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Chris Atkinson valiantly worked his underpowered City Speed Fiesta up to eighth overall on the Fordrace Epynt Stages rally earlier this year, despite having the incalculable handicap ofCCC's do-anything idiot, Russell Bulgin, gibbering in the left-hand seat. Then the gearbox went on the blink. Here, for the first time, Mr. Bulgin presents his carefully worded excuses. Messrs Richards, Gallagher, Nicholson and Short need not look to their laurels....
Chris Atkinson knows precisely what he wants from a co-driver. "The first thing I'd expect the co-driver to know is exactly where and when we've got to be to get the car scrutineered and get signed on. What time the rally starts. He'll have to have all the necessary maps, too. He must check to see where all the service areas are to tell the service crew to be there on time - and where to go after that. And what to do in the event of us not turning up, as in, if we get stuck somewhere...."
Sorry to interrupt, Chris, but are you sure that guys actually enjoy doing this? It's supposed to be a hobby, not a penance. You should also realise you are talking to a man in whose vocabulary the word 'organisation' doesn't feature too strongly. His briefcase sports an interior like a municipal rubbish tip and true luxury manifests itself in his life through the guise of an uncreased shirt. Undaunted, Atkinson explains further. "He'll have to check out the mileage between each service-area and find out how many stages we've got to do before each service, and whether we want to carry one or two spare wheels. If there's only two stages between service, then we generally take a chance on it; but if there's five stages then we'd carry two."
Ahem. Deep breath time. The original idea was fine. Co-drive for Chris Atkinson on the Fordrace Tyres Epynt Stages rally. Enjoy a summer's day charging through glorious countryside in a tweaky Group Two Fiesta, stopping at the occasional time control and service point for a refreshing snack before leaping happily back into the fray. Everybody knows that a rally co-driver is just a sack of potatoes, sitting dormant in the left-hand-seat - so why is Atkinson making it all sound as difficult as co-ordinating NATO's response to a pre-emptive Russian nuclear strike?
"Make sure we've got enough petrol in the car; we work on an average of 15mpg for a mixture of road and stage work. On the stages, just shout when you spot an arrow; nothing else. Let me sort out unmarked bends and brows on my own."
Maybe, given some deep thought, this is possible. Just. It will require all the attributes normally lacking in CCC's self-styled Action Man; discipline, logic, patience, beer money. Take it as a challenge. Men, it can be done!
Except that Atkinson hasn't finished yet.
"Then after that, if you were using pacenotes...." Pacenotes? No, sorry, end of.....
Bottom-Middle - Everybody knows that a rally co-driver is just a sack of potatoes, sitting dormant in the left-hand-seat - so why is Atkinson making it all sound as difficult as coordinating NATO's response to a pre-emptive Russian nuclear strike?