In the fourth of an exclusive series of columns for Crash.net, former British rally champion David Higgins talks about being honoured in China, becoming a wedding chauffeur for the day ahead of the Rally Isle of Man, and expanding FX Motor Sports.
Quite a lot has happened since I last wrote. We've been to China, relived the old days of the RAC Rally at Chatsworth, and completed another round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship - and it's all proved very successful.
The first event was the Shanghai Rally, and it felt really good to get back into competing in China again. As you know, we won every round of the Chinese championship last year, but we took the fifth of those five wins right back in November, six months before our trip back to Shanghai!
The Chinese championship calendar has changed quite a bit this year because of the Olympics being held in Beijing this year, that's why the season has started so late there.
It turned out to be an emotional trip. Not long before we went to China, the earthquake happened. So although we were happy to win, there were no celebrations on the podium. You couldn't help but think about what had happened while you were there, and we had several small aftershocks in the area where the team were staying for the rally too.
We had an extra surprise at the awards dinner though. As well as my co-driver Ieuan and I receiving awards for winning the rally, I was also presented with a special award called 'the honour of China'. I was told it was in recognition of winning so many events in the country last year, and because of some charity work we do when we go out there. It was a huge honour to be thought of that way by the people of the country, and was a huge surprise.
Going from there to the Rally Show at Chatsworth was a complete turnaround. The event was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the British championship, and was great fun to be part of. Chatsworth used to be a real haven for spectators on the RAC Rally, so it was great to be there - the sunshine helped too - and be part of having rally cars roaring around the fantastic grounds of the house again.
It was also a good chance for the TQ.com team to bring some friends and sponsors along to a more relaxing type of rally too, a single venue where they could see lots of action in one place and get a feel for the BRC in a more relaxed non-competitive environment. We went on to win our section of the event too.
I do love to win, but it was more about having fun that day, winning was just a bonus. I was surprised more BRC crews didn't turn out for the event though. I think more crews could have taken advantage of what was a well put together, fun, family orientated day out, and it would have been nice for the spectators to see more BRC crews compete there.