Questions with...

Questions with: Adam Kaplan

Adam Kaplan is an accomplished and successful tarmac rallyist and he’s chosen COT16 for his first gravel rally in 30 years! Let’s find out why…

What car will you be running in the 2016 COT?
We’ll be running a FC RX7 which was rallied by Nathan Senior back in the day and has been campaigned recently by Glen Raymond in the ARC. The car currently runs a 13b Turbo but we’re considering removing the turbo so that we can run in Classic in the true spirit of the COT.

Adam Kaplan has nominated in an RX7 for COT16

Adam’s FC RX7 – recently in the ARC…

Who will be in your team?
I’m very fortunate with my crew. My service crew, Adam Tipping and Steve Hilton, have been with me for many many years doing tarmac rallies and frankly, if I’ve had any success it’s been down to their efforts. They allow me to do the rockstar thing……fly in and out while they do all the hard work. My navigator, Mary Hughes and I have only been working together for about 6 months but it’s been a pretty successful time together with a win at Classic Adelaide and 2nd outright and 1st Classic at the Snowy River Sprint.

Adam and Mary after winning the 2015 Classic Adelaide

Adam and Mary after winning the 2015 Classic Adelaide

What has attracted you to the event?
Having done Tarmac for over 20 years, I’ve always been in awe of the gravel rally guys and girls and I thought it would be a really good way to improve my driving skills, such that they are. Also the challenge of something new and the fact that none of us have been to Alice Springs before, we talked about it and decided to find a car and enter.

What are your expecting from the 2016 COT?
We’re probably expecting to get lost…..and hoping not to!! Seriously, expecting an enormous challenge, a steep learning curve and a heap of fun. Our aim is to finish in one piece and have as much fun as possible.

Adam Kaplan in a Walkinshaw Commodore

Adam having fun on tarmac in a Walkinshaw Commodore

Have you been to Alice Springs before? What are you expecting or looking forward to seeing?
Never been to Alice before. We’re really not sure what to expect. Lots of dust I guess, a really big rock a few hours away and hopefully 1,100 km of challenging, not too rough, roads.

Are you planning a bit of a Red Centre holiday as part of your rally?
Unfortunately not much time for a family holiday. We’re going to fly down to The Rock straight after the rally for a quick look because we haven’t seen it before, and then it’s straight back to work for all of us.

Adam Kaplan in Targa Tasmania in a BMW

Adam in the 2015 Targa Tasmania

Who are your sponsors or supporters?
My business, Hunter Holden, has kindly agreed to sponsor us (tough discussion that one!), although I always feel silly putting that name on a non Holden product, so I might use Ryde Prestige, which is my prestige used car division.

What is/was your favourite rally car?
Favourite rally cars are all from the Group B era, Metro 6R4, RS200, Lancia 037 etc. love them all and in absolute awe of the legends who drove them so hard.

What is your most memorable rallying moment?
I’ve only done one gravel rally before, about 30 years ago in a completely unprepared Escort with no crew and no idea. The memorable part was being left all alone in the middle of a forest in the middle of the night, everyone assuming we had crew to rescue us, and having to walk out and find our way back to the tow car and then retrieve our broken Escort. Was a long night and obviously put me off gravel for a LONG time!

Adam and Mary in the RX7 in Classic Adelaide

Adam and Mary on the way to winning Classic Adelaide – pic from speedcafe.com

What will you be doing to get ready for the 2016 COT?
I plan to find some rally sprints and perhaps a gravel rally to run the RX7 in before the event just to get a feel for dirt and see if anything falls off it. Will also be talking to a lot of people to try and work out what to expect and how best to prepare. Neither my navigator nor I have done a blind rally before so that will be challenging and interesting.

Where are you, and what are you doing as you answer these questions?
It’s 1:30 am, I’m lying in bed trying to finish this before I fall asleep.

Thanks Adam – great story. Glad you chose the COT to get into the gravel… good luck with the car preparation and your gravel practices! We’re looking forward to welcoming you, Mary, Adam and Steve to Alice Springs.