Meet the Driver – Richard Baddock

Richard Baddock
Richard Baddock

Name: Richard Baddock
Age : 26
Motorsport class: NZRC – 4WD
Current rally car : 1993 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

At what age were you when you first got involved in motorsport?
I have had an interest in rallying since before I was old enough to drive. This interest didn’t extend past simply watching rally coverage on TV until I was 23 when I decided it was time to stop spectating and start competing. I began building my car mid 2011 and entered my first event, a gravel hill climb in February 2012. For the remainder of that year I competed in the Mainland Series, followed by entry into the NZ Rally Championship in 2013.

Who was your biggest influence in rallying when growing up?
To be honest no one. I haven’t come from a family that’s ever had an interest in motorsport and although I remember some of the big names in the national championship at the time, they didn’t specifically influence my decision to start rallying. It was simply something that I thought was awesome and as soon as I was able to afford it I started.

What was your very first rally car?
My very first rally car is the car I currently compete in and is the only rally car I have ever owned. A 1993 Subaru Impreza WRX which I built entirely myself from a factory road car.

What is the ultimate special stage / rally for you?
Ritchie Road, Rally Otago. Always liked that stage. Has a good mix of twisty sections as well as fast and flowing in places. It’s a short stage so once you’ve been over it a couple of times you know it and you can push real hard. Awesome.

What is your rally highlight to date?
4th overall Canterbury Rally 2013. Although I have won a couple local sprint events, Canterbury Rally in 2013 was definitely my best result seeing as it was a round of the NZRC.

What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive and why?
Well I started out with 4 wheel drive, which some might say is jumping in the deep end, but I reckon you should start with the car you want to end up in. You’ll be surprised how fast you can be simply by knowing your car even if you don’t have all the good gear, skill is free speed! Just don’t go balls to the wall at your first event and crash. When I started I was told by Les Summerfield, “You don’t learn anything sitting on the side of the road”.

What advice could you give an up-and-coming driver looking for sponsorship?
Hard for me to answer this one as I am yet to gain any form of significant sponsorship myself! Two things to remember: 1) You don’t know if you don’t ask, and 2) Every little bit counts! Begin by exploring existing avenues, friends/family who know people in a position to offer help. Write up a profile for yourself, as professional as possible. Offer rides in your car at local sprints, that always helps. Be aware, some people will promise the world, don’t get your hopes up.

In your opinion who was the best rally driver of all time and why?
Sébastien Loeb without a doubt, can’t argue with 9 consecutive WRC wins!

Other than rally what other things / work are you involved in?
Outside rallying I work for myself as a mechanic, focusing on engine building, custom fabrication, Link ECU installs and tuning as well as general mechanical repairs. This pretty much consumes my life, I don’t do a lot else!

What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
Just chill out with mates, have some beers, just the usual. Work on my own car or mates cars when I get the chance.

Do you have any other talents that would surprise people(are you a budding artist / musician etc)?
I have a Mechanical Engineering Degree. That and an unmatched ability to repel members of the opposite sex.

What’s your goal for 2014?
My goal this year is to compete in the NZ Rally Championship for the second time. I am aiming to finish in the top 5 overall for the year, probably a big claim but you have to aim high!

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