Signing up to go to a press day for the Wales Rally GB crew was probably not my finest idea. First of all, I don’t really know THAT much about rally driving, and second of all, I had a Halloween party on Saturday night, which meant a lot of cheap alcohol and not very much sleep.
Naturally I was sick (and probably still quite drunk) from the moment I woke up on Sunday morning, and I immediately knew this was not going to be pretty. Somehow I forced my contact lenses into my throbbing eye sockets and pulled on my comfy jumper (which makes you itch after a while) and headed on the road for an 80 mile trip to Llandudno. Brilliant.
When we turned up on site – which was actually just a glorified car park – I was surprised how many people were there milling about eating hot dogs and ice creams (damn them and their fresh-faced lives) and checking out the various cars on display.
Luckily I had Gareth on hand to make sure I didn’t die / throw up on any small children / and take pictures of the goings on whilst I slurped my body weight in coffee and tried to get to grips with the world of rallying.
We trudged around the various stands and gawped at cars and I felt like I was learning so much, there were so many different cars there that I wanted to sit in each of them, especially the Rally Cross things. They were rather exciting.
I wanted to go to a rally there and then, watching them hurtling towards us as we stood behind a bit of ‘Do Not Cross’ striped tape, I didn’t feel the safest I ever have (obviously) how on earth is two inches of plastic tape going to stop a car from taking off my legs? To be honest though, the way I was feeling, a sit down might have been quite welcome. I knew I shouldn’t have had that Baileys…
Sadly for the rather lovely Jason Pritchard, he was the unfortunate soul who had to deal with the recurrence of my Baileys and Red Wine combo of the night before as we got ready to take to the rally stage together… I thought the vomiting had finally started to fade and was ready to jump in a rally car and whizz around the car park at top speed, so lovely Mr Pritchard agreed to take me for a spin. Unfortunately – and terribly shamefully for me – was that the helmet was pressed against those glands at the side of your neck that hurt when you’re about to vomit (you know the ones I mean?) well that pressure seemed to be bearable for about five minutes and then all of a sudden, like driving into a brick wall, I had to vom.
So, in true ladylike style, the harness came off, as did the helmet and I legged it to the bathroom, forcing anyone (men / women / children / small dogs that should not be allowed out in big crowds) who got in my way to get a shift on. After a dramatic five minutes sprawled in the toilet floor, sobbing and rubbing mascara all over my face, I finally admitted defeat. It was time to go home and go to bed. Luckily Gareth hadn’t thrown up all over his rally driver of the day and came back from his trip around the car park with the lovely Tom Cave with a smile that I hated to wipe off with my make-up smeared face and vomit-breath.
I did manage to check out a couple of the BRC and National drivers who have entered Wales Rally GB, including WRC driver Matthew Wilson driving his Ford Focus around the stage (and eating his dinner at lunch time). As well as a guy who’s been watching too much ‘Life On Mars’ as he flung his cute Audi Quattro around everywhere.
So, I have learnt the following things; firstly; rallying is fun and I REALLY want to go and check out a ‘proper’ event, and secondly, never, EVER mix Red Wine and Baileys unless you want to make an utter fool out of yourself in public.
Photos by Gareth Urukalo