Questions with...

Questions with: Kaye Kilsby and Lui MacLennan

We usually do these QW posts with a single person. But it never occurred to us with these two COT officials as we always see them as a team. Let’s meet Kaye Kilsby and Lui MacLennan and hear about their plans for COT16…

Whats your usual role on the COT?
We’re one of the Road Crews. Road crews operate in teams of two and the team sets up and runs a stage each day of the event. One crew sets up the stage with control boards, caution boards, bunting etc and then runs the finish control. Then, when the sweep vehicle has closed the stage, the team at the start control clears through the stage, taking everything down and returning it to the pristine state it was in before the COT passed through! Then, we head off to do the same thing the next day. We travel in Trudi, a ’90 Pajero, which competed in the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial.

Lui, Kaye and Trudi at the end of COT2014 in Renmark

Lui, Kaye and Trudi at the end of COT2014 in Renmark

What’s your history as a team?
Kaye and Lui travel ‘a deux’ but in the company of Trudi. We’ve worked together on many events including Bega Valley Rally, Sydney to London Marathon (all the way from Sydney to Perth), COT 2014, the Alpine Rally and Targa Tasmania.

You’ve been an official on the COT before… what has bought you back?

Ready for business...

Ready for business…

Great fellow officials, excellent organisation, wonderful competitors, very talented service crews, magic cars, camping in the great Australian outdoors – just an awesome (though pretty tiring) experience.

What are you expecting from the 2016 COT; what are you looking forward to?
Hoping it will be as much fun as 2014 but with a bigger field to keep us on our toes. We’re really looking forward to catching up with old pals on the officiating side and also seeing all those competitors with smiles on their dials at the end of each day.

Have you been to Alice Springs before?
Lui’s only been once, about twenty years ago and is interested to see how things have changed in the Alice – hopefully not for the worse…Kaye has been to Alice Springs a couple of times, the most recent being as a competitor in the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial. The Kangaroo Sanctuary is on the “must visit” list, also walking in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Last team out of NSW on the Sydney to London

Kaye and Lui were the last crew out of NSW on the Sydney to London

Are you planning a bit of a Red Centre holiday as part of your rally?
At this stage, we’re seriously contemplating doing a six-day trek on the Larapinta Trail after COT has finished – anyone want to join us?

What is your rallying and officiating background? How did you become part of the COT team?
Lui: I started competing in navigational rallies about twenty years ago (and still do) and moved into the organisational side of those three years later, usually in the Admin role. I got involved in officiating on special stage rallies via the (now defunct) East Coast Targa and from that, Rally of Canberra, Classic Adelaide, Targa Tas, Rally Australia, etc working on the stages, as a CRO, in Results and as a Stage Commander.

Clearing the stage...

Clearing the stage…

Kaye: I have been a member of the HRA for about 20 years, during which I have driven and navigated in all sorts of rallies, tarmac and dirt. I regularly navigated for Peter Riseborough for 8 years, until he hung up his driving gloves 4 years ago. Officiating is my main role these days, filling the CRO role on the 2015 Alpine, several Targa Tasmanias, Start Controls, Event Admin (taught by Glad Fish and Stuart Lister), Course Car with Rick Hartmann on most of the Trailblazers and whatever challenge anyone would like to throw my way.

It’s not easy to get a gig on COT, but we were recruited to the Sydney London Marathon after working on Bega Valley and then we were delighted to be invited to join the COT team.

What is you most memorable COT moment – what sticks in your mind?
One of the most hilarious was ‘camping’ in the laundry of the Ivanhoe campground – the owner took pity on us when a storm was rapidly approaching – that’s real country hospitality at its best! Jaffles for breakfast in the great outdoors, while waiting for the competitors to arrive – always a hit. Sunrise on the Nullabor. Driving Trudi over the wonderful sand dunes on the Belmore stage of COT2014 had Kaye giggling with delight.


Early morning starts are part of a Road Crew’s day…

What is/was your favourite rally car?
Lui: Definitely my ’70 Mini Cooper S, which has been in the garage since 1995.
Kaye: Anything that doesn’t break down please.

What is your most memorable rallying moment?
Lui: None really stick out for me – they’ve all been fabulous experiences and great fun.

Kaye: My highlight was the 2008 Silverfern Rally in New Zealand (the very 1st Silverfern), we came 2nd in class. Frances Tuthill brought a large team to this event, and even drove himself. Most memorable was a dice of over 50 km with Dessie Nutt, British Historic Rally Champion. When we, in the Datsun Sunny, appeared in the rear vision mirror of Dessie’s Porsche, he pulled over and let us pass, thinking we had caught up to him. Little did he know that we had just pulled back onto the road after Kaye’s navigational error (when we arrived at a farmer’s barn door we suspected things weren’t quite right). However, Pete drove like a man possessed and we kept in front – my most exhilarating ride ever. Wish Dessie would come out to COT!

Kaye with a sore Trudi

Kaye with a sore Trudi… after hitting a large kangaroo on the way into Wilcannia on the Sydney to London.

What will you be doing to get ready for the 2016 COT?
Starting a seriously BIG list! We’ll be travelling to Alice in the (hopefully) ever-reliable Trudi, via the Oodnadatta Track, camping our way there over about a week, so everything we need for the road as well as the rally, will have to be on board.

Where are you, and what are you doing as you answer these questions?
Lui: I’m at home on a muggy Sydney Sunday, regretting that I am not still sailing down in Tassie where I was a week ago!
Kaye: I am being a couch potato, watching Andy Murray probably beat the last Aussie standing, Bernard Tomic in the Australian Open.

Thanks Kaye and Lui – not only for the story, but for being fantastic officials on the COT.  It sounds like you’re planning quite  trip to Alice Springs… Who’s up for a 6 day Larapinta Trail walk with them after the event? 

Lui MacLennan and Kaye Kilsby...

Thanks Lui and Kaye…