Marianne
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Marieanne Gray 2009 season


Just over a year ago the idea of rally co-driving was nothing more than a pipe dream. Fast forward to today and I’ve now completed my first season, collected a handful of awards, picked up a few bumps and bruises along the way, had highs and lows and accumulated many life long friends.

During my first season I have travelled over 5100 miles and that’s before I’d even set foot inside a rally car! Competed in 9 rallies at both sides of the border, which have been on tarmac and gravel. Had 5 different drivers and been in a Vauxhall Astra, VW Polo estate, Peugeot 106, Citroen AX, Peugeot 205 and a Ford Fiesta ST.

I spent most of the season competing in the Scottish Tarmac Rally Championship but as it was my first season and I didn’t have a regular driver it meant that I missed out on a few of the Championship rounds which was a bit of a shame as I was sitting third in the Championship standings at one point. As it was my first year it also meant that I was more interested in gaining knowledge and experience in the co-driving seat rather than chasing for points and awards.

My first ever rally saw me not only getting a finish but finishing 25th overall out of 90 something cars and 5th in class, pretty good going for a rookie even if I do say so myself ha ha. From there I went on to do a few more tarmac rallies but the hunger for more fun and adventure was getting to me. So I decided to give the gravel rallies a go.

My first gravel rally was the RSAC Scottish at Dumfries, out in a VW Polo estate (yes, that’s a polo ESTATE!) Just when I thought rallying couldn’t get any better it did! I was totally hooked on the gravel and loved every minute of it … even when we had a slight off into a ditch but luckily managed to get back on track again and even picked up an award for First in class!

From there I went back to the tarmac to take part in a two day event which again was a success, 16th overall, 4th in class. I was on a high after every rally and always chomping at the bit to get to the next one.

That was until I took part in the Richard Burns Memorial Rally, it was over two days on tarmac. The first day went well but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the second day which ended very quickly after loosing the back end on a corner and going rear end first into a concrete post.

Oh well, that was my first crash done. Onwards and upwards from now on right? …. Wrong! The following rally went even worse. The second last stage of the day saw us in a Peugeot 205 trying an evil knievel move … we failed and landed in a ditch with enough force for me to be left winded and the foot rest as flat as a pancake!

Ok, two crashes in a row. I can live with that. Onto the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally. I was really looking forward to it as it meant I got out to play in the woods and gravel again. I really wanted to do well and get at least a finish at the McRae, more so than usual as it’s the annual rally that my hero put his name too! My hopes for a good run and finish ended very quickly! We rolled on the second stage, game over!

As I’m sure you can imagine I was now quite down in the dumps, wondering what I was going to do next rally-wise and if I’d manage to get my mojo back! Hopefully this was just a case of, “things happening in threes“. Surely my luck was about to change?

I couldn’t have been more right! After a phone call from one of the guys in my local motor club I now had a seat sorted out for the final tarmac rally of the season and it was back to Crail, where it had all started for me back in March this year. We had a great day, good rally and a decent finish. 25th overall and 6th in class. By the end of the day I was buzzing and had managed to get my mojo back! The icing on the cake was the good news I also received from the Motor club secretary at the end of the event, I had more awards to pick up!

Janet gave me the good news that I’ll be collecting not one but two awards at the club’s annual awards ceremony. The first being for, ‘top lady’ in the club and the second for ‘top rally co-driver’. That has defiantly been the highlight of my season! I was on a high on the journey home, and the surprise bottle of champagne later that evening made it all the more special.

Thanks to, Ray Cummings, Chuck Blair, Graeme Sherry, Barry Cromack, Neil Coalter and everyone at Aberdeen & District Motor Club, especially Graham & Janet. And last but by no means least, all of my friends and family. Cheers guys. xoxo

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