RACHEL Messer is primed for the ride of her life.
The Ballarat rally car co-driver is in the final throes of preparing to take on the world’s best next week.
She is teaming up with Hastings driver and long-time friend Martin Grigg in a round of the World Rally Championship at Coffs Harbour.
“It’s an exciting time,” Messer said.
This isn’t the first time she has competed in a world championship round.She combined with South Australian Denise Collins in Perth in 1998.
It is not that long, however, that the 41-year-old thought she would never have another opportunity to drive, given she had retired from the sport for business and family reasons almost 15 years ago. Messer said it was just by chance that the possibility came up in a conversation with Grigg.
“He mentioned he was building a car for the World Rally Championship,”she said. “So I put my hand up.”
Grigg and Messer have competed in three state-based events in preparing to take on a full-on international field – one in Victoria and two in South Australia.They did enough in SA to win their class in the state’s rally championship. Messer entered the sport at a young age with the Ballarat Light Car Club in the late 1980s, navigating for her father Kerry Bruty.
Once in the co-driver’s seat that was where she stayed, going on to team up with her now husband Phil Messer.
Phil will again be part of the team at Coffs Harbour.
He will be joined by Rachel’s parents Kerry and Anne-Marie Bruty, and Ballarat’s Greg Taylor in the service crew.
Grigg and Messer will begin the final phase of their preparation in a new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X on Tuesday, with the first of two days of course reconnaissance and pace work. This will be followed by practice on Thursday before three days of racing. The pair will compete in class two, the round will feature 90km of racing on Friday, 123km on Saturday and 125km on Sunday. Messer said their main aim was to finish the event and perhaps lay the foundation for another World Rally Championship round in New Zealand next year.