John Midgley, a former British Rally Champion, came onto our stand at Race Retro in the UK and decided he was up for an outback rally adventure. Let’s meet John and hear what he’s expecting…
What car will you be running in the 2016 COT? What is special; what is its history; where is it at?
It’s a 1972 Toyota Corolla 1600 2 door sedan. We’ll probably use an 8 valve twin-cam 2TG engine. The car has no history so far as we are still building it. We have built one or two 2 door coupes before, so we know they work well. We thought a 4 door would be better for access to parts and tools if we need to do any running repairs.
Who will be in your team? Who is your co-driver, team manager or service crew? What’s your history as a team?
My wife Susan and two friends, Bruce and Julie Reid from NZ, will be the service crew. Bruce will be team manager. John Pullan is my co-driver. John and I have done a lot of motor biking together over the years and he is helping build the car. He has not as yet done much co-driving so we are doing a few small events over here in the UK to get some practice and his international licence.
If you’re new to the COT, what has attracted you to the event?
We went to Race retro as were showing one of our cars. We visited the COT stand and thought it looked like a great event and a good deal.
What are your expecting from the 2016 COT; what are you looking forward to?
This is very new to us – we only have very short and technical stages here in the UK so we are looking forward to something very different. We’re lucky if we get stages longer than 20 km and there are no long straights. It will be interesting to see how we can pace the car and ourselves.
Have you been to Alice Springs before? What are you expecting or looking forward to seeing?
Yes once a few years back on a motor bike and wandered what it would be like to rally there.
Are you planning a bit of a Red Centre holiday as part of your rally?
Yes. We will try to be there by the the end of May. We’ll hire a 4×4 and do some looking round to get a feeling of what we are letting ourselves in for…
Who are your sponsors or supporters?
We’re supported by the family and some of our friends.
What is/was your favourite rally car?
Toyota Corolla TE 71 GT 8 valve twin cam.
What is your most memorable rallying moment?
Winning the Group A National Rally Championship back in 1984 in my Corolla TE71. (That was another life… I’m not so quick these days but still enjoy it, no I love it.)
What will you be doing to get ready for the 2016 COT?
Trying to get the car built in time!
Where are you, and what are you doing as you answer these questions?
In my home in north Yorkshire. I’m sat at my laptop on a fine Saturday evening, wondering if I will get the rally car painted tomorrow, or whether should I get on with the engine.
Mmm… few stages over 20km? Yes John – the COT will give you something different! It’s great to have you and the team with us John and we’re looking forward to welcoming you all to Alice Springs. Keep the car build pictures coming!