Long road to the top
By GREG WHITE
IN 36 degree heat and on terrain looking more like the dark side of the moon than a rally course, Nathan Quinn learned another valuable lesson recently about the long road to the top in motorsport.
The last State championship round of the year ? the Truss Me rally in Canberra ? is always a lucky dip.
Two years of washouts were followed by the tragic bushfires, leaving no trees, roads in poor condition and endless dust.
"It was a shocker," Quinn's father, Martin, said.
"From 87 starters, just 21 finished.
"We used eight tyres down to the bone and destroyed four rims and in the end it was too much for the poor old car."
A cautious start had Nathan in 30th position before a string of top 10 times put him into ninth place.
Then literally, the wheels fell off with time penalties, rocks being hit, new pot holes discovered . . . with one stage remaining Quinn's front suspension was smashed, putting him out of the event.
Before heading to the ACT, Nathan told the Coffs Coast Advocate of his apprehension at the challenge ahead.
"Every start the conditions have been different," he said.
"We've had rain, strange conditions and now, the prospect of heat and dust.
"No two events in this first season have been the same."
But that isn't to say Quinn's raw talent hasn't been spotted by those who should know.
"People from my era like Neal Bates and Ross Dunkerton are asking about his progress by using his first name," father Martin reported.
"I feel he's finished his rally apprenticeship in the Mazda RX2 and we'll be fixing the car to be ready for the first State round in Port Macquarie.
"In the meantime, we'll be sourcing funds to step up to a 4WD turbo in 2007."
A large slab of those funds are coming from corporate backers who may not be considered 'mainstream sponsors' of rallying and the list is about to grow.
Sean Broadbent of Allied Air Conditioning and Shane Brooks from Florent and Mundey Real Estate saw their livery carried on the car for the first time in Canberra and have given Quinn the younger their tick of approval.
"He's a local kid with a good head on his shoulders who's going places," Broadbent said.
"The amazing run he's had in his first six months shows Nathan has real talent so I didn't hesitate to put the dollars behind him.
"The young bloke certainly has talent."
Following his latest outing Quinn has been seeded 65th in the ACT.
His seeding is 9th in Queensland and 75th in New South Wales after two events.