Amy's rally dream becomes a reality

START THE CAR:  Amy Hudson, 13, is gearing up for a weekend of speed. The teenager will make her co-driving debut at the Catlins Coast Rally.
START THE CAR: Amy Hudson, 13, is gearing up for a weekend of speed. The teenager will make her co-driving debut at the Catlins Coast Rally.

Amy Hudson loves speed.

She's been waiting her whole life to compete in a rally. This weekend that dream will become a reality for the 13-year-old.

The daughter of prominent rallying couple Rocky and Lisa Hudson, Amy will make her co-driving debut at the Catlins Coast Rally on Saturday, alongside driver Les Summerfield in a Toyota Starlet in the Class A category.

Rallying is in the year 8 student's blood.

The Christchurch youngster has grown up attending rallying events with her parents and 10-year-old brother Jared.

Proud father Rocky, who met wife Lisa through motorsport, said his rally enthusiast daughter had potential but it wasn't until he and Lisa watched the in-car footage from Amy's first event, the Waimate 50, last year that they realised just how good she was.

She is believed to be the youngest co-driver in this weekend's rally, he said.

Even though it will be her first rally in the co-driver seat, she has no fear.

"It's all I can think about. A lot of people say it's scary but when you've been waiting 13 years . . ."

While she has always been a motorsport fan, she was truly bitten by the bug after going for a ride during a rally sprint on her 12th birthday.

It was her first taste and from there she was hooked.

But it has not been an easy road - most drivers wanted experienced co-drivers beside them.

However, Summerfield was keen to give her the opportunity and she was thrilled to finally be able to test her skills, she said.

It is likely this weekend's rally will be the first of many for the Heaton Intermediate pupil, who also enjoys playing football and horse riding.

She intends to eventually get her own car and move from co-driver to driver. She also wants to one day compete in the New Zealand rally championships.

"I was born into it. I have it in my blood. I'm already prepared for it. "

Motorsport New Zealand general manager Brian Budd said one of Amy's biggest challenges would be keeping tabs of where the pair were on the route at all times.

There was a lot of responsibility on the co-driver because the driver relied on them to deliver accurate instructions and to get the right time on the time card, Budd said.

The rallynz website says to compete as a driver or co-driver in national rallying events a person has to be a member of a MSNZ car club, must have a driver's licence and apply for a competition licence through Motorsport New Zealand.

Motorsport New Zealand allow competition licences for 13 years and over where a civil driver licence is not required, but the young driver or co-driver cannot compete on public road events.

The Catlins Coast Rally, organised by the Eastern Southland Car Club, is this Saturday. The Hudson family, including 10-year-old Jared, will be lending a helping hand. 

The Southland Times