Motor Sports Association

Rallycross

 

Ollie O'Donovan 

Lives: London

DOB: 1967

Occupation: Director of development company

Currently competing in: MSA British Rallycross Championship

Career highlights: 2007 MSA British Rallycross champion, at his first attempt after more than 25 years as a successful rally driver.

What got you interested in motor sport in the first place?

I first got interested by watching the Circuit of Ireland Rally in the early 1970s. In those days it was a four-day marathon that ran through parts of both Northern Ireland and Eire.

Where/how did you get started?

I started in Irish rallies, navigating for a neighbour in his 2.3-litre Vauxhall Chevette HSR – oh, at least 25 years ago. The first car I drove in competition was a Ford Escort RS2000. It cost about £6000, we ran it for three years and won loads of class awards with it.

What car do you use now, and how much does a season cost you?

I use a Peugeot 306 that was built specially by Will Gollop, who won the European Rallycross Championship in it. It’s got a spaceframe chassis, four-wheel drive and gives around 600 horsepower. The best part is it’s a simple car. It’s hard to drive well, but it gets results. I’m really not sure about costs, but I can do a whole season’s rallycross for the same price as just two individual International rallies.

What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?

Join a motor club GO FIND CLUBS – there’s always a lot of help and information available for a novice starting out. I’m a founder and President of the London Irish Motor Club, which started three years ago, but prior to that I was a member of Limerick Motor Club for about 26 years. Also, you don’t need pots and pots of money to race in rallycross. Start in something like the Stock Hatch class, which is relatively cost-effective.

Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?

Oh, that’s easy – rallycross is a very sociable sport and, personally, I get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment out of it. I’m sure you‘ll do the same.