Shapley was taking a year off from the rally scene to be a Dad as a new arrival of a beautiful baby boy named Matthew , but due to covid 19 it seemed the whole rally scene would grind to halt.
When Shapley caught wind of a rally based out of Whakatane (Home town) he knew it was time to dust the race suit off and prep the car, he also ended up on the rally committee to help organize the event. This event should be a awesome he said.
With Sam Byrne moving from co driver to driver of his own lancer rally car it would see Jono Shapley looking for a new person to sit shotgun and call notes for the remaining 2020 and the full New Zealand Championship in 2021
After consideration of Jonos self goals and a coffee date Shapley had found the perfect companion to keep him on track.
And is proud to announce one of the elite co drivers Crunch Bennett, his experience will be of great help to Jono on and off the rally stages.
Crunch has won numerous rounds and titles of the NZRC in his 38 years of rallying and has competed Internationally in Asia and USA where in 1998 he placed 2nd overall with Geof Argyle in the International Rally of USA. That same year he won the Woolf-Whittaker Trophy with Argyle as the leading NZers on the WRC Rally of NZ. Also from that year Crunch started his 20 year stint serving on the Board of MotorSport NZ where one of his areas of expertise was the future of Rallying in NZ.
He was instrumental with Neil Allport in introducing the Stage Note system into NZ Rallying and also in running the first ever MSNZ sanctioned Rally Co-Drivers Academy in Wellington in the early 2000’s. During the time he was also rarely out of a rally car. He spent his competition years mentoring young competitors (race and rally) who became future NZ Rally Champions and NZRC round winners. Notwithstanding one of his circuit competitors suceeding as a V* Champion as well. Crunch was bestowed the MSNZ Award of Merit by MotorSport NZ for his services to the sport. When approached with this opportunity with Jono, his recent long recovery from injuries suffered in a rally crash nearly 18 months ago, was cast to the back of his mind. “Any opportunity to help a rising talent in our demanding and a lot of the times, unforgiving sport; is one I enjoy. I know I can help from inside the car, I know how a relaxed relationship inside a “pressure-cooker” helps with the results and I am lucky enough to know what it feels like to achieve success as a team in such a demanding sport”.
The pair are looking forward to their first event on the 18th of October in the Driven Rally Bay of Plenty.
Media release by Rallylife Motorsport