Here at DirtFish, we’re keen to bring you the thoughts of as many rallying figures as we can during these unprecedented times – including through this new feature series.
It’s a simple premise: the same set of six questions, all asked to personalities throughout the rallying community – including members of the DirtFish family.
Our second interviewee is DirtFish’s lead instructor Nate Tennis.
What’s your best rallying memory, and why?
I am incredibly lucky to have a lot of rally memories as it has formed the direction of most of my life. My favorite recent memory is from Oregon Trail in 2018. We were on the last stage of the second day, I was driving the Nordic Motors Volvo, and the road was beautifully maintained, flowing and with just enough technical aspects to keep a driver on their toes. The stage wound up over a hill that grew from the flat farm country before plummeting down the other side to the Columbia Gorge, which the stage finish was near. We were heading into the sunset with the sky on fire and at a very good pace as I was becoming more acquainted with the car. We neared the finish line with a drone chasing us into a section of corners that provided plenty of entertainment for the spectators and finish crew that lined the hillside.
The fast pace, the enjoyment of connecting with a unique vehicle, along with performing well in front of a large audience, were much needed distractions for the shocking loss of my mother less than a week earlier. The support of rally friends and family, and the focused energy in something I love was a gift that couldn’t have come at a better time, and has left a lasting impression.
If you could make one change in rallying, what would it be and why?
Hate to say it but I have two.
1: Create homologation regulations that actually relate to production-based cars.
2: Create a top level 2WD class with limited restrictions so they would actually be competitive, rather than relegating them to the junior classes.
If you could choose one era to live in our sport, which one would it be and why?
The mid-1970s into the mid-’80s must have been an amazing time of rallying to witness firsthand. Cars at the beginning were 2WD, basically breathed-over showroom cars, and rapidly morphed into the cutting edge of motorsport with 4WD and incredible power. The superhero drivers of the time had to evolve ahead of the development to figure out how to drive something no one ever had. And they did it on events covering 2000 miles, over 500 of which were stage miles… for ONE EVENT.
How is rallying helping you through lockdown right now?
It’s helping me burn through data at an alarming rate! As the sport has done for me personally, it’s a welcomed distraction and gives me something on which to focus and spend pent-up energy. Nothing like watching rally videos while working on a rally car. Full immersion!
Which rally are you looking forward to most once we’re through this and why?
Rally Finland, since that appears to be the WRC’s potential return to action. First event to cut loose and the proverbial home of rally, what could be better?
You can have a conversation with one person from the history of rallying, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Only one?? Brutal. I’d have to go with Pat Moss-Carlsson. Would love to hear what it was like driving for various factory teams in the 50s and 60s when the sport grew immensely, along with an explanation of the endurance and vehicular sympathy required to do it. Also, what it was like to be a woman at the top of an international sport in that era compared to now.