Meet the Driver – Jono Shapley

Jono Shapley
Jono Shapley

Name: Jonathan Shapley
Age: 28
Motorsport class: Pre 2000 rally xtreme series
Motorsport Club: Motorsport Bay of Plenty (MBOP)

How did you get into driving?
Well, at a very early age my grandad built me a trolley that later of course, had a motor (a very slow one), as I used to fall asleep going around the house.  Then at the age of 8 he was teaching me to drive his van after school when no one was looking (good fella). As soon as my father found out, we pretty much went and found some nice gravel corners and did some slow basic slides.  I guess that’s how I found it.  Family and my father being an ex rally driver (Ron Shapley) are just all in all great influences.

When did you first get into motorsport?
At age 12 I started racing go karts at the Edgecumbe & Te Puke tracks, but was well overweight so I sat at the back most of the time fine tuning my own skills I guess before buying my first rally car at 15.  It was a Subaru Leone I picked up for $3,000.00 (score!!), and I entered a few small targa rallys – aka a tarmac event.

What was your first road car?
It was a Ford Escort panel van that I brought for $500.00 and put some old gravel tyres on it that I found in my old man’s shed, and some dirty old house speakers. I was then ready to hit the streets.

How do you afford to rally and what help do you get?
Well, for most of my life whatever I was getting paid would just get put into the car.  You might as well say I lived off the land most of the time (not quite).  Also in the early days, my dad and I would share drive, splitting costs in half.  Nowadays, I still throw my paypacket at it, but I guess two or three entries are paid for by a year.  Hirepool has kindly looked after me with trailers, but one of the biggest helps for me is my co driver Kane Mallasch.  He owns an automotive shop in Whakatane called Kane’s Auto Repairs, and he pretty much makes sure we are good to hit the road.  Who knows where I would be without his help?  I’m very grateful.

How would you introduce motorsport to someone keen?
I’d say join your local car club, sit a club or national licence, and buy a $1,000.00 car – or borrow your mum’s!  A helmet and some workman overalls will do, and get to your next event that doesn’t need a cage.  With Grasskhana hill climbs, you get the bug like us all, and you find out where you want to head .

What is your favourite event/stage?
For me, the Daybreaker Rally was amazing in the way of roads.  They seemed to keep me on my toes and smiling from ear to ear, and as for the beautiful views – wow!  Although, we didn’t get too much time to check them out.

What is your personal best result?
Getting fourth equal overall on a superstage in the Hawkes Bay Rally was a huge buzz for me.  I never thought that would happen.  Also, getting second in class in the Daybreaker Rally.

Will the car look different for 2014?
Yess!!  I’m very excited.  AWS Graphics have designed a new look.  You can see below that it’s very bright, to help spread the name of the Pink Plumbing Shop around the country.

What are your goals for 2014?
To do the five rounds of the Rally Xtreme Series, and to learn pace notes and car set up.  But all in all, to have fun and meet people who are into the same thing I love, which is rally life!

What are your future goals?
Ultimately, I am aiming to buy a newer Evo and have a go at the NZ Rally Championship.  This may be still a while away yet as they are amazing drivers.  I guess that’s why I want to be in that class someday.

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