SOLDIERS Point couple Nik Tyson and Kate Jackson will place their faith in one another in the Eastern Creek supersprint on Thursday.
It’s the first of two tarmac rallies they’ll take on in coming weeks aboard their Mitsubishi Evo VI Lancer.
Jackson will calmly yet firmly call her pace notes so that her fiance Tyson can squeeze every second from the car and the course.
“She was absolutely on the money for our first time out in the Targa Tasmania,” Tyson said.
“With rally it’s driving beyond what a driver can see, relying on the pace notes and that’s where you make up time.”
The couple made their targa debut at Australia’s biggest rally of its kind in 2015. Tyson had only ever driven circuit events (from age 17) and Jackson was a complete novice.
Neither of these factors hindered them.
“We were on track to finish eight in our class,” Tyson explained.
“But we made a rookie error on day four when we ran out of fuel.”
Nonetheless they learned from the experience to tweak the Evo.
Tyson had previously owned one in the UK – a vehicle he and others at Renault had used as benchmark for the Megane hot hatch.
He’s a bit of a cornering specialist since that experience landed him work with Ford Performance Vehicles in Australia in the ride and handling section.
“We’ve done quite a few mods since Tasmania; the suspension wasn’t quite right, it didn’t have enough brakes and we’ve upped the power,” he said.
“We’ve got some unfinished business there, we work our way back.”
This year the focus is on the supersprint that starts Thursday.
Then it’s straight off to Mt Bulla for Targa High Country to pre-drive the course and develop the all-important pace notes.
They’ve got some sponsors on board and hope to put the Evo well into the top 10 of the the early modern class.
“There’s a lot of good drivers who have been doing this for a long time,” Tyson said.
But one shouldn’t discount the hours he put into circuit racing the likes of historic Porches back home.
“Rally is something I wanted to do for a long time,” Tyson said.
“The podium is really where I want to be.
“I’m very competitive.”