December 23 – Colin Smith and Craig Chapman
Today’s entry is devoted to two enterprising Aberdonians who are doing something pretty amazing in the rally world next season. Oldmeldrum driver Colin Smith (22) and Westhill co-driver Craig Chapman (25) are going to contest the two-wheel drive section of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in a EuroRallye-Andrew Wood Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R, having only started rallying less than two seasons ago.
Project engineer Colin and finance advisor Craig scored a cracking result on the inaugural Rally of Scotland back in November, and it has spurred them on to take on more IRC rounds next year. Prior to tackling the three-day Rally of Scotland, the pair had only contested Scottish Championship and 205 Ecosse Challenge rounds in an old Peugeot 205 GTi – but they coped admirably with the massive step up and ended the rally thirteenth overall, second in class and second IRC two-wheel drive.
Smith and Chapman will start the year with a couple of Scottish rallies to bring themselves up to speed, before heading to Sardinia in June for the Ralia d’Italia Sardegna and then on to Belgium for the Ypres Rally. Another trip to Italy in late September will follow for the tarmac Rallye Sanremo, before their season ends with the Rally of Scotland. It seems that quality, not quantity, is definitely the order of the day for the youngsters from the north-east corner.
One of the main reasons Colin and Craig did so well on their first international rally was their phenomenally mature approach, taking their time and listening to every piece of advice the more experienced competitors passed on to them. It is this mentality that has helped them both to develop so much since they made their rally debuts separately on the Border Counties Rally back at the start of 2008, and it is this mentality that will help them so much in the upcoming year. I wish them both all the very best – no matter what, it’s going to be a season for them to remember.