I was interested in road rallies, late night
low-speed navigational events, and joined a
local motorclub in Abergavenny as I wanted to
get involved. I met other competitors and got
an insight into what events were coming up.
I started competing in a different form of motorsport,
stage rallying, involving high speed on closed
roads. After a few years, I was approached by
a driver for Vauxhall and got my first semi-professional
drive. In 1990, I was offered a full-time job
in rally sport.
You wouldn’t be able to jump into a professional
seat and perform! You really need to build up
a level of expertise. To do this job, you have
to have a good nerve, a good level of concentration,
be meticulous in preparation…and not suffer
from travel sickness! Seriously, attention to
detail really makes the difference.
I learnt the hard way - it’s the best! Navigation
and map-reading isn’t natural and it comes after
time. I asked friends with more experience and
learnt from them. By going through your local
motor club you can pick up on others’ experience.
It’s important never to be afraid to ask.
It is difficult to get a professional contract
and make money and I know I’m lucky to do this.
Getting a chance to compete at world level is
the thing. In 1992, I joined one of the most
successful teams, Toyota, and I knew that was
my starting point.
Winning my first World Championship was very
special to me. Due to a colleague’s serious
illness, I was a last-minute draft in. We led
from the first stage to the last and my career
took off. Other highlights have been winning
my home round of the World Championship and
aiding the driver to win the World championship
in 1993. Currently, I am a few events from being
the most successful co-driver in the world.
It’s teamwork that matters as the co-driver
and driver are interdependent.
Towards the end of ’95, we were close to winning
the World Championship and the team was caught
cheating with modifications to the car which
we were totally oblivious to.
We lost all our points and were banned from
the Championship. Everything we had worked for
was gone! The year after was bad!
from the top:
If you are interested, get out and compete in
as many events as you can. Get experience. Look
at my website for the tips page - Nickygrist.com
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