Growing up on a farm in the Barossa Valley life was always full of amazing outdoor adventures and experiences, but there was one dream that eluded me for years. The narrow twisty road which led past our farm was used as a rally stage once a year as part of the Australian Rally Championship. From the age of 14 or 15, I would wait all year to see Australia’s best rally drivers like Possum Bourne, Ed Ordynsky and Cody Crocker fly past our front gate. I was always in complete awe at the sheer talent and courage that produced speeds which were just unimaginable to me at that age.
One year I remember being at the end of the final stage of the rally in the pine forests of Mount Crawford, standing in the pouring rain. The big factory teams like Subaru, Mitsubishi and Toyota had been battling all weekend in atrocious conditions, however a new driver on the seen, Simon Evans who had mortgaged his house so that he and his wife could compete against these giants was within two seconds of the lead with one stage to go. I remember seeing Simon arrive so fast and so ragged into the final corner and just so desperate to make up any time he could. Glimpsing through the windscreen I saw him aim his car straight towards the finish line instead of following the road around a bank at the bottom of the hill. The car hit the bank and I watched with my mouth open as the car sailed 4 feet through the air just in front of me over the mound and landed, sliding sideways and smashing into a wooden post spinning the car backwards through the finish line. I later learnt that Simon won that stage and the rally by 1.2 seconds. From that point a was consumed…
It wasn’t until my 20’s that I was able to put enough money together to buy an imported Subaru from Japan. Having only ever changed the oil in a car once before, I set about pulling the car to pieces with no more mechanical knowledge than that. Over the next few years I put whatever spare money I had towards building my very own rally car in my back shed. I learnt, researched and built every part of the car myself and over the 3 years it took me, I never lost sight of this larger than life dream I had carried around with me since being a kid. In 2014 the car built with my own hands, conceived by years of dreaming and unwavering determination, debuted in the Australia Rally Championship at the very same rally I watch go past my family home all those years ago. With my partner, Alison by my side as my navigator we brought this lifelong dream to life.
Alison is amazing and I am by no means the only one in our house with big dreams. Alison had dreamed of travelling to the UK for years and when her eldest son Robert spent a gap year in England, she became determined to go and see him. So she started her own business making chocolate fudge. Of course she sold enough fudge to get her to England that year but now she also sells her fudge all over the country including Adelaide’s Intercontinental Hotel. Alison’s other passion is walking and when I say walking I don’t mean a Sunday stroll, unless of course she has me and Keith the dog slowing her down. In 2015 Alison walked from the northern tip of Scotland across the entire length of the UK to England’s most southern point at Land’s End. This 1800km solo journey took her though fields, bogs, rivers and windswept moorland over 64 days. She seemed to do it with such ease and the constant beaming smile on her face meant her feet seemed to barely touch the ground. Earlier this year Alison also climbed to Mount Everest Basecamp with her son Robert and together they stood at the base of Mount Everest at the top of the world. Next year she plans to walk coast to coast, west to east across the UK.
So when thinking about who I want sitting next to me calling the pace notes as we fly through the forest’s dirt tracks, there is quiet simply no one else, no one I know who dreams as big as I do and who knows what it takes to make those dreams a reality.
We both believe that life shouldn’t stop with just dreaming, it should be about dreaming, creating and achieving. We have done only two rallies so far but whatever happens from here on, we have already won. Flying past kids watching us by the side of the road, I can’t help but look back on the journey that got us here and how everyone should follow their own dreams. I think we have both proven that anyone who has a dream and the determination to follow it can achieve amazing things. This September we are again competing in the Australian Rally Championship round in South Australia and we’ll continue to live out this relentless passion. We hope that together we can show the world that everyday people can achieve things they only ever dared to dream about.