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Close Contest for Final Five in Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship

*Tough decisions but expert HERO-ERA panel choose a winner, Danielle Pool (15) from Exmouth

*First ever recipient of Bob Rutherford Scholarship wins full training, free entry into four HERO-ERA 2024 rallies to navigate a top driver, plus selected Motorsport UK Academy courses

*Close call as runner up Alex Metcalfe (16) from Prudhoe wins free entry to 2024 HERO-ERA Novice Trial, as the judges found it difficult to reach a decision

*Scholarship winner receives original Bob Rutherford navigational magnifying ‘poti’ as trophy

Close Contest for Final Five in Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship

Danielle Pool was selected from five scholarship finalists competing to win full training and funding to navigate expert drivers in four 2024 HERO-ERA rallies whilst also attending selected Motorsport UK Academy courses. The other finalists, Ralph Bohannon (19, Brackley), Daisy Walker (20, Rugby) and Joseph Barnabas (18, Grantham) all impressed the expert rally panel of Guy Woodcock, Will Rutherford, Andy Pullan, Seren Whyte and Tony Jardine after they were put through rigorous tests.

The finalists were put through a full day of monitored training and tests designed to bring out the potential star navigator in each of them. Navigation of speed tests and average speed regularities were attempted whilst been driven in HERO-ERA's Arrive & Drive rally cars. The finalists all then competed in a map plotting exercise after they had been through general navigation and media training which included a TV style interview.

Winner Danielle Pool who also receives full rally navigational equipment commented; “I don’t think it’s real, I don’t believe it. I think all of them were great and could have won but it hasn’t really sunk in yet. They will all be amazing and I think I’ve made some friends whom I will hopefully to see at future events.

“I want to aim for a full season in the future, but after the rallies next year maybe see where I can progress, but this is a tremendous opportunity and I am so grateful to HERO-ERA”

HERO-ERA Competition Director Guy Woodcock explains why he found it tough to pick a winner; “Yes, it was so close at the end, effectively down to three then two, but I think we’ve got the right player. Danielle will go on in leaps and bounds as she gains experience. And I’m hoping that Joe and Ralph will do the same, I know Daisy will.

“It is great seeing the young talent coming through, this has been great success in the name of my close friend Bob Rutherford and we will keep pushing to bring the youngsters into this sport as he was always trying to do. We need the navigators with the young brains and Danielle is the first of many as the inaugural winner.”

The runner up finalist, Alex Metcalfe believes the experience will really benefit his future rallying career; “I think it was quite successful for me out on the road, I was a few seconds out on the regularity and wasn’t perfect as I don’t really have much regularity experience, but we learned so much today. I’m very happy that I’ve managed to win the free entry on the Novice Trial 2024, that is very valuable as it will help take my career forward.”

Will Rutherford, son of Bob, in whose name and memory the scholarship was created said: “This has been a most successful shoot out with a deserving first scholarship winner. Nothing stood out for Dad more than getting young people into rallying. He was always encouraging others, so to have five such fine finalists competing for a scholarship in his name is truly fitting. They were all of a high calibre and  will all benefit from the experience and hopefully go on to compete in the navigators seat in future events as HERO-ERA continue to foster young talent

“We wanted to put something positive back into the sport after after we lost dad. So the best way possible is to get young people into sport. He was always very driven into trying to encourage and support newcomers into the sport, especially young people. So if we can bring something positive out of this situation and make it exciting and fun for the young then we will encourage more to come into the sport.”

The Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship for Young Navigators finalists were:

Danielle Pool (15) – From Exmouth. Danielle ran in the course opening car on the Exmouth Memorial Road Rally, helps maintain her and her Dad’s Super 16 Vauxhall Corsa rally car and wants to take navigation to a professional level. The youngest of the finalists.

Ralph Bohannon (19)  From Brackley. Just starting out as a professional automotive photographer, he is a standard solo glider pilot. Ralph loves classic cars and aims to be fully embedded in the industry in the future.

Daisy Walker (20) – from Rugby. Used to be in charge of map reading on family holidays. She progressed to trying navigating and competed in a few events with her father. She completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition and wants to complete her Masters in mathematics in five years’ time.

Joseph Barnabas (18) – From Grantham. Loves old cars and is excited about developing new skills. Is a member of the Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force and successfully completed his bronze air training package, he thinks multi-skilling is an essential skill for a navigator.

Alex Metcalfe (16) – From Prudhoe. Has a lifelong passion for motorsport, has competed in Targa and Autotest events as navigator for his Dad. He has been a marshal on historic and stage rallies and has completed his Chief Scouts Gold Award where he had to navigate on foot. Wants to be involved in navigation and the sport of rallying as a whole in the future.

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