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Catching up with the Co-Drivers at NEFR

By July 17, 2010News

Not only are the drivers a crucial part to a team’s success at the Forest Rally, but the team’s co-drivers are equally as important. Today I talked to Subaru Rally Team USA’s co- driver Christian Edstrom and Last Ditch Racing’s Dave Getchell about what it really takes to be a co-driver, and then I also was given a chance to act as co-driver
myself when I went for a ride with Rally Driver Andrew Wickline

In talking with Christian Edstrom I learned that it’s not reading the directions that’s the hardest part. “Reading the notes is pretty straight forward; the hardest part is getting the driver out of bed in the morning.

” He also taught me that one of the most important things about being a co-driver is communication with the driver, it important  in letting the driver know when to speed up or slow down, and it also lets the driver know when there are obstacles coming up on the course.

After talking with Christian I then caught up with Last Ditch Racing’s Dave Getchell who taught me even more about what goes into being a great co-driver. “Co-driving requires a lot of trust and a lot of faith… the more trust the drivers have in each other the faster the rally car can go. The biggest job the co driver has is knowing what is coming over the next crest, and what obstacles may be around each turn. The driver of the rally car is responsible for most of the
aspects of the car, where as the co driver keeps track of all timing. The three most important things a co driver does is make sure the car stays on the road, on time and on course. They also check with officials about the start order, among other things.”

Then during press rides I got to do a little co-driving of my own, riding with first time rally driver Andrew Wickline. I learned how to read the directions and what all the different numbers and letters meant, and then we were off on the shake down course, and I quickly learned that co-driving is not an easy job. It was difficult to figure out how fast to read the directions, and how the directions matched up with where we were on the course. I definitely don’t see
myself being a co-driver anytime soon.

All the co-drivers of the teams definitely deserve major credit because their jobs certainly are not easy.