Thursday 13th of June 2019

“Hi Laura, we are looking for a grid reporter for World Rallycross…”

What on earth is World Rallycross, I thought, whilst simultaneously answering with an eager, yes I am available! Motorsport is a far cry from my usual office – roadside at a cycling race, but I was ready to swap two wheels for four. It’s fair to say I had a hell of a lot to learn if I was going to do the World Championship justice. While we can’t be experts at every sport we cover, I always want to be as fully prepared and respectful of a sport and its athletes as I can.

Without doubt I am my harshest critic in this industry, and so the pressure was on ahead of four rounds of World RX and I had to do my homework.

It turns out I instantly fell in love with rallycross, after just a few races in Q1 at Catalunya RX. The deafening noise, the crazy energy, the nerve-shredding anticipation, the chaotic racing; it was unlike any sport I had covered before. I have seen cars flip on to their roofs, a car on fire and full gas racing, pushing the limits of what is possible. The broadcast was fast-paced – from a high-octane hello and welcome, to a driver interview pre-grid, before throwing to the brilliant commentary team (more on those boys later…) and hot-footing it to the flash interview area where we would flag down winning drivers post-race for a chat. Watching the racing, I soon found myself screaming and shouting at the screen. I’d become a fan! 

I also got the chance to jump in Luke Woodham’s Monster Energy truck to do a few laps for a hilarious and only-slightly-mortifying video in round four at Silverstone. It was my first time in an off-road performance car of any sort, so safe to say I was bricking it. That it was in front of a full house at Silverstone only served to add to my fear! Fear rapidly became childlike glee as we roared away from the start line, and only then did I get a real indication of just how physical and technical the sport is – the speed, the braking points in to the tightest of hairpins, and feeling your stomach do a thousand flips over a jump – what a buzz!

I’m often asked what the best thing about my job is, and undoubtedly it is the thrill of going live, broadcasting to thousands upon thousands worldwide. The rush is sensational, and that was no different presenting World RX. If anything, the tension was amped, as I knew a loyal and dedicated audience would spot a fraud a mile off. I had to get it right. And I really hope I did!

But I would have died a thousand deaths live on air if it were not for two key factors.

The TV team and most specifically Andrew Coley, the funniest, most generous, and most supportive man I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He put up with my inane questions and never grew tired of explaining the sport he loves to me. I owe so much of the fun I have had covering and ultimately truly understanding the sport of rallycross to him and his co-commentator Dan Rooke, and the wider broadcast team as a whole, who made me feel so at ease and welcome. Andrew’s generosity in sharing his knowledge is rare in a competitive industry and is testament to how much he loves the sport and wants it to grow. World RX is lucky to have them!

And finally, the drivers. Super welcoming, very accommodating to a newbie, and incredibly gracious with their time – they made my job easy and thoroughly enjoyable. They are true ambassadors of a thrilling, brilliant, overwhelmingly exciting sport that I am so chuffed to have been a part of. Thank you World RX! After my final round in Norway this weekend, I’ll be back presenting Euro RX at Estering in August. See you on pre-grid…

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