Motorsport UK Academy and HERO-ERA encourage next generation of navigators

Wednesday 02 August 2023

Historic rally organiser HERO-ERA and the Motorsport UK Academy are teaming up to encourage the next generation of rally navigators.

With a limited number of young people entering regularity rallying and few schemes to assist them, the brand-new scholarship established by HERO-ERA and supported by the Motorsport UK Academy will be a much-needed initiative to keep the enjoyable discipline in robust health.

The Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship – named in memory of the late, popular figure in the world of historic rallying – will evoke Bob’s enthusiasm, energy and passion for helping youngsters into the sport.

The winner will receive full training and funding to navigate in four rallies, whilst also attending selected Motorsport UK Academy workshops. The Motorsport UK Academy has a proven track record of providing the UK’s future stars with opportunities to learn, develop and thrive, and counts World Rally Championship co-driver Scott Martin among its alumni.

Applications for the scholarship opened in March and budding rally navigators aged 14-24 were invited to apply, with no prior motorsport experience necessary. Six applicants have now been selected for a final shootout on 31st August at Bicester Heritage, where Motorsport UK and HERO-ERA are based.

Danielle Pool (15), Ralph Bohannon (19), Daisy Walker (20), Joseph Barnabus (18), Jacob Tutcher (14) and Alex Metcalfe (16) will be interviewed about their aspirations, given a briefing session on navigating, take part in practical sessions navigating around a special test, road sections and regularities in ‘arrive-and-drive’ classic cars, plus learn how to deal with the media, and more. The triumphant applicant will win on aptitude, appetite and enthusiasm.

The judging panel is made up of Guy Woodcock, Will Rutherford, Andy Pullan, Seren Whyte and Tony Jardine.

Scholarship organiser Will Rutherford:

“Having read through all the applications and understanding how eager the young candidates are to learn from this great opportunity has been very pleasing, although it’s made it very difficult for us to come to a decision on our finalists as there have been many deserving of the chance to gain some brilliant experience. The broad range of applications has been staggering and we look forward to seeing where this opportunity can take them in the future.”

Jonathan Jackson, Rallies and Cross Country Manager at Motorsport UK:

“Attracting new people to the exciting world of rallying – particularly younger people – is a key element of Motorsport UK’s rally strategy at the moment. It’s fantastic that our goals are shared with those of HERO-ERA and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them to encourage and facilitate the next generation of navigators. To do it in the memory of Bob Rutherford, who was such an advocate of helping youngsters into the sport, is only fitting.”

In June, HERO-ERA successfully ran its inaugural youth-focused Rally of the Ages, based at Bicester Heritage with support from Motorsport UK.

Rallying is a hugely varied and popular motorsport, with disciplines ranging from entry-level to professional. In some cases, all that’s required to participate is the free-of-charge Motorsport UK RS Clubman Licence.

To learn more about the different types of rallying, click here.

Images courtesy of Paul Freeman Photography.