Today, A Little Bit Sideways is one year old! Kind of fitting that I will be celebrating this at Daybreaker because what a year it’s been!
The site originally started as a place for me to blog about me and my entry into the world of motorsport. I had bought a Mk2 Escort to go rallying in (full story behind the Escort here) and wanted to share what I was up to with friends and family (a lot of which are in the UK so a web page was an easy way to do this).
Very quickly, other people wanted to be part of it and it started to grow. I then combined my love of photography with my love of rallying and started shooting events. Pictures are great and everyone loves to see them but I wanted to do more in the way of some sort of report, only I didn’t want it to be an impersonal thing, so the best way I could approach it was to write about what I saw and my experience of an event, which is roughly where the site is today.
Rally has been really good to me, enriching my life from the adrenaline of driving to the awesome people I have met and become friends with along the way. I wanted to try and give something back to the sport, so decided to try and help promote drivers who are trying to get on and do better. I’ve not been able to drive much this last year as I’ve been busy trying to develop this site. My car (featured on the front page,photo credit : Greg Henderson) is currently undergoing a repaint and will hopefully be ready in time for me to do the Clubmans Rally, Tauranga in July (full details of the event here).
I created a “Meet the Driver” section with a view to let people read a little about the upcoming drivers, but how could I make sure they were getting the publicity they deserved? I decided to approach International Drivers and ask them to be part of the site in the hope they would bring in fans and exposure. I’ve had a great deal of help with this from Danny James and I’m most grateful for the time and effort he has put in behind the scenes. Who’s have thought we would have been able to get the likes of Hayden Paddon, Alister Mcrae and Ari Vatanen to be part of this is year at such an early stage?!
I plan to get onto more local/national drivers (and co-drivers) in the coming months so look out for an email from me as you could be next (or feel free to contact me if you would like to have a feature done). I also try to put up all teams’ media releases that are sent to me in the hope this will also help promote rallying in NZ.
I’m very keen to promote grass roots rallying/clubsport too, and am thinking about having a “Meet the Club” section in the hope we can encourage people to support clubs by joining and either competing or helping with the all important task of marshaling / timekeeping. I would love to hear from clubs who would like to be part of this.
Clinton Cunningham (RCK Contractors Rally Team) recently posted a really cool rallying image from years ago online and what struck me is – where have all the fans gone? What can we do to get more people back out on the stages spectating? More spectators potentially means more sponsors which will be really healthy for the sport. So if you’re a fan of this site but don’t go out to a stage and cheer on the drivers, please make the effort to do it. NZ has some great talent all all levels to go and watch and (in my opinion) nothing beats actually being there to experience the speed, noise and smell!
I have tried to have a “For Sale” section which hasn’t really taken off yet – do you want this type of thing on the site? Maybe I could include a “Wanted ” Section? Just let me know what you think.
For this site to continue to exist I need your input / ideas / stories and most importantly, your feedback, as this helps me develop. Running this site takes up heaps of my time (just ask my very understanding and supportive family!!) so I don’t want to waste my time on sections of the website that are never looked at / used.
Once again I appear to have waffled on for much longer than my intentions when I sat down to type this.
What I really wanted to say was a huge THANK YOU for all your support over the last year, especially to those who have purchased CDs and prints from me as those sales are helping to keep the site going. I’d also like to thank all of you that have put stickers on your cars. I’ve run out of them right now but please get in touch if you would like some for your car and I’ll get onto it.
I’ve really enjoyed coming to all the events over the last year, meeting lots of new people and making great new mates along the way. It’s been an awesome year!