Hayden Paddon and Emma Gilmour Showcase the Rally Lifestyle to MITO Apprentices

MITO apprentices Tori Stonehouse and Sam Rodgers with the Paddon Rallysport team at Rally Otago.

MITO apprentices Tori Stonehouse (Total Automotive 2017 Ltd) and Sam Rodgers (Ashburton Toyota) didn’t know what to expect when they were given the opportunity to join MITO Ambassadors Hayden Paddon and Emma Gilmour at Rally NZ Otago. Both still in their early 20s with only a few years of industry experience between them, joining an international title-winning team was sure to be something special.

Tori’s background is in automotive refinishing so much of the work was new to her. “Coming from a painting background, I learned a lot about the mechanical side of things. I didn’t know much about rallying before I went so everything was new, but the team was really welcoming and if you needed help with anything, they would show you. We took the wheels off the cars and checked the bolts and axles. I was on the left rear making sure everything in that area was tight and there were no chips.”

Tori was placed with Hayden Paddon’s team and Sam with Emma Gilmour’s.

The two were kept very busy, and the days were action-packed. Sam was also new to the rally environment and was impressed by how inviting the team was.

“It was my first rally, so seeing how that side of the automotive industry operated was cool. I worked on Emma's car with Mercedes Mulder (2022 MITO apprentice crew), doing spanner checks and checking wheels. Hayden and Emma were both very welcoming and the team was helpful in explaining things as we went.”

We asked Tori what her highlight of the weekend was. “Getting to be in that sort of environment. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and I learned a lot.”

Hayden placed first for the tenth time this year at Rally Otago, which Sam was thrilled to be a part of. “At the end when Hayden won, that was nuts!”

Emma also got an impressive fifth overall and was glad to have a keen learner on the team to help her get there. “It was awesome being able to share an authentic rally experience with Sam and Tori," she says. "They fitted in really well as part of the team and it was a pleasure to work with them.”

It was great to have Tori and Sam join our PRG team for the recent Rally Otago," says Hayden. "And boy did they get thrown in the deep end with it being one of our team's busiest events to date. But they soaked it all up and took it in their stride to become a key part of our team throughout what was a successful weekend. It was awesome to see them enjoying the experience and working so well within our group.

There are three more Rally NZ events coming up in 2023 where MITO apprentices will be joining Hayden and Emma’s crew.

Stay tuned on MITO’s Facebook and Instagram to see coverage of the action, and if you’re a MITO apprentice working in the automotive industry, apply to join their crew here.


The Paddon Rallysport team celebrating Hayden’s tenth win at Rally Otago.