“A Dream Come True”. We often hear the term, but rarely does it occur, however last weekend, a dream truly became a reality for Joseph Fitton. Joseph has an intellectual disability and relies on the Endeavour Foundation for employment, skills training and day to day personal development.

Joe has been involved in Jamie Lawson’s “Straight On Rallysport” team for the past seven years. Mostly he would help service and clean the car at events and do whatever hands on duties he could manage. But on Saturday June 26th, he moved up the team ladder and got to compete in the rally car alongside Jamie.

A navigators role is to sit in the passenger side of the car, read a very complicated set of notes, follow the distance travelled on a trip meter all while travelling up to 160kph down a rough dusty track with the car flicking sideways on every turn. This is a great challenge to any able minded person.

Through careful planning and close consultation with the club organising the rally, (Northern Districts Sporting Car Club), we were able to get Joe in the Navigators seat and compete in an entire full on rally event. On the day prior to the rally, we were able to write a simplified version of the road book. One that Joe could comfortably handle. From an 11km competitive stage that entailed six pages of detailed notes, we transformed them into just six basic, largely written instructions.

Joe thoroughly enjoyed the day, as we knew he would. Joe’s good friend and Team Owner Jamie Lawson said: “I am very proud to say that Joe achieved far more than I thought he would, or gave him credit for prior to the rally. I wrote him a very simplistic book of notes, thinking if nothing else, it would entertain him and give him something to feel important about. Joe read every page at the right time and like every other navigator, he swore and got frustrated at himself when he missed a page and went off his notes. He picked up the control procedures straight away and always knew where we had to be and when we had to move. He remained focused and committed from start to finish.

The objective of the exercise was to immerse Joseph into the entire event and competition environment. So, apart from writing a specific road book for him and an extra arrow or 2 on the course for safety, we held nothing back. I drove as fast as I could, without biting off more than I could chew. Joe rose to the challenge, never got concerned or worried about the heat, pressure and high speeds in the car. He was glowing at the end of the day, and will be for some time. I am truly proud of Joe, and as I told him, he should be very proud of himself. I have never been so proud to own a rally car, and to have a wonderful family and group of friends around me to help make it happen”.

People involved in the sport of rallying are just the greatest. Everyone made an effort to say G’day and checked on how he was going. I was amazed at how everyone embraced what we were doing and supported Joseph 100%.

Leading into this event we figured it would be a one off, but we will definitely do it again. It was an amazing experience for us all, and a lovely touch of reality.


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