David Evans’ Chester Revival blog: Getting there

Our correspondent outlines his faltering start to co-driving Colin McRae’s Suburu at this weekend's Chester Rally Revival


DirtFish Senior Staff Writer David Evans isn’t reporting from the outside this weekend, he’s co-driving at a very special event. And he’ll be recounting the experience for DirtFish readers throughout – here’s how he started…

It’s fair to say my pre-event preparations are probably a bit different to the ones Derek Ringer made back when he was climbing aboard the same car for the first time.

Actually, I’m assuming the 1992 Swedish Rally was Derek’s first time in the car. It might not have been. They ran as course car on the Arctic Rally a few weeks earlier and it’s quite possible they were in the same Subaru Legacy RS.

Unfortunately, I can’t be sure. I can’t be sure because I’m sitting typing this in Crewe railway station rather than in the office. Why am I in Crewe railway station? Because the starter motor on my car failed to fulfil its only task in life this afternoon.

The RAC has rescued the Volvo and British Rail – or whatever it’s called these days – is slowly rescuing me. Currently delayed by 10 minutes because of a “slow-running train”.

So, the upshot of all of this is that my preparations for the Chester Rally Revival have fallen far short of what Ian Gwynne – the man driving our Subaru (“Our?” Really? When did it become “ours?”) – might have expected.

He certainly didn’t expect me to call him this afternoon asking him what time it started.

“And, just to be completely clear, mate, where exactly is the start?”

I’ve yet to tell him that I’ve managed to forget a pencil and a digital watch. I did dig out one of those really cool Fastime co-driver watches. But the battery had gone flat. And I’m not going to pretend I knew how to work it anyway.

So, much (all) of my timekeeping will be done courtesy of Apple (no doubt the maps app won’t go untroubled either…).


But enough of me and my day.

Why am I here? I’m co-driving Gwynne on an event organized to celebrate Chester’s involvement in Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship and, more importantly, McRae and Ringer’s 1995 title.

We’ll start from the same place where the Scotsmen pulled some of the most famous donuts in British rallying history. Actually, they were probably the second-most famous donuts after the ones they did at the Chester Racecourse finish of the 1994 RAC. An event they dominated to end an 18-year drought of British success at home.

Like the rest of you, Chester Racecourse is something of a pilgrimage for me. I was there, with my dad, skipping lectures (me, not him) to watch history being made.

To be on an event running in a car like the Legacy, following Nicky Grist (he’s driving his own Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD) and Jimmy McRae (Vauxhall Firenza) is actually an enormous privilege.

I’m just sorry I’m sitting in coach H (I’ve progressed from station to train) rather than listening to their stories at the pre-rally forum.

Check back with DirtFish tomorrow for updates on Ian’s progress. I’m not even going to bother intimating I’ll have any kind of positive effect on our entry.

On the upside, I am at least in the right county now. I think.

The story continues…
Chester Revival blog part two: Mapping progress
Chester Revival blog part three: Reaching the finish