El Condor – Top of the World: Recreating absent WRC action

WRC commentator Jon Desborough has branched out into rally-based fiction writing during lockdown

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Everyone involved in rallying is struggling during this difficult period with the absolute dearth of stage action all around the world.

We hope our efforts at DirtFish are providing plenty of rally-based entertainment in these weeks and months, and one of our colleagues from the World Rally Championship service park has come up with something rather different and novel that I’d highly recommend.

WRC TV commentator Jon Desborough has branched out into rally-themed fiction writing, and you can find his first 10-part short story ‘El Condor – Top of the World’ for Kindle on Amazon for 99p.

“I decided if I can’t go to Rally Argentina, then I will try and recreate it for me and the thousands of other petrolheads who might be missing El Condor,” Desborough tells DirtFish.

“Or, as I put in the book’s dedication: ‘This fiction was rushed together to give petrolheads a brief respite from the challenges of COVID-19.

“‘As fiction, all characters, organizations and events portrayed are the product of the author’s imagination. Although, as Mark Twain said about Tom Sawyer, ‘one or two were experiences of my own…'”

In the author’s own words, here’s what it’s about:

“It is an introduction to a new British rally driver – Callum George – the Welshman with the Scottish name.

“He meets a TV reporter called Lincoln James at a press and PR day. He gives him a passenger ride in his rally car – James’ life changes for ever. The two are thrown together and their first adventure is Argentina.”

So has Desborough been harboring ambitions as a novelist all the time he’s been on WRC commentary duties?

He says he’s “never written short stories before”, though he adds: “I have an unpublished motorsport novel”.

Desborough continues: “But this was my idea to keep myself match-fit and use all of my know-how to achieve something during lockdown.

“So what you have read is the introduction to a fictional Rally Argentina that comes to a climax on El Condor.

“I’m just calling on any detail I can drag from my memory to produce a short story.”

I’ve had a read, and it’s a great little story that leaves you wanting more from the two protagonists.

And it sounds like more is on the way. Desborough reveals that he’s already concluding ‘Fafe – One Giant Leap’, the Portugal-based next episode in George and James’ adventure.

After that, he’ll “go on to write ‘Dust in the Wind’, which will take our heroes – with Gabriella, the new engine development engineer – to Sardinia…”

So will this turn into more than a lockdown hobby? Will we find Desborough drafting fresh chapters between commentating on stages when the WRC is back in action? Or will Italy mark the end of the tale of George and James (and Gabriella)?

“Will I continue? Who knows,” says Desborough.

“How long is a lockdown piece of string?

“I have not had the time to free myself from fact and write fiction. But now, my head is empty and can dream up all kinds of adventures.”

After Desborough’s first offering, I can’t wait for the follow-up. I’d highly recommend getting yourself a glass of Malbec and a barbecued Beef de Chorizo to make for a passably authentic Argentinian experience and losing yourself in ‘El Condor – Top of the World’, and all DirtFish’s Argentina Week content from the last seven days of course.