Flash Gordon ready for home rally. Gordon who??? This was the question on the lips of a lot of people gathered at the ceremonial finish of the recent Pirelli International Rally in Carlisle. The reason for this was that Scottish unknowns ...
Flash Gordon ready for home rally.
Gordon who??? This was the question on the lips of a lot of people gathered at the ceremonial finish of the recent Pirelli International Rally in Carlisle. The reason for this was that Scottish unknowns Gordon Nichol and Jane Nicol had just won the inaugural round of the Suzuki Swift cup by a dominant margin.
However the result was no great surprise for the family and friends of Gogsie and Janiebabes, as the pair had already proved their pace on previous events. However this was the first International Rally contested by either of them, and both St Boswells born Gordon and Jane, whose family home is in Duns, stepped up to the plate admirably.
Despite suffering with suspension problems and a horde of punctures on the notoriously rough rally the pair were able to balance mechanical sympathy with a quick pace and brought their Suzuki Swift to the finish with a clear gap between themselves and their nearest competitor to give the Cooks Van and Car Hire assisted Scottish pair an early lead in the championship.
With the second round of the championship being this weekend's Kelso based Jim Clark International Rally, Gordon and Jane have the additional pressure of it being their home event. This has never presented a problem for them in the past, but then there has never been such a big prize at stake either. The winner of this year's Suzuki Swift Cup, which includes rallies in the Isle of Man, Ireland and England, will win a fully funded works drive in a Suzuki Swift Super 1600 on the end of season Wales Rally GB.
Gordon and Jane are no strangers to tasting champagne. In 2007 the pair contested the Jim Clark National Rally in a MG ZR, resulting in a strong class win. Later in the season they tackled the Trackrod National Rally in the same car, finishing sixth overall and first in class yet again. It was on the back of these two strong runs that Gordon and Jane decided to take the plunge and commit to the newly formed Suzuki Swift Cup.
This year is the biggest step we've ever made. The Swift is a great little car and Suzuki have put together a brilliant package. Our season has started off really well but competing in the British Rally Championship does not come cheaply. We have to aim for a good result this weekend and hope we can attract some sponsorship or else we might not be able to complete the season.
Some people say that Jane and I have the advantage of it being our home rally, but there is more to it than knowing the stages. There are some really rapid drivers in our class, any of which could challenge us. And then there is the pressure from within. Both Jane and I have a lot of friends and family out cheering us on this weekend and this creates extra pressures. But once thing is for certain, we are both really looking forward to this rally!
Both Gordon and Jane are regular faces within the Scottish rallying fraternity. Gordon, a machine operator by day, switched from Go-karting to rallying in 2004 and contested the 205 Challenge for the next three years.
Jane is a top rally driver in her own right. She won the 205 Ecosse Championship in her first year of rallying and only began co-driving after the late great Colin McRae dared her into calling the notes for a mutual friend. In 2007 Jane co-drove for Gordon on the Jim Clark National Rally before switching seats and driving a friend's Mitsubishi Evo on the Revivers on the Sunday!
The Jim Clark International Rally, the second round of the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, sees the premier division of British Rallying head to the small Scottish town of Kelso for two days of high speed tarmac rallying over closed public roads.