Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson is set to take centre stage after continual persuasion from Sky colleague Tony Jardine to make her competition debut.
Thompson will be competing live in front of cameras as she has never done before as she goes into the unknown. Thompson, who has been presenting Sky Sports News for the past seven years, has been a fan of motorsport from a young age and will be participating in her maiden race, the competitive Woodpecker Rally in Ludlow on August 30
The novice who is already extremely nervous about the prospect of being thrown in at the deep end, will have the comfort of familiar face Jardine with whom she has worked alongside at Sky Sports. However, Thompson’s first challenge in rallying will be no walk in the park, as the job in hand is to partner Jardine in the hot seat of the rally car as his co driver.
Thompson who usually accompanies Jardine in the comfort of their London studio will now be literally thrown into the exact opposite of what she is used to. There will be no comfy seats, and warm studios, just the car and her new book of pacenotes which she will use to guide Jardine through the 44 stage miles of rough terrain in the Castrol owned Fiesta ST150.
The pacenotes are very complex and will be in a completely different format to the reports Thompson normally reads at Sky Sports, she will have to adapt to them very quickly and be very confident in calling them when needed, which will be when the car is hurtling through the forest at high speed. They are a vital part in getting the duo across the eight testing stages that contain small snake like tracks.
“I have been trying for years to persuade Georgie to take part in a rally with me” said Twickenham businessman Jardine. “She has finally, nervously agreed to do it. Instead of talking to the camera she is going to be darting in front of it from inside a rally car at speeds of over 100mph. I hope by the end of our time together I will have converted yet another journalist to the fabulous sport that is rallying. If not, she will certainly have been taught how to be a competent co-driver by the time I have finished with her.”
ProSpeed Motorsport, based in York, will once again accompany Jardine and his new co-driving partner as the Castrol / Sky Sports service crew for the event, with Kumho supplying the team with the latest in rally tyre technology.
ProSpeed Motorsport Managing Director Olly Marshall said, “I am raring to go for another rally, especially this one as it has a twist. I am a fan of Georgie’s and now I’m going to be working with her. This is something that is going to be very challenging, training her up to be rally competent in just six hours. It is going to be tough for her to come in with no experience, and on such a tight rally as this one, the pressure is definitley going to be on especially knowing that Tony will want to do well. With this rally there are no guarantees, but we will give it our best shot.” On the event McLaren Development Engineer Andy Beale will be working alongside the ProSpeed Motorsport team.
Beale commented, “I’ve seen Georgie on Sky, and she has a clear love for motorsport, its now just a question of whether she can keep up with the pace of rallying where there is no margin for error.”
With just one week until the event Thompson said, “Obviously I am nervous going into this as I have no idea what to expect. I have only ever presented motorsport and seen it on TV. This is going to be a completely different experience for me. Tony has been asking me for some time now and this time round I thought why not? It has been something I have always wanted to do but never had the courage to go through with. The aspect that is really appealing to me is that I will now be able to see first hand the skills needed to compete at such a high level. There is no doubt that I have to do well on this event, or I will never hear the end of it from Tony.”
The Woodpecker rally will be filmed by Sky who will be using the footage to document Jardine and Thompson’s progress through the channels Sky Sports News and World of Motorsport.