First place for Feilding teen
Callum Crawley, aged 17 from Feilding, has topped the points-table at the Elite Motorsport Academy’s intensive training camp at Dunedin. Second in a close-fought assessment was Peter Vodanovich, also 17, of Auckland, with 15-year-old Billy Frazer, of Pukekohe, third.
The trio is part of a group of eight young race drivers participating in this year’s academy, which is run by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust in conjunction with the Otago Academy of Sport and the Human Performance Centre from the University of Otago’s School of Physical Education.
The Elite Motorsport Academy first ran in 2004 with race drivers Nelson Hartley, Christina Orr, Chris Pither and Tim Edgell among the selected participants that year. Since then, many academy graduates have forged successful international careers such as Shane van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley, Hayden Paddon, Earl Bamber and Mitch Evans.
The class of 2018 is the 15th group to go through the Elite Motorsport Academy, a year-long programme which commences with the intensive camp week.
The Academy’s purpose is to help participants learn a wide array of skills and techniques to aid their mental and physical fitness as a motorsport competitor, as well as the sponsorship and marketing, nutrition and media skills needed to succeed in the sport.
With his camp-week success, Crawley will now aim to win the Ian Snellgrove trophy, which is presented to the overall winner of the 2018 Elite Motorsport Academy at next year’s MotorSport New Zealand annual awards dinner.
First, he will have to continue to do better than his classmates in the post-camp assessments in order to take home the trophy which is awarded in memory of long-time MotorSport New Zealand general manager and Academy programme trustee, the late Ian Snellgrove.
“I think personal preparation is going to be really key for me. Just seeing the massive effect that it can have on your performance on the day and in the races, and how your prep starts with your nutrition – I learnt that what you’re eating up to four days prior can affect you on race day,” says Crawley.
“The other things I really enjoyed during the camp were the race simulators and the heat chamber, and see the impact on your body. It really surprised me to learn how physical it is, like how high your heart rate gets and your core temperature.”
Wayne Christie, MotorSport NZ President and a trustee of the MotorSport NZ Scholarship Trust, says it’s been another great year for the sport at the Academy camp. “With the Academy now 15 years old, it is wonderful to see the talent we have within our sport. My thanks go out to the Otago Academy of Sport and our own scholarship trustees for the ongoing work they all do over the week and each year.”
The full class of the 2018 New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy is:
Callum Crawley, 17, Feilding
Billy Frazer, 15, Pukekohe
Callum Hedge, 14, Milford, Auckland
Bailey Paterson, 19, Christchurch
Matthew Podjursky, 18, Inglewood
Jaden Ransley, 16, Christchurch
Brock Timperley, 23, Henderson, Auckland
Peter Vodanovich, 17, Mission Bay, Auckland
*Featured image: Callum Crawley at the Elite Motorsport Academy’s intensive training camp in Dunedin