Ayrton Hodson tops 2023 Elite Motorsport Academy

Just a few points separated the top four graduates for the Ian Snellgrove Trophy.

Ayrton Hodson has topped the points table for the 2023 Elite Motorsport Academy to win the Ian Snellgrove Trophy.

The prestigious trophy, awarded in memory of former MotorSport New Zealand general manager and academy trustee Ian Snellgrove, was presented to Ayrton, 19, at the MotorSport New Zealand Awards evening on Saturday.

Ayrton, from Katikati, was one of eight graduates of the 2023 Elite Motorsport Academy, an academy for developing elite motorsport competitors.

The academy, administered by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, takes place annually and invites aspiring young motorsport competitors to take part in a 12-month development programme.

The academy begins with a week in Dunedin at the Otago Academy of Sport where tutors give participants lessons in the ‘off-track’ elements needed to make a career in motorsport such as nutrition, fitness, media, marketing, sponsorship, data analysis and more.

At the end of the camp, a winner is determined based on performance during the week.

But this accolade does not necessarily translate to being crowned the overall academy winner for the year.

Following the academy camp, participants complete a 12-month follow-up programme individually tailored where they are assessed on their progress and performance to determine the overall academy winner.

A spokesperson says the class of 2023 was hotly contested, with just a few points separating the top four graduates.

“It’s really cool to be awarded the Ian Snellgrove Trophy,” says Ayrton.

“The academy has been very valuable in the last 12 months for me and no doubt it will continue to pay dividends throughout my career.

“It’s been a blast. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everyone else progresses too.”

MotorSport New Zealand president Wayne Christie says the class of 2023 again showed the immense amount of talent in the country.

“We had an incredibly high level of talent among the graduates which made for some extremely close competition,” says Christie.

“I want to congratulate Ayrton on behalf of all the trustees for all his hard work and success in the academy programme.”

The 2024 class of the Elite Motorsport Academy was also announced at the MotorSport New Zealand Awards evening. Ben Stewart, Bryn Jones, Jacob Begg, Jacob Douglas, Hunter Robb, Mason Potter, Will Kitching, and Zach Blincoe will join the academy.

MotorSport New Zealand represents 94 clubs around the country with about 24,500 participants who participate in a variety of circuit, rally, drift and other events.

-Katikati Advertiser


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