Alexander Eadie is at the start of a blooming career as a rally navigator.
Alexander got the chance to navigate for current Australian Rally Champion Nathan Quinn during this year’s Bega Valley Rally and the pair had so much fun, Quinn is hoping to keep Alexander on board if he contends more of the Southern Cross series.
The pair have just finished second overall – and top of their class – at the Bulahdelah Classic round, falling just 39 seconds behind a Subaru WRX after two days of intense rallying in Quinn’s Mazda RX-2 that contested the Bega round.
Alexander is no stranger to speed as an avid motocross rider, but it’s another thing entirely to be strapped in at up to 180km/h on forest roads.
“I haven’t found myself particularly nervous yet, because in the car your mind is 100 per cent on the job and stages that are 10-30km long seem to be over in no time,” Alexander said.
However, he did say on the longer runs there can be larger breaks in the technical callouts which gave him a chance to recognise the immense speed.
“There can be a gap in calls and this allows you a moment to truly comprehend the speed.”
Alexander said his experience in the navigator’s seat was “limited” so working with the Australian champ is an opportunity he is not squandering.
“I’ve been so lucky to ride with Nathan who is absolutely at the top of his game as the reigning Australian champion and a New Zealand National Championship contender,” he said.
“I’ve been able to take on challenges from both the conservative and ‘no risk’ approach of a state level clubman, but also the maximum attack style of Nathan.”
It is in those ‘maximum attack’ moments that Alexander has learned a key lesson about the importance of getting calls right.
“It’s essential to be precise with the calls as that’s so critical to the driver’s confidence,” he said.
“Nathan is so on it that I have often found with myself pushing my feet into the floor as we go over blind crests or around blind corners,” he adds with a laugh.
The Bulahdelah event has also given the teen insight into the key role of the navigator in “transport” stages to service yards and between rounds.
“Being focused on the transport was just as important as the competitive stages,” he said.
Alexander said he was now eager to learn the more advanced pace-note navigating as opposed the prepared “Road Book” rallies they have been doing.
“That’s the next step for me to get some pace-noting experience and I’ll hopefully be doing a few in the near future.” The next round in the Southern Cross series will be held in Orange on September 1.