Rally ace tops Elite Motorsport Academy

Asia Pacific rally star Michael Young (Opotiki) has taken the top spot in the 2015 Elite Motorsport Academy, after a colossal week of mental and physical challenges.  Second was Brad Lathrope (Auckland, race) and third Nicole Summerfield (Rangiora, rally).

Winning the Academy means Michael, who is currently based in Perth, is the recipient of the Ian Snellgrove Award, established by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust in memory of the late Ian Snellgrove.  Ian was instrumental in the establishment of the Elite Motorsport Academy and managed the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust for nine years.

The rising rally star was one of eight very strong contenders tested beyond their limits over the past week.  Young (22) also took out the Teams Award along with fellow candidates Brad Lathrope, Nicole Summerfield and Brook Reeve (Blenheim, race).

Run in conjunction with Excellence in Sport South Island and the School of Physical Education at Otago University, the Elite Motorsport Academy has been operating since 2004 and has now seen 99 racers take part.  Recent graduates of the academy have been Nick Cassidy, James Munro and last year’s winner, Jamie Conroy.

The participants are put through an intense week of physical and mental challenges, plus attend classes on media skills, sponsorship, nutrition and team building; all vital components in building a successful motorsport career.

Each graduate also leaves the Academy with a personalized programme and ongoing support from the experts.

MotorSport NZ’s general manager Brian Budd commented, “It’s been a long hard week for the Academy participants, I’m sure one they will never forget.”

“Now in its twelfth year, the Academy is spot on with what it offers our young competitors.  Each year I think these guys surprise themselves when they discover where their strengths and weaknesses lie.  Our congratulations go to Michael for winning this year’s Academy.”

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits talkmotorsport.co.nz. He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!


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