Championship winning navigator Andy Pullan (26) from Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire is set to transfer his regularity rally navigation and event skills from the competitor’s cockpit to the organiser’s office as he joins leading historic rally company HERO-ERA to become part of their competition team this April.
A delighted Andy Pullan commented; “I’m really looking forward to joining the organisation and getting stuck in. I decided I wanted to make a career in motorsport and looked at various options, but once I had spoken to Guy Woodcock (HERO-ERA Competition Director) he made every effort and was keen to get me involved within the HERO-ERA fold. I am really happy and grateful for the opportunity.”
At the moment Andy works as a Civil Engineer, but as he explained the lure of working as a motorsport professional was too strong. Andy continued; “My main hobby is historic rallying which I have really enjoyed competing in for a long time and always wondered if I could try and make a career out of doing what I love. I have got to a point in my career where I have good experience, all of my qualifications, and I thought now is a good time to try and make my dream a reality. I had a discussion with Guy and we soon agreed a role which worked for both of us and one that could help with an expanding portfolio of quality HERO-ERA events. “I hope that I can bring a young fresh set of eyes to review how we approach the planning of events, incorporate new technology to improve efficiency and make sure that we put on top class events for our competitors for the long term. Part of this I see becoming more important as we go forward is making sure we correctly engage with environmental issues and work towards historic rallying being a sustainable sport into the future. Of course, this involves introducing new people to the sport too.”
Guy Woodcock, Competition Director of HERO-ERA is naturally pleased with the coup of securing Pullan’s services and bringing such a rally talent to his team.
Guy; “The chance to add Andy to the team came as a shock as I assumed he was firmly fixed on his Civil Engineer career path, but the time I have spent with him navigating for me and in the course car role on Le Jog convinced me I had to make it happen! It was always my aim aimed to bring in fresh young talent to secure the long-term future of the company, now we have Andy to work alongside Seren Whyte which means we can secure the succession. These young talented individuals will work with the experienced team members George Mullins, Nick Reeves and Chris Elkins to take the company forward.
“We are future proofing, and very pleased to be able to harness the skill and experience of one so young who has proved he is a winner, so we have another poacher turned gamekeeper joining the team!”
As a twice Golden Roamer and HRCR Championship winning navigator however, is this the end of Andy Pullan’s career in the navigator’s competition seat?
Andy; “No! Definitely not! I enjoy organising and competing in the sport. Although it will remove some of the opportunities, there are still plenty of events out there to keep my skills current and on form. It is also important to keep a view of how other organisers put their events together to make sure we are always providing the best quality events that we can in the future. Just because something has always been done one way it doesn’t mean that is the best way!”
Andy has been competing for around 10 years, starting off with his Dad in a little Hillman Imp which has been known to be somewhat temperamental. What has been impressive is his rise to the top in a relatively short amount of time given the skills required of a top regularity rally navigator. To have won the Golden Roamer Navigator’s Award and the ultra competitive HRCR championship twice at just 26 years of age is quite a feat, as are his numerous victories, but as he said;
“I’ve had the opportunity to go to a lot of incredible places whilst rallying and have sat with some great drivers. This has meant that I’ve had a lot of success (around 40/50 wins), although for me it’s not about the
wins, it’s about enjoying the day, the cars and the crews who are out there competing.”
From where he started to his current status means that he could also consider helping develop others currently in the sport and those thinking of coming in, young navigators for example? “That’s something that I am really keen to be involved with, I have a real passion for helping people and see them develop. HERO-ERA already provide a good ladder of opportunity in terms of the spread of events and tuition that goes with it, which I am excited to fully understand and support. As well as helping novices I do think there is a bit of a missing link in there, the step from expert to master navigator is one area where more support could be provided. My aim is to provide help and support across the full spectrum, not just young navigators. We all discover the sport at a different age.
“I think my experience of coming in young and learning everything fairly recently will help. Being a really good navigator means I understand most elements of the sport to a high level and can support crews in their development.”
With a funnel of new competitors, tuition and a progression ladder already in place, does Andy think he can help make a difference, for example with the recently announced Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship for Young Navigators?
“That sounds a fantastic scheme, the scholarship will provide brilliant opportunities and having seen some of the details, HERO-ERA are supporting it in a really great way. I’ve had some discussions with Will Rutherford already and I am looking forward to getting involved as much as possible and to support it in the best way.”
“In terms of events I will be getting involved in all the events in as many different roles as possible to understand the whole organisation in a sort of bottom-up way. We will be focusing my personal efforts on the more technical events that HERO-ERA run like RAC Rally of the Tests and the Three Legs of Mann, but I will be supporting others in their roles on all of the events. I will be getting involved with everything to be honest and learning as much as I can, I can’t wait to get started!”