Amy Hudson and Dylan Thomson share a special bond.
Amy became the youngest person to ever win a New Zealand Rally Championship alongside her partner and driver Thomson.
The 16-year-old Papanui High student and 22-year-old Auckland-born Thomson drove their 2005 Ford Fiesta ST150 to victory in the category two, two-wheel-drive championship.
They also won the Motorsport New Zealand two-wheel-drive title, as well as Thomson picking up the junior championship.
The pair started dating after much discussion about how it would affect them inside the car, making it public just before Rally Tauranga.
“We knew it could destroy what we have in the car,” Thomson said. “But if anything, it has made it slightly better because there is more trust. After we spent a bit of time together naturally we became best friends.”
Said Amy: “We get on quite well,” she laughed. “People said it might be difficult but we have worked together for about a year before that so it has worked out quite well.”
Thomson said in the car, the relationship disappears and it doesn’t interfere with what they are doing.
They won five out of the six rallies in the championship after they were ruled to have exceeded their maximum lateness allowance of 30min after coming off the road in the Ashley Forest in the Canterbury Rally.
“It was actually the second time we have not finished that rally after we hit a pretty big rock last year in the Ashley Forest,” she said.
Amy got into the sport when she was 12, the youngest age allowed to be inside a rally car under the current rules, after watching her parents Lisa and Rocky compete as co-drivers.
“I was in the car one week after my 12th birthday. I was just excited, I had wanted to do it for so long, and watching mum and dad having fun, I just wanted to join in,” she said.
From there she was hooked and a year later competed in her first rally as a co-driver for Les Summerfield in the Catlins Coast Rally, where they placed third.
Les is the father of Matt Summerfield, a 25-year-old driver from Rangiora who competes in New Zealand.
Amy met Thomson two years ago after her mother was approached to co-drive for him.
“I put my hand up and said I want to give it a go and we started driving together,” she said.
They finished third in the open class two-wheel-drive championship in their first year before claiming three titles together this year.
Looking to the future, Amy said she was unsure what they were going to do, continue in their current category or step up into the four-wheel-drive grade.
“We will be looking at our options,” she said.