The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has selected three promising young rally navigators to join the inaugural MSA Academy Junior Co-driver Programme, which will be overseen by National Co-driver Coach and former WRC navigator Nicky Grist.
The three co-drivers chosen for the 2012 programme are:
Joe Cruttenden, aged 22 from Rochdale in Lancashire
Chris Davies, aged 21 from Bridgend in Mid Glamorgan
Jack Morton, aged 17 from Stanley in County Durham
Cruttenden has co-driven for 20 drivers in a dozen different cars and took the Michael ‘Beef’ Park Award with a class win on the 2010 Wyedean Rally. Davies began navigating in 2007, since when he has sat with over 20 drivers and competed at an international level in Europe and Africa, while Morton took overall wins on the 2010 Autodrome Stages and 2011 Crail Summer Stages.
Cruttenden said: “The prospect of working with the likes of Nicky and the other coaches on the MSA Academy has made me put a renewed focus on my co-driving career. I’m hoping Nicky can help me with my pre-event preparation, as that’s an area I feel I can really improve on.”
Davies said: “It was a huge surprise when I picked up the phone to hear Nicky on the other end and I’m ecstatic to be part of the programme. Being able to work with experts of Nicky’s calibre on a scheme like the MSA Academy is something that money can’t buy; as an aspiring co-driver I don’t think I could have a better teacher.”
Morton said: “I feel honoured to have been chosen by such a great icon as Nicky and I feel privileged to be able to work with him alongside two of the best young co-drivers in the country. I’m aiming to learn as much as I can so that I can progress onto Team UK and then hopefully emulate some of Nicky’s success in the future.”
Grist added: “Joe, Chris and Jack have got a fair amount of experience and some excellent results under their belts, so they are ideal candidates for this new programme, which will act as a stepping stone to the Team UK national squad. We will begin with an assessment day that will allow me to identify the areas in which I feel they can improve. I’ll then run three or four sessions throughout the year to set them off on the road to bigger and better things.”
22 March 2012