For the love of the Sport...        ....a very personal view at Rallye Racing
              "If in doubt - flat out!"
                            Colin Mc Rae
There comes a time when you reflect on all the silly things that you've done in your life or simply travel down memory lane because you found an old picture that just makes you to want to shake your head and think: holy shniky, that was outright crazy.

OK, I admit it, exactly that happened when I browsed through my garage and found some old trophies from former Rallye Racing days. Now I'm sitting on the couch, chrome polish in one hand and a microfiber towel in the other, thinking about how it all started.......

But first things first, I really have to apologize to the one who brought me into this life, Sorry Mom, because she had absolutely no idea what actually happened in the early days of my youth.

And the Biggest THANKS goes to my Grandpa who started all of this, he was a true Petrol head down to the bone. Grandpa drove for the East German Government as a professional driver and he was meticulous if it came to his cars; "If I can't have lunch on this engine because it's dirty or oily then I've lost my appetite already, the engine and the car must be clean!". By the way, he was a true stubborn soccer loving Bavarian and cursing without profanity was one of his great strengths, but he was calm and cool as a cucumber behind the wheel, one of the best drivers I've ever met.

Yep, his clean engine motto really stuck with me, and he made sure of it. But that was just the beginning and things developed just great, specially if you are an 8 year old boy. My first actual drive happened around that time, 7 or 8 years old and Grandpa let me drive his EMW in and out of his garage, no dents or scratches which made both of us very proud.
He continued to put me behind the wheel when ever the time and situation allowed it, a parking lot, plenty of dirt roads or just quickly leaving my hometown of Schleusingen for a spin through the woods.

By the age of 11 we moved to the Goethe and Schiller City of Weimar, about 85km away from my hometown, but that was only a small hurdle. Somehow, Grandpa managed to frequently show up at my school, wrote a flimsy excuse for the teacher, put me in the car and off we went, and you probably guessed it already - we went for some off road "practice".

By now the Government had changed  to newer cars and I got to drive a 353 Wartburg, 55Horses, FWD, 2 stroke engine, fabulous!
We managed to find the very best and most challenging gravel roads at the countryside and grandpa made me repeat everything if I messed up a turn. Later he added the handbrake as a means to rotate the car, explained in great detail weight shifting and when to apply opposite lock on the steering.

These were tough lessons for a young kid but one thing he never took away from all of this - Fun! He always made sure of that and most times, after dropping me back off at school, I arrived at home with a big bag of sweets, chocolate and candy and my parents had no idea about the real reason why Grandpa gave it to me.......because of my behind the wheel performance :-)

Yes, I can honestly say that he was entirely responsible for getting me started in Rallye Racing and I don't regret anything that happened during that time, or later in life.