Armin Schwarz newsletter 2007-07-25

Trail-blazers: our navigators A crucial key to success in Offroad racing are excellent navigators. Let me introduce two of the best: Chris Ames and Bryan Lyttle. Bryan Lyttle, a 27 year old bachelor from California, tells me where to go in the...

Trail-blazers: our navigators

A crucial key to success in Offroad racing are excellent navigators. Let me introduce two of the best: Chris Ames and Bryan Lyttle.

Bryan Lyttle, a 27 year old bachelor from California, tells me where to go in the desert races. Like almost all other competitors in Offroad racing Bryan has a main profession alongside his passion for our sport. He is the co-owner of a gym where his clients do kick-boxing training and can increase their fitness under the direction of specialists.

Bryan is not only a navigator in our All German Motorsports team. He is also the head technician of our Class 1 Buggy, and his technical knowledge is simply incredible. This makes him an extremely valuable troubleshooter in the race. And when things get tough Bryan springs into action: During a race he can change one of the giant Buggy wheels in just 90 seconds. He's awesome!

Matthias Kahle also has a top navigator at his side. Chris Ames, 34 years old, software specialist, also from California. Chris has a very special type of "video archive": In his brain he has stored just about every track there is in Offroad racing. Chris' phenomenal memory for tracks helps incredibly in the hectic of the competition. He's better than any GPS - although he is famed as the Global Po sitioning System guru in our team.

For navigating, we combine the use of GPS with classic pace notes: On very fast stages where we could take several different routes and technical driving is not essential, we orientate with the GPS which is on a large screen in front of the co-driver. When things get twisty and difficult we rely on our good old pace notes. They are also enormously helpful when visibility is bad in the dust.

Unlike in the World Rally Championship, we can practice as much as we like. Bryan and I recce the route twice. Once to write pace notes and once to check them. The really big-time teams come back over the whole year to practice many different routes. About four to six weeks before the event the organisers publish the route map. But it can in fact happen that one day before the start we get the news: "Sorry boys but the section from road mile 120.5 to 131.6 has been washed away by a hurricane. Find a new way." And that's exactly what I love about these US desert races.

I probably said this a hundred times, but I have to say it again. Chris and Bryan - and the entire All German Motorsports crew - have a incredible way of being hugely professionally but at the same time so laid-back, something we don't see in Europe. That's another reason why time always gets too long here in Europe before I can return to All German Motorsports and the desert.

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    Armin Schwarz

-credit: armin-schwarz.com

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About this article
Series Offroad , Score
Drivers Armin Schwarz , Matthias Kahle