at Trackrod Rally
Evening Standard Journalist to take on Jardine challenge of becoming WRC co-driver
Just one week on from passing his BARS exam, the first step to an International co-drivers licence, Evening Standard sports journalist David Smith will start his uphill climb to compete at World Rally Championship (WRC) standard.
Smith will accompany Tony Jardine in the Castrol / Evening Standard team’s ProSpeed run Ford Fiesta for Yorkshire’s biggest motor sport event, the Trackrod Rally, this Saturday (September 27). Smith, from Dunstable, has been writing for The Evening Standard for 22 years and is the latest journalist to accept Jardine’s task of gaining their international navigators licence. Journalist Smith was at Silverstone Circuit just last week having his first experience of driving a rally car and learning skills necessary to compete at WRC level. He will now be expected to make the big step to becoming a fully competent co-driver for Jardine as they both tackle the Trackrod event.
The experienced writer will have some knowledge behind him coming into the event as he has competed in a road rally previously. Smith was co-driver to the legendary late Roger Clark on the 1989 Autoglass Tour of Britain that embraced rallying and racing. However due to the fact that Smith’s last motor sport involvement was such a different event 19 years ago, Jardine has arranged a training day with top WRC navigator Nicky Grist who was co- driver to the late Colin McRae in 1997, 2002, 2005 and finally 2006.
David will now need a complete days management and timing training to be combined with the skill to read the adapted pace notes. After a full day in the classroom, the map weary rally virgin will head straight to Pickering hoping he has taken enough in to navigate Jardine and himself around the fast forest stages of the Yorkshire forest. In the build up to the event
Jardine said, “David is facing quite a tall order to qualify in a such short space of time. By the time he arrives in Yorkshire he will have been put through his navigational paces by former World Rally Championship co-driver Nicky Grist who partnered Colin McRae for many years, so I hope he is able to take it all in as he will only have a few hours before he has to put it all into practice.”
David Smith said before the event, "I'm looking forward to the rally with both excitement and trepidation. My major concern is letting Tony and the team down through my lack of experience. I know from my one previous event 19 years ago that it is easy to incur penalties for basic errors like checking in too early. As for giving Tony a wrong call while speeding through a forest, the consequences don't bear thinking about, but the day Tony and I spent at Silverstone Circuit's excellent Rally Experience course has whetted my appetite for the sport and I can't wait for the action to start.”
Smith went on to outline his personal targets, “The first priority will be forming a bond with Tony so that he can trust my co-driving as much as I trust him behind the steering wheel. The aim is to form a competitive team. I'm not going along just for the ride. I want to be a winner." The Castrol / Evening Standard team will be competing in a Ford Fiesta ST150 which will be prepared once again by York based ProSpeed Motorsport.
Managing Director Olly Marshall commented, “It is good that we have a co-driver who has had some experience inside a rally car, but it’s limited so it is still going to be a challenge for David. The Trackrod is only the start of things to come, he will need to keep focused throughout the campaign and remember everything he learns on the way. The crash course from Nicky will almost definitely help him understand what he needs to be doing.”
The team travelling to Yorkshire to compete in the Trackrod rally will also consist of Andy Beale who is a McLaren technician and test driver based in Lightwater, Surrey. Beale who has been ever present for Jardine on his rally campaigns since 2006 said, “It is going to be an interesting weekend, firstly to see how far David has come in just a week, and then secondly to see what we can achieve as a team. It will be a learning curve for all of us, but we are determined to get it right.”
The Ford Fiesta ST150 driven by experienced driver Jardine and his new co-driver David Smith will be supplied with the latest tyres from Kuhmo, the latest safety clothing from Alpinestars and a new Arai crash helmet with a special intercom. The now complete tight-knit team aim to impress in Yorkshire.