read them.

Aside from the fact she had never seen a co-drivers short hand before, I had very little confidence that she could figure out how to pace the delivery of the notes. 

Well, she proved me wrong (which is not an uncommon occurrence in our 33 years of marriage). She kept her head down, delivered the notes almost perfectly and at the end exclaimed she had a problem. She had run out of notes! It was the fastest run through the stage we had done that day. Happy Valentine's Day honey, welcome to the team.

Massive thanks to Valley Mitsubishi, Big O Tires, Motorsports Fuel and Equipment Inc., Bell Helmets, Stroma Sign Group and Team Dynamics for their support in 2018. 

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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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