What does it take to be a navigator?

Wednesday 05 June 2024

The key to the co-driver role is very much being able to work as a team, no matter the level at which you are taking part. From reading pace notes, to studying the stages and really knowing your driver, navigation is an art form in itself. 

Neil Raven from StreetCar member club Ilkley and District Motor Club, has had several talented co-drivers begin their career within the club, progressing onto opportunities across the UK and further afield. 

“Iain Tullie was born into the Motorclub with his parents and brother being very active members, and he naturally grew up through the ranks and is now one of the UK’s top road and regularity navigators.  

“One of my outstanding memories of Iain is when he won a scatter on his own! His driver hadn’t made it so he jumped in his Peugeot 306 Diesel and managed to navigate himself to all the clues and took the honours!! 

“Iain has worked for MSport as Rally Logistics and Operations manage and currently works for Rally the Globe as Rally Manager. He has continued to compete on all types and levels of events, and apply the skills he’s learnt to secure some high profile positions in respected organisations.” 

Seb Marshal also started out on the Ilkley motor club scene after passing his driving test and 

volunteering to set up a rally stage in Dalby with the rest of the Ilkley team.  

Neil adds, “Seb had arrived in his mum’s car and, understandably, didn’t want to take it in to the forests so then president, Chris Tindall, took him round. Probably one of the scariest rides he’s had in his navigating career which reached the heights of the WRC, sitting alongside Haydon Paddon in the Hyundai i20 and Chris Meeke in the Toyota.” 

Andy Pullan, who has now moved onto Senior Competition Manager at HERO ERA, a new StreetCar club, began his motorsport career in the back of a Hillman Imp while his parents were keen members of Ilkley and District. Competing both behind and next to the steering shell, his career has seen him move on to competing around Europe. 

Andy comments, “A good navigator is someone who knows the rules well, keeps calm under pressure and has good attention to detail. They can multi-task well, are confident in their role and make quick decisions on the go. They give confidence to the driver but also look for efficiencies in how they can improve and what they can learn from others.” 

His top tips for anyone wanting to start out in navigating are: 

  • Have a go, experience counts for a lot – everyone started out once, what is the worst that can happen? 
  • Try different events and drivers, there might be a certain style of event you enjoy the most. And you will learn something new from every different driver you sit with, for better or worse! We all have our own “unique” way of approaching problems. 
  • Make sure you enjoy it, we’re here to have fun after all! 

If you are considering giving navigation a go, then why not get in touch with your local StreetCar Club and try out a range of disciplines in your ordinary road car.