GRC Personalities // Geoff Sykes: Road 2 Rallycross
The Road to Rallycross is not a straightforward one. It’s a lot like a rallycross course itself. You come into it with a plan of attack, but once the green flag drops, you’re on your own. There are obstacles around every corner and once you’ve gained traction, the road changes to dirt. There are ups and downs, hazards and fierce competition, ready to jump on your slightest mistake. There are choices to make, take the short cut or the long road… timing is everything.
Throughout racing I’ve had my victories and defeats. I came into Round 1 at Loudon with a solid plan of attack, but faced many challenges on race day. For some of us, it was the first time we’ve driven the cars on dirt and to their limits. My biggest challenge was learning the Supercar Lite and getting comfortable in the drivers seat with switches and controls I’ve never used before. The weather certainly didn’t make this an easy task, every time I went out for a session the track was different.
Coming from a road racing background, my goal was to learn the thresholds of the car and the differences between the changing track surfaces, mainly the dirt and the jumps. Unfortunately, I had a malfunction early in qualifying, disabling me for almost the entire session. The master electrical cutoff switch disengaged on the outside of the car and I was forced to watch my competitors compete for times from the side of the track. I missed out on setting a competitive seeding time and lost valuable time to learn the track. I had to start my remaining sessions from the back of the field and play catch-up to my competitors during the heats.
Round 1 certainly did not go as I anticipated. Since the race, all I can think about is getting back out there and learning from the challenges I faced. I’m always pushed to learn from my experiences and by the support from my family, friends and all the fans of rallycross around the world. Nobody goes into a race expecting to lose, if you do you shouldn’t be there, we’re driven by the competition and the need to succeed. There are no checks or trophies for us at end of the race, the only checks are reality checks. My defeat in Loudon is pushing me to excel much harder than a victory would have done and I’m heading to Round 2 at Bristol ready to compete.
Instagram: @geoffsykes #road2rallycross
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish