MOTORSPORT: EVEN though he has done it 12 times before, former Wirral schoolteacher Tony Jardine will be having a few sleepless nights before he reaches the start line for the Wales Rally GB.
The 51-year-old will be racing a Group N MG ZR for MG Sport and Racing in the prestigious competition, which is also the final round of the World Rally Championship.
Better known for his role as an expert summariser for ITV's Formula One coverage, Tony says he cannot wait to indulge his passion for rallying again.
"The excitement of it always gets to me and I will have a few sleepless nights wondering if we have done this or that, has the car been checked and so on," he said.
"Once we get into it I do calm down a bit although I will be squeezing my PR work as much as possible to clear the time to compete in the rally and get rid of as many distractions as I can.
"I learned to do that when a codriver threatened to throw my mobile phone through the window on a stage once."
Tony, and co-driver Kevin Eason, will be supporting team mate Gwyndaf Evans in the three day rally, which is held in mid and South Wales over 1690 km and 18 stages of rugged forest tracks and diverse mountainous countryside, made all the more unpredictable by the Welsh autumn weather.
"It is a real challenge and we will be putting extra layers of plastic guards underneath the car because the ground gets cut up so badly that last year we were running for miles on the belly of the car," he remembered.
"It can be tough, but I actually prefer the longer stages because I can get into a rhythm and almost go into a trance where my vision goes further down the road and everything the codriver says transforms into a perfect picture in front of me."
Although he has raced around the world in rally cars, Tony is the first to admit he is still relatively inexperienced.
He said: "It is more difficult for me because I probably only do five rallies a year, so while I might put in a good section on a stage that is quick by my standards, I might mess up the next three miles and lose out on the clock.
"There are also moments when I might be flat out in fifth and think that this is too fast for me, but you have to put that out of your head. I just want to try and be as professional as Gwyndaf and take advantage of a masterclass from him.
"A big part of rallying is experience and you are always learning."
Learning is something Tony - nicknamed Teach - knows all about as he was an art teacher at Woodchurch High School on Wirral from 1973 to 1976, before travelling as a teacher and cartoonist in the Middle East.
On his return to Britain he became a truck driver for Goodyear and coordinator for the Brabham Formula One team, before quickly rising to become assistant team manager at McLaren, with further spells as an after-dinner speaker and stand up comedian.