The HERO-ERA Annual Awards Ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in London provided the appropriate launch venue for the announcement of a very special new scheme designed to help bring young talent into historic motor sport. The Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship for Young Navigators was revealed to an august, specialist audience that included David Richards CBE, the Chair of Motorsport UK. HERO-ERA Competition Director Guy Woodcock launched the Scholarship, which will be awarded to a potential young navigator, on stage in the presence of many experienced rallying luminaries.
The Scholarship was set up by Guy Woodcock and Bob’s rally organiser son Will Rutherford, in the memory of the late, great Bob Rutherford, a man fondly remembered and familiar to many in the historic rallying world, who sadly lost his life in 2021. Bob enjoyed and embraced a great career in rallying, he was a font of rally knowledge who always had time to help those wanting to learn. With a limited number of younger people entering regularity rallying, and few schemes to assist them, it was decided to harness the late Bob Rutherford’s (he tragically lost his life on the HERO-ERA Classic Marathon recce in 2021) enthusiasm, energy and passion for helping youngsters into the sport by developing a scheme in his name as part of his legacy. The scholarship invokes and celebrates his spirit.
The scholarship, endorsed by the sport’s governing body Motorsport UK who will also invite the winner to selected Motorsport UK Academy courses, aims to support and hone the skills of a rising young navigator, and across a year teach them everything they need to know to become a topflight occupant of the maps seat. The winner of the annual scholarship will have the opportunity to attend all HERO- ERA training seminars, as well as having entry, car and experienced driver catered for in four HERO- ERA rallies across 2023, letting them hone the classroom skills in a competitive setting and experience the excitement and pressure of the sport.
Open to a wide range applicants between 14 and 24 years of age, entries are open on March 1st. The eventual winner will be announced in Sept, after a demanding summer selection day at Bicester Heritage, where the shortlisted hopefuls will engage in a shoot-out for the prize. The scheme isn’t aimed solely at those already initiated into the world of motorsport; indeed, no experience or knowledge is necessary, and the triumphant applicant will be selected on aptitude and appetite. Bob himself would help anyone and everyone, and the scholarship seeks to emulate those values, seeking to find talent in spheres outside of motorsport itself.
Speaking of the special scholarship BRHRSYN organiser Will Rutherford had this to say “Dad was an avid rally man who was passionate about welcoming new people into the sport, which is evident by the fact that both his sons have enjoyed competing and organising rallies from a very young age. He was always keen to put something back into the sport that he loved and this scholarship epitomises that desire. For me, this is the best way to yield something positive out of a truly devastating circumstance”.
Guy Woodcock, HERO-ERA Competition Director added; “Having known Bob’s passion for bringing new people, especially youngsters into the sport he loved, it makes me immensely proud to be part of this ground breaking scholarship programme. It is hoped that the ongoing scheme will give the opportunity for young and emerging talent to forge a career in the sport, all in the name and memory of the great Bob Rutherford. This will invoke his values whilst continuing to share knowledge and inspire a new generation holding on to all things that were dear to Bob.”