Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chapter 7: The dust incident

I have been asked repeatedly on motorsportforums.com to give my view of the following video, which relates an incident between myself and another driver:


This is what happened:

We start the stage "Waipu Gorge".  After some few kilometers, the engine shuts off by itself.  No way to restart.  Free rolling, I park up on the side.  We did not have radio system, so, on the phone with the engine specialist...  We determine quickly that the throttle motor has packed up. 

Gemma and I proceeded to make a bypass, disconnecting the throttle motor from the engine and connecting an emergency throttle cable instead.  We then sat back into the car and did a special procedure to re-start the car with manual throttle, no fly-by-wire system. 

Then the engine fired up, 10 minutes or something like that, after we had stopped.  I hung up the phone, looked over my shoulder, saw no-one and left. 

At some point later, maybe 4 or 5 km from the finish, the phone started ringing again.  I thought it was the engine guy wanting to know if everything was ok, thinking we might be out of the stage by now, but we were not yet.  I was just focused on getting to the end, having just lost a huge amount of time.  I was really annoyed with that throttle failure.  Such a stupid thing to break.  1.000Euro and a whole race thrown away. 

I realised my mistake after the finish.  We had held up an official Ford.  I was very sorry for them.  The other co-driver came to our car, furious, looked at our computer screen...for a strange reason, and yelled at us.  We did not know what to tell him. 

Back at service, the now "not so furious" co-driver comes back to me to apologise.  You see, he thought we had a radio.  With a radio the team can send you written messages, that appear on the screen.  So ignoring such a message would be really bad.  He thought we had a radio and when someone updated his thoughts on that, well, that changed things a little. 

I talked to the boss, and the other driver, apologised for the mistake.  Everyone understood that these things can happen, in stressful situations.  No hard feelings.  I have been in similar situations as well with opposed roles.  What can I say.  Sh*t happens. 

Not a single person from the press has ever asked me about my version of this incident.  No interview, nothing.   

Always a pleasure to serve the press.


  1. I wouldn't pass him anyway. It's all about racing.

  2. I read your whole blog in one breath. Not surprising at all to read all this, as I have heard a lot from people in the know, but still sad to get another confirmation.

    All this is why we can only look at videos and rallies from 15, 20 years ago and hope it'll go back to that.

    The sad fact is you need to be a perfect driver and spend millions, then you'll maybe have a shot at the top levels.

    And still, one wouldn't exactly call you poor, so what about all the people who start off in little pugs or clios?? Absolutely no hope.

  3. All I can say is that your blog is one of the best I've read so far. Keep up the good work! We need guys like you!

  4. Thanks for the support guys

  5. Great read. Depressing but great. Thank You for sharing. Hope You can put all the bitterness aside and still enjoy driving.