Grant Martin co-drives for Mohammed Moosa in an S2000 Toyota RunX (Corolla) in the South African National Rally Championship. He grew up in the Pretoria Motor Club, which is a good thing, because you can’t rally in the SARC if you aren’t a member of a club. Currently, they are reigning A6 (2WD 1600cc) national champions.
What’s your name? Where are you located? What do you do for a living?
Grant Martin East London, South Africa. Software Support Specialist
What got you interested in rally?
I grew up around rallying, before I was born my dad serviced for one of the works teams in South Africa and later on moved into event organizing, he is still active. In 2006 I made the decision to get actively involved in rallying as a navigator (co-driver) after many years of sitting on the sidelines.
Tell us about your rally car/truck. How long have you had it?
My driver Mohammed Moosa and I currently run a Toyota RunX (Corolla) S2000 , in the premier class of rallying in South Africa. The car is brand new, 1 event old.
Did you buy your rally car or build it? What challenges did this cause?
The car was commissioned to be built by a top rally preparation company by the name of Jemsport. The deal to run this car came together 3 weeks before the beginning of this season. Jemsport put a fully FIA homologated car together in 3 weeks.
Tell us about a time when you stuffed the rally car (or maybe had a nasty off).
That is an unfortunate question as our first rally in the new car resulted in a big off only 2 weeks ago, we rolled a number of times , the car is presently being re-shelled and should be ready very soon. We clipped a rock on the inside of a corner while in 6th gear, the rest is history.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in rally?
Winning and appreciative fans.
The most challenging?
Keeping the intensity up over a 2 day event, pushing hard on every stage can be mentally taxing. As a co-driver you cannot rest for 1 minute after exiting a stage, your work doesn’t end until the car is finally released from Parc Ferme after the event.
How many events did you enter last year? Is that trending up or down?
9. Same as usual. Our season consists of 8 events, the 9th would be a regional event In the drivers home town.
What kind of cash prize structure would entice you to enter more rallies or push the car harder?
In South Africa you are enticed by the prestige of a national title, there are no monetary rewards for winning in our championships
Should rallies be run as for-profit corporations?
If it was possible I would have no problems with it, however rallying is not a big enough sport to bring in those kind of numbers. The benefit to corporations are mainly publicity through sponsorships of individual teams and events.
How important are car classes?
Very, there needs to be a distinction where budgets are concerned, level playing field is essential for good competition.
What class/region do you race in?
South African National Rally championship in class S2000.
How many competitors in your class at each event?
What do you think about recce vs pacenotes?
I have not had the fortune to recce, we run a Route note system which is quite effective, however no recce means SA navigators do not get the experience to rally overseas if that is their target.
Spectators: Dream come true or worst nightmare? Why?
Dream come true. South African spectators are generally very well informed and listen to crowd control marshals, we do not have the problems that some other countries have with spectators doing silly things, we would love more to come out and support us.
How do you get local gearheads involved in rally?
Rallying always needs volunteers, whether it be in organizing or running an event, or working as service crew for a smaller team. The rally fraternity is a friendly bunch and always welcome new enthusiastic people.
What do you see is the most critical issue needing addressed by the rally community today? How would you address that issue if you were in charge?
We need more coverage and promotion of rallying on television and printed press to make rallying a viable option for potential sponsors. [I’d] appoint a dedicated marketing team to get the word out and make rallying a household sport everyone wants to know about.
How do you help out at rallies when you aren’t racing?
Unfortunately I don’t get the time, but help out where I can if available.
If you could enter any WRC event, which rally would that be?
Finland. Definitely the most exciting, scary and spectacular rally in the world.
Your favorite Group B car?
Audi S1 Quattro, we were fortunate enough to have a few of these monsters in the 80’s rallying here, mind blowing stuff.
We’ve all got a rally hero. Who’s yours?
Locally would be Sarel van der Merwe, multiple national champion and former Daytona 24hr winner, Internationally Sebastien Loeb is the single most talented rally driver ever.
Do you have a local rally club?
Yes. I grew up in the PMC (Pretoria Motor club) In order to rally in SA you need to belong to a rally/motor club, the PMC is the biggest and best club in SA, I have many many good memories growing up there.
How often do you get together with other rallyistas to talk shop?
8 times a year at rallies.
Tell us about some people who have made your rally dream a reality.
There are many including my parents who introduced me to rallying, a local top navigator Greg Godrich gave me the foundation to start rallying and my first ever drive with Ernie Boshoff.
Thank a volunteer (or group of them) here.
Huge thanks to all the marshals and other volunteers who make rallying possible for us, without you all it cant happen. They are often the forgotten element in rallying.
Thank your sponsors!
Sponsors: We are fortunate to have a very good sponsor in Total South Africa, we form part of team Total which consists of 4 cars. We are also assisted by Toyota South Africa.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your time in the rally community?
Dedication and perseverance can get you anywhere you want to get to, be willing to crawl before you walk and it will happen, you just need patience.