As she has been “doing the rally” on six different decades, there’s no shortage of memories. And she hasn’t been doing the volunteer work without thanks. In May, Seija Huuska was awarded The Finnish Sport Culture Cross by Sampo Terho, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport at the AKK Autosport Forum. Her 57-year-long and still ongoing “career” as Rally Finland volunteer – with duties carried out in exemplary manner – got a well-deserved recognition.
“I’ve only had two different roles throughout the entire time. I started in timekeeping at stage finishes and since 1972 I’ve been working in the Media Centre, where I’ve been a sort of a jack of all trades.”
The Rally HQ has moved once during that time. After the move, it was time to go on a little expedition.
“When me moved from Laajavuori to Lutakko, we conducted a thorough exploration of the Paviljonki. We wanted to know where everything was and what we could find, and since we had keys to every door we rummaged through everything from the basement up”, Huuska says with a laugh.
“In Laajavuori, we were able to get closer to the drivers, because some of them stayed in the hotel. There was more of a communal spirit then. Naturally, in timekeeping I was really close to them – we could almost shake hands to say hello.”
Whenever it’s time for Neste Rally Finland in the Finnish summertime, Huuska will be there. It’s a family tradition, after all.
“Rally is part of my summer. It runs in the family, as my father already was involved in timekeeping and addition to that both my husband and children are also rally makers. For a week each year, I get to see a lot of friends in the rally.”
Ecological and nature-friendly thinking has changed also Huuska’s job description in the media office. Things are being communicated in real time, electronically, but one thing has stays the same. Communicating with people is still done verbally and often face to face.
“Informing people about things on paper is pretty scarce now, but we can still tell people at the media info desk where to find the bus station or the nearest pharmacy.”
Throughout the rally weekend, all volunteers pretty much live and breathe Neste Rally Finland.
“We do talk about the results. On the second day at the latest, we start discussing which one of the Finnish drivers has the best chances in the rally and will he be able to catch up to the guy in front of him. As soon as there’s some new results on the screen, your eyes quickly pick it up”, Huuska says with her eyes twinkling.
PHOTO: Teemu Kammonen / AKK