Updated: Jul 25, 2018
A couple of years ago my partner and I decided to start a new adventure together. We had met a fantastic builder of Porsche 911s, Richard Tuthill #tuthillporsche. His cars can withstand the cruellest of the rallies as they are built according to "Safari" specs and we, were keen to learn how to compete successfully in a multi-day rally in Africa. Although we were aware we were embarking in a great journey, none of us envisaged that this project was going to enrich our lives, improve our bonding as a both as couple and with the people around us like it did.
First, we needed to learn two necessary skills: piloting and co-driving a rally car. Most driving enthusiasts are able to drive "fast" but, safely going "race fast" on a slippery surface is an entirely different story. Likewise, most travellers can read a road map but, again, navigating a rally pilot turn by turn for hundreds of kilometres requires skills, competence and training. Combine these two elements, and you get a rally crew.
So, once you have a complex problem to solve, you split it into more straightforward tasks. What is the best (and safest) option for learning how to drive fast on slippery surfaces than a frozen lake? And what's better than a professional co-driver for coaching Lucia along this path?
Therefore, after a few rallies in Wales for obtaining the International licences, we headed towards Are in Sweden and Asti in Piedmont. There, apart from enjoying the fantastic (although different) sceneries and food we got a better understanding of rally driving coached by proper rally instructors #belowzeroicedriving.
At the same time, Lucia squeezed her coach #nicolaarena for grasping as many secrets as possible on the co-piloting side. Together we practised reading and listening rally notes in the beautiful Piedmont countryside.
The "amazing stuff"
A rally crew is formed by a pilot and a copilot. These must act as a whole, as an orchestra but without a conductor. In an orchestra, each member has a specific task that is essential to the whole. Likewise in a rally crew, each one has a job that has to be performed in sync with the other to succeed. Finding the right tune is difficult but, when you achieve that, is where the magic happens. When you then try to make it happen in a car with 50 degrees inside the cockpit for 10 hours a day on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere in Morocco's most secluded parts, it really leaves a sign.
Discovering this has been the main takeaway of the whole rally. Then there are millions of anecdotes, funny stories and pictures, but those are better told with a nice glass of wine during an evening together than in this blog.
I leave you now with some photos and let's have a nice drink together if you want to laugh, cry and tremble with the diary of the Morocco Historic Rally 2018 #moroccohistoricrally.
Just a small note on a detail ... Most people think about historical rally cars as old and slow vehicles taken out from a barn for the occasion and kept together with some glue. This is deeply misleading. These are instead cars from the mid 80's, powerful like hell and with "no nannies" as the English say, with no help of sort from any electronic stability control. Think about the cars you were used to seeing in rallies in those years and here you have the staring list: Porsches, Opel, Renault, Lancia, etc. These are pure piloting essence with some modern addition for safety and reliability. Put them on slippery gravel, drive them flat out 8 hours a day for a week and you are starting getting the idea...