SON OF A GUN
By GREG WHITE
NATHAN Quinn has never needed to ask his father to borrow the keys to the rally car.
The son of local motorsport legend Martin Quinn usually has them dropped in his pocket.
"He's had a great start to his career, hasn't he," Martin said.
"You worry they may feel pressure from being your son and have too many high expectations to live up to what you've accomplished, but he seems determined to do it his own way."
But that doesn't mean family are completely out of the picture with everybody from home contributing.
Dad helps prepare the vehicle, the same 1970 model Mazda RX2 he piloted 15 years ago.
"The vehicle is a cleanskin without sponsors' logos plastered all over it ? yet," he said.
"We'll let Nathan work his way up and things will gradually change as he comes under more notice."
That change may be coming sooner rather than later as Quinn junior is expected to sign the first sponsor in his own right any day with at least one 'national' looking at involvement.
Nathan has now covered around 500 kilometres in four rally starts and is really making waves.
At his maiden event in Wauchope, Nathan finished ninth outright.
Then, at his debut appearance in a G K Denney Tyres Coffs Coast Rally, Nathan pulled off an intelligent drive with navigator Bruce Tyler to set a string of fast stage times and narrowly miss fourth placing. Start three in Brisbane with a last-minute change to navigator Ron Peters made everyone sit up and take notice.
In the giant-killing RX2 and challenged by turbo-charged four-wheel-drives, Nathan went from fourth to third ? then outright second on the penultimate stage of the rally before disaster struck.
"A new high pressure oil cooler line blew off its fitting and seized the engine," his disappointed father said.
Back in Queensland on the weekend, Nathan pulled off a outright fourth placing aginst the turbo-charged 4WD's.
"Just imagine how his rivals felt after he went so well in the old Mazda relic," father Martin said.
"After seven inches of rain around Gympie and on a muddy track he'd never seen, it's pretty amazing.
"We've got to get him into a four-wheel-drive next year to be ready for the world championships in Brisbane during 2008."
The weekend finish leaves Quinn the younger placed ninth on the Queensland rankings.
His next outing is the final round of the state titles held in Canberra on November 25.
Clearly, Nathan has talent and as the first of a bunch of second-generation potential 'winners' emerging, his father believes the 'names' of his era have a golden opportunity to set alight fledgling careers.
"Let's start with a revival of the Coffs Coast Rally," he said
"It's still there but doesn't have the same profile it once had."