Klinky and Dave,Daybreaker 2013. Photo credit Jason Byrne

Meet the Co-driver – Dave Neill

Dave Neill
Dave Neill

Name : Dave Neill

Motorsport Club: Autosport Club

When did you first start rallying?
Started in 2007, First Rally, Westland Rally with Les Summerfield in a WRX

I personally think sitting in the “silly seat” of a rally car is a little un-nerving.  Do you ever get nervous / sick / worried?
Luckily I don’t get car sick during the rally, however I have been sick a couple of times during the Rally Reconnaissance, I still get a little bit nervous before the events, this is mainly due to me putting extra pressure on myself to ensure everything is correct for myself and the Team heading into the event, But once we start in the car the nerves disappear very quickly and its business as normal

I know the effort that you put in behind the scenes before a rally etc, but for the sake of our readers, would you like to explain what you do, and what you’re responsible for during a rally weekend?
As a Co-Driver my role consists of a number of duties, some of my event responsibilities are:
1, Pre-event paperwork and entry forms etc
2, Assist with Travel plans and Accommodation bookings
3 Getting us to the Rally reconnaissance start on time and then following the stages in recce order and on time
4, Amend/Adjust stage notes during recce, adjust these to the Drivers requirements as how they want them delivered on the day of the rally
5, Ensure the Team meets all media/publicity event commitments
6, Supply our Service Crew with all relevant Route Books, Maps, Tyre and Fuels schedules
7, During the rally I’m responsible for giving the Driver the instructions during the road sections to ensure we get to the stage start on time, during the rally stage I am calling the stage notes to the Driver in a timely manner of which we both understand and can identify our position on the road during the stage
8, Ensure all time cards are correct
9, Get the Team to post event activities/functions
10 After all that my job is done and it’s time for a well-earned Beer or two, haha

Photo credit: Mike Peffers
Photo credit: Mike Peffers

Do you prefer a certain type of car, if so what is it and why?
I’ve sat in some pretty cool cars but it’s hard to go past Klinkys Group B replica Mazda RX7, It’s a Beast!  However his new Citroen C2 S1600 could change my mind after a few more events in it, we have only done one event ( Taranaki Tarmac Rally ) and I have to say it’s an awesome car, So Im looking forward to some more seat time soon.

What rally / stage has been the most memorable for you and why?
I’ve enjoyed many Rally highlights but the most memorable Rally would have to be winning the 2012 Otago International Classic Rally with Marcus, It was an amazing feeling as it meant so much to us both and the Team.  Some of my favourite Rally stages would have to be Waipori Gorge, Kuri Bush, Whaanga Coast and North Road.

Do you prefer gravel or tar seal and why?
Gravel for sure! Nothing beats the sideways feeling in the RX7.  But I’m sure the Tarmac stages in the new Citroen C2 may challenge my thoughts in the near future

How would you advise someone thinking of starting out in the sport as a co-driver?
Spend some time with an experienced Co-Driver, discuss the processes of the role and try to pick up any handy hints or tips that may assist you with the role.  Never be afraid to ask for help if you are unsure.  Learn slowly and build to bigger and better things from there

Have you had a go at the driving at any time?
No, Nil rally driving for me, all my rally experience has been in the Silly Seat, can’t see that changing in a hurry, not unless that winning lotto ticket is coming my way, haha

What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
No time for relaxing after rally weekends, I tend to be in catch up mode working on odd jobs around our lifestyle block, so that keeps me busy.  I also enjoy watching my Children doing their sporting activities then just chilling with the family and having some down time at home.


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