published: February 23rd 2016 on anygivenreason.com
Words and local photos by Andrew Coles.
Everybody has a dream of some kind, but for the most part these dreams usually go largely unexplored. It’s rare to find someone, let alone two people, with the drive and determination to pursue their dreams at all cost. But Guy Tyler and his co-driver Steve Fisher are not afraid to try their hardest to make their dream of being WRC stars a reality. Over the past few years of covering the South Australian Rally Championship, Any Given Reason has seen it all from Guy and his various attempts at battling through everything thrown at him. And he’s never given up, the reward of finally winning the South Australian Rally Championship being realised for him and co-driver Steve last year. And for 2016 the pair have secured the opportunity of a lifetime – a drive with a professional team in the British Junior Rally Championship, starting with the Mid Wales Stages Rally on March 5/6.
Amid the rushed preparations before their departure to England in a few days time, Any Given Reason sat down with Guy for a quick chat about the adventure so far.
Having tried their hardest to make something happen in Australia, Guy and Steve were looking for their next move when they saw a Facebook post for the Vauxhall Young Driver search, the prize being a factory drive in the Adam R2 in the British Junior Rally Championship. “We thought heck yeah let’s go for it”, so instead of just filling out the application form they produced a detailed video to accompany the application, something no other driver did. He made it through the various cutoff stages and received an email on Christmas morning informing him that they’d made it to the final 6, and that the next stage would be a test of the Adam R2 in the UK. “They kind of knew we didn’t have the money but invited us anyway”.
The final 6 group test was held at the Curborough Sprint Course in Lichfield, just north of Birmingham. “We drove the Adam R2 at Curborough, which is like a bitumen Lanac Park. The Adam just revved so high, it was my first time driving a left-hand drive car and my first time using a sequential box. We got 6 laps, about ten minutes of driving, but it was enough time to get into the swing of things”.
The next part of the test consisted of meetings and interviews about previous rally history, situational tests for dealing with the media, and fitness. The Vauxhall factory team is run by the Major Motorsport rally preparation outfit, and the interviews were conducted by Simon Mauger himself. Guy and Steve made a great impression with both their in-car and out of car skills, but unfortunately at the end of it they just couldn’t raise the required sum to secure a deal and the prize was awarded to another crew.
“We met again with Simon the following week, and he really wanted to get us a drive”. They negotiated a slightly different agreement, where for significantly less money Simon would purchase an M-Sport built Ford Fiesta R2 that he knew of and run the pair in the DMACK Junior Championship at five of the seven rounds of the British Rally Championship. The pair still had the task of raising a whopping AUD$95,000 to make the deal happen, though.
From the UK Guy put his Evo 5 rally car on the market and it was sold before he’d even touched down. He sold his ute and anything at home that wasn’t bolted down, and Steve sold his Evo 9 road car. They both took out personal loans and have managed to raise about $80,000, enough to secure the car and get them on the entry list for the first few rounds. Even though they’re soon leaving for the UK, they still need to raise another $15,000 to cover entry fees and travel costs for the second half of the season and they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the gap. If you’ve got a few spare dollars, it would go a long way – find the link here.
“We’re not doing the two Irish rounds because they’re the most expensive, and anyway the championship is counted on your best five events only so we’re still in with a chance. It’s mostly about having fun, having an adventure, trying to get something happening for a career. We’ll try and make contacts and talk to as many potential sponsors as we can while we’re there, there’s a few interested. For first place in the DMACK Junior BRC there’s a significant monetary prize and the chance to win a full WRC season driving a Fiesta R5 in WRC2, so in theory if we were to win the championship and find a sponsor we could end up in the WRC. This isn’t just doing skids in the forest, this is proper stuff. What do we have to loose, it’s just money in the end”.
“This isn’t just for me, I’m giving it a shot for the entire club rally scene here at home. I hope I can be an inspiration, to show people to chase their dreams”.
With every cent going on the rally campaign, it’s not going to be a usual beer fueled working holiday. As part of the deal, Guy will work for Major Motorsport cleaning, working on and preparing the cars as well as driving trucks and generally helping out. He’ll take other jobs where he can as well. His girlfriend Evangeline is moving too, she’ll continue her studies in tourism and event management externally whilst working for Major Motorsport, assisting in their social media and PR campaigns. As Steve is just over 30 he is ineligible for a work visa like Guy and Evangeline have, so he will keep his job in Adelaide and head across for each event.
“I finish up my job here in Adelaide this Friday, and on Saturday we leave for the UK. We test next Thursday, recce next Friday and the event starts on Saturday night with two night stages in the forest, followed by four on Sunday. The stages are a lot longer over there, 14 or 15 miles each. Other than that it’s basically like a big, expensive Robertstown. Although there’s 16 juniors entered for the first event, we’ve never had competition like that before”.
Any Given Reason will be following Guy and Steve’s adventure with a report after each event.
Follow the link through to Guy and Steve’s crowdfunding campaign here.
Words and local photos by Andrew Coles.