Name : Ben Brown
Age : 38 (Just)
Motorsport class : Rally Xtreme and whatever else I can get to do
Current rally car : Mitsubishi Evo 3, Galant Vr4
Website : KSL Motorsport
At what age were you when you first got involved in motorsport?
That was a few years ago. To be honest I’d say around 2. Dad used to take me when he was marshalling, safety on stage rallies all over the UK. I’ve been hooked since.
Who was your biggest influence in rallying when growing up?
I’ve always been surrounded by people that are passionate about rallying, so there is no one influence. Of course growing up, and being on the stages with the Group B cars and then the likes of Mcrae and Burns certainly did nothing to curb my enthusiasm.
What was your very first rally car?
Mk2 Escort, as was my 2nd and 3rd
What has been the most fun rally car you have owned?
Tough one, Escorts were fun, and easy to work on, Datsun although it only got used twice was immense fun. 1200cc of go. Don’t make me choose is too hard!!
Why give up those cool RWD cars for 4WD?
I gave up the Escorts when the family was young. I came back to rallying in the Mazda BFMR as I just wanted to try 4wd, That was the thing to do. After spending copious amounts of money on gearbox’s for the Mazda’s, I went back to the Datsun but missed the horse power of the 4WD’s. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up going back to RWD at some point.
What is the ultimate special stage / rally for you?
There was a 50+ km stage on the Wanganui rally, fantastic, but you knew you’d finished it especially in the old Escort. The regional/clubman’s rallies have some great roads that you don’t see on events these days. Rally wise, I’m a big fan of Rally of the North, loved those roads, and if you haven’t seen C.rally Medias Follow a Drive check it out. We had a testing day, but I was still smiling at the end of it. That’s why we do it.
What is your rally highlight to date?
Every stage I start. Rallying is my outlet for stress and frustration in other areas of my life. There’s nothing like the feeling sitting on the start line with only the stage in front of you.
What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive and why?
Obviously Front Wheel drive is the preferred option these days, you learn to drive the car on the stages. I think some time in a front wheel drive might have assisted my transition into the 4wd Impreza.
What advice could you give an up-and-coming driver looking for sponsorship?
Talk, Talk and some more Talk. No body will give you money, services if you wander into the workshop/office and say nothing. I’ve been known to turn up with a beer after work Friday and stay and chat about allsorts with some of the guys that help us out. They don’t want the world, but they do want to help. Be realistic and always make sure you give back! In some way shape or form. Sometimes just a thank you is sufficient.
In your opinion who was the best rally driver of all time and why?
Too hard, Some say Loeb and others Mcrae, Makkinen. Would have to be one of those guys that piloted those Group B monsters in the Mid 80’s. They were on/above the limit with spectators inches from the road.
Other than rally what other things / work are you involved in?
Believe it or not I’m a Safety consultant, for Oil and Gas companies so spend a good portion of my year away from home (hence my moaning when I can’t be in the country for an event I want to go to) so when I am home, I have plenty to keep me busy, we have a lifestyle block of 8 acres and the number of animals you’d expect.
What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
I like my time at home away from the crowds, so you’ll find me in the shed working on the car, messing with the tractor. Or completing whatever jobs have come up when I’m away. Anytime with the family is good too, we spend half the year apart, so its catch up time when I get home.
Do you have any other talents that would surprise people(are you a budding artist / musician etc)?
I can drink beer and wine (not sure they are talents).
What’s your goal for 2014?
I have bought a new car, probably too early but its done now, so I want to get out and learn to drive it. Get to as many events as I can throughout the country. We are planning a trip or 2 to the South Island to compete as well as any event I can make in the North island.
I’d like to get my youngest in the passenger seat too, she is keen, I am keen, just need to convince mum we’re all good.