Published by rallysportmag.com.au on 23rd February 2016
2015 South Australian Rally Champions Guy Tyler and Steve Fisher head to the UK this week to prepare for the opening round of the 2016 DMACK British Junior Rally Championship. The pair will be competing for Major Motorsport after the team recognised Tyler’s potential at a recent test day in the UK. RallySport Mag caught up with Tyler to find out what is in store for the duo ahead of their five rally campaign in Britain.
RSM: You’ve come a long way from competing in your first event as a 16 year old to entering the British Junior Rally Championship at 25. How did your interest in rallying start?
GT: Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a racing driver of some sort, and growing up on a farm driving cars/tractors meant I learnt driving skills at an early age. The Southern Districts Car Club are the people to blame for my involvement in rallying, though.
Back in 2006 I participated in the Club’s Junior Development Program, (which is still going) held at their old track, “Lanac Park” near my farm in Mt Compass. Although I already had the driving skills, this program really helped introduce me into the world of club level motorsport.
From there I went onto competing at Lanac Park for several years until I had enough money and knowledge to enter the 2009 Robertstown Rally and the rest is history.
How many rallies have you done so far?
I have participated in 29 rallies in seven years of competing all around Australia. This includes doing Coffs Harbour four times which is my favourite rally. The only places I haven’t competed are WA and Tasmania.
What’s been your most satisfying result?
Winning the 2015 South Australian Rally Championship is definitely the highlight of my career so far. After several years of disappointment rallying the Clio, (including four or five DNF’s in 2014) all we wanted to do was finish an event. So when we won the ASP Southern Rally at the start year I was literally in tears, as was my dad Chris who had supported me through all those hard years and it was a huge motivation to push forward and aim for higher things.
With your plan to do five out of the seven BJRC events this season, will you and Steve base yourselves in the UK or will you travel back to Australia between events?
Steve will be flying in and out as he has a good job back here and is too old to easily get a working visa. My girlfriend Evangeline and I will be moving over to the UK and have both got jobs with Major Motorsport. Evangeline has incredible event planning and social media skills that the team want to take advantage of and I will be helping out on the mechanical/logistics side of things as well as possibly working for some of the rally schools over there. We will also be helping the team out at the two Irish events we aren’t competing at and that will help us gain more experience of rallying at this level.
The first round of the season is on March 5 and 6. What preparation will you be doing before the event?
The only preparation I have been able to do so far has been to watch as much in car video as possible of people racing Fiesta R2’s and also of the iconic Mid Wales Stages Rally. We will be arriving a week early for the rally, so I will be able to spend a few days finishing off the prep of the Fiesta and learning the mechanical side of the car as well. Steve and I will try and do some reconnaissance practice to remind ourselves how to write pace notes, but it’s like hopping on a bike really and I think we will be able to hit the ground running on all fronts and adapt really quickly.
Have you had a chance to drive the Fiesta in which you’ll be competing yet, and if so, how did you find it compared to the Lancer you drove to win last year’s South Australian Rally Championship?
Well, I haven’t even seen the car yet! But we will be doing a short test at Sweet Lamb on the Thursday prior to the Mid Wales Stages. Although there is a lot to get used to in such a short amount of time, especially left hand drive, I’m confident that I will be able to adapt very quickly as I have in the past.
So in comparison to the Lancer, I know that the Fiesta won’t have the same overall speed, but it will definitely be the best prepared car I’ve ever driven, and I love front wheel drive rally cars, so I’m sure it will be blast.
The BRC is a combination of gravel and tarmac events. Have you had any experience on tarmac events before?
Not a lot to be honest. I competed in the Adelaide Hills tarmac rally in 2010 and 2011, which were brilliant rallies, but I’m sure it will be like nothing like there is in the UK with all the small laneways etc.
What are you hoping to achieve this season?
My main goal this season is to win the British Junior Rally Championship. Due to the age restrictions this is the final year in which I can contest the series, and we are literally giving it everything we’ve got. Further to this I really am looking forward to all the new friends and connections we will make, and the stories that I will be able to tell in years to come.
And what’s your ultimate goal in rallying?
I wish to become a role model and an inspiration for people everywhere to chase their dreams no matter what the obstacles.
Then of course I want to win the World Rally Championship.
I also would also like to become an advocate for road safety, and to help improve driving standards and conduct all over the world.
Guy and Steve have set up a crowd funding page to raise funds to go towards their DMACK British Rally Championship campaign. If you would like to give them your support, you can do so on this link.