Paul’s DiRT Diary Part 1 – Meeting Jon
In late January of 2011 Codemasters held a DiRT 3 focus testing day with members of the DiRT gaming community. Jon Tucker, who I had started talking to on Twitter, was one of the attendees and a huge rally game fan. We had a quick chat on the day, exchanged email addresses and went back to our respective day jobs.
There was nothing serious planned but the focus test had inspired him to get back behind the wheel of a rally car again…
A couple of weeks later on the 14th of February 2011 I received a very interesting email from Jon. He said he’d had an idea and was “planting the seed” so to speak. He explained that he was thinking about going rallying again. There was nothing serious planned but the focus test had inspired him to get back behind the wheel of a rally car again. He wanted to know if I would be interested in co driving for him to get some experience of a real rally event. I replied almost immediately, I was extremely interested but it was subject to permission from my fiancée and finding out about the costs involved.
Over the next week we exchanged emails. I was asking lots of questions and Jon was answering them while explaining his rally experiences to me. On the 21st of February Jon told me that he had decided to build a clubman spec Group N Subaru Impreza. His friend Chris Moore and his team at Eclipse Performance would be sourcing the vehicle and putting it together for him as well as providing event support when we eventually went rallying.
Now things were getting serious. It was time for me to apply to the MSA for my Navigators License and start getting the necessary equipment together. We chatted about meeting up and taking part in a 12 car Navigation Rally to get some co driving experience together before heading out into stage Rallies.
By the end of February 2011 I had received my Navigator’s License and Jon had renewed his Racing License. Eclipse performance had found a suitable donor car and I was starting to read up on Rally Navigation and the skills involved. There was a lot to learn and with DiRT 3 getting busy, pretty much all of my waking hours were spent thinking about Rally in both the real and virtual world.
In early March 2011 we had started to discuss the type of stage rally event that we would be debuting on. In order to keep things simple it was decided that a stage rally based in a single location with minimal road miles would be the best option as it would limit the complexity for me as a rookie co driver.
The hunt was on…