29 October, 2022

Kilcoy driver relishes Indian experience

KILCOY’S Ryan Williams finished in the top 13 rally car drivers across the Asia Pacific, as he competed in the recent Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Rally Star Asia Pacific final.

Kilcoy’s Ryan Williams was among the leading performers as he took part in a car rally in the Indian city of Chennai.
Kilcoy’s Ryan Williams was among the leading performers as he took part in a car rally in the Indian city of Chennai.

In the Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras), Ryan was among 40 competitors from a range of countries including Australia, India, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

In what was effectively an elimination or “knockout” process, the number of riders decreased to 26 on the second day and 13 on the third and final day.

Ryan made it to the final day which included an arduous physical test, and the chance to showcase skills behind the wheel of a Pirelli-equipped TN5 Cross Car.

The 3.7km stage featured asphalt and gravel sections, before the drivers were involved in reflex tests. The winner was chosen based on aspects such as fitness, driving time, driving ability, and an interview.

“They also take into account how experienced you are,” Ryan said.

“The younger you are, the better it is.”

The 24-year-old Ryan said his age may have counted against him, as first place was awarded to fellow Australian Taylor Gill, at just 18 years of age.

Ryan nonetheless gave credit to Taylor, who will represent his region at next year’s FIA Rally Star Training Season.

Ryan said he made the most of his time in the FIA Rally Star Asia Pacific final, which he described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

“Overall I was super stoked to be part of the final 13,” he said.

“Considering how many million people there are in India, Sri Lanka and the other countries, it was pretty cool and a bit surreal to make the top 13.”

Away from the racing track, Ryan said being in India was “an eye opener, that’s for sure”.

“It’s really something else,” he said.

Ryan said the highways could be extremely busy even if there were eight lanes, and that the food was much spicier than in Australia.

“With their culture and the way they live, it was something different, that’s for sure.”

Ryan said he took up car rallying in 2017, competing in Jimna, and that “going through the forest is fun”.

Ryan did training in snowy and icy conditions in Finland in 2020, but the chance to continue there was halted when Covid hit.

As for what he enjoys about the sport, Ryan said, “The thrill of it, competing with the clock.”

Ryan said he enjoyed the camaraderie with the car rallying community, and that it was supportive like a family.

“The group of people and the sport itself is totally unique, compared with any other sport,” he said.

Next on the agenda for Ryan is the Alpine Rally in the Victorian region of East Gippsland, in early December.

This occasion will mark the 100th anniversary of the event, which began in 2021 but was not commemorated in 2021 due to Covid lockdowns and border restrictions.


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