Motorsport New Zealand and the Motorsport New Zealand Scholarship Trust today proudly announced the 2019 Motorsport New Zealand Elite Academy year winner.
This announcement is normally held during the last weekend of May at the night of nights for New Zealand Motorsport,  the annual awards prize-giving for the season’s racing. Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, this particular award was announced on Tuesday evening via a Zoom Conference call with the entire Class of 2019, the Trustees, Otago Academy of Sport and chaired by the President of Motorsport New Zealand Mr Wayne Christie.
“The Class of 2019 were an outstanding group of fine talents and the challenge for the year winner went right to the wire showing once again the depth we have in our sport and the success of the academy” commented Wayne Christie during the announcement.
“It is with great pleasure that I can announce the Year Winner for 2019 as Ronan Murphy from the Hawkes Bay.”
Ronan became a double winner by also taking the honours of Camp Week Winner in July 2019 during the week-long camp.
“I’m delighted for Ronan – he really stood out at the camp with his easy and confident style of speaking, and he continued that every time I saw him during the summer” added Mr Christie.
“I am delighted by this and really just want to thank everyone that’s played a part in the year what an amazing thing its been and what a great bunch of classmates as well,” said Ronan today from his home in the Hawkes Bay.
Ronan’s name now joins the list of many great names on the Ian Snellgrove Trophy as the top scholar of his class for 2019 and his fellow classmates names follow him on the trophy as the Academy class of 2019.
For Ronan, his plans for 2020 have been effected like many from Covid-19 with his February announcement of running for the Kiwi Motorsport team in the highly competitive USF4 Series in the United States. Whilst that’s currently an ongoing work of progress due to the current travel restrictions this next-generation driver is working on progressing and becoming ready to go as soon as its safely allowable and has even been assisting his famous father Greg in adjusting to Sim Racing at home in the Racing Local Series.
For the first time since its inception, the Motorsport New Zealand Elite Academy will not be held in 2020 due to the conditions required to meet the Covid19 requirements. This decision was made during the Level 4 lockdown period where it became not possible to interview or plan travel for the 2020 class and for everyone concerned and the safety of everyone 2020 had to be called.
More on the Elite Academy.
The year winner is judged upon the work that the athlete does during the year post the camp. The way in which they apply the skills learnt during the camp and the interaction and follow though they show. The camp comes together each year in July for a week in Otago, each student has significant funded support for the next eleven months to aid their study via the Trust. Judging and points come via feedback from the Academies various tutors and measures are in place to create an even and fair playing field for all Academy Graduates during the year and the camp week. It should be noted not one judge can impact on the points outcome as they come via multiple sources ensuring that is a true and fair winner based on performance and effort.
The Elite Academy run in conjunction with the Otago Academy of Sport is now set for July 2021 and another eight students will enter a year-long period of training to leverage their chosen discipline within the sport and to aid them further in their respective careers.
Notable names that have past through the academy include Brendon Hartley, Marcus Armstrong, Mitch Evans, Hayden Paddon and many of today’s leading Supercar drivers. It has aided over 140 students since it began in 2003 with over 32% now earning a living directly in the sport.