Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bill "Stig" Richards

The Stig
Bill "Stig" Richards at Monte Carlo

"Some say he leaves tyre tracks instead of footprints...."

I want to introduce the Minispares-Mad Dog Rallying team's driver, Bill Richards, who in the past few years has carried the nickname "Stig". No, he's nothing to do with the anonymous, race suited individual associated with the odious Jeremy Clarkson. In fact I only became aware of the Top Gear character about a year ago when I was watching TV in the UK. Nevertheless I am actually responsible for Bill's monniker. Back in 2005, I was marvelling at the manner in which he blasted, mostly sideways, through an infamous snow covered stage over the Col de Echarasson. Such was his skill and panache that I speculated that he must have some Scandinavian rally driver genes in body and that he should really be called "Stig". I had absolutely no idea about the mythological Top Gear personality at the time: I was thinking more of Swedish rally driving giant Stig Blomqvist and his ilk. I mentioned this in one of my rally reports and somehow the name stuck. Indeed the term has found broad use including in our pace notes e.g. "...very tight dangerous section for 500 metres, caution, no Stigging..." (meaning no racing heroics).

Anyway enough of all this. Simply put, Bill is one of the hardest charging, focussed and determined drivers out there. He can physically dominate a Mini like no one else. If you have any doubts just watch the video clip here in which he gives a masterclass in slipstreaming and uses the technique to beat a faster, lighter car (ignore the first minute, the action is a little slow to start but then really heats up).

Now Bill, let's kick arse next week and no Stigging unless I tell you...!

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