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LEEROY POULTER Driver
Leeroy Poulter, 34 on 6 March this year, has crammed an amazing 29 years of active motorsport experience into his life. His motorsport experience began on two wheels in age-group motocross championships in 1986.
He won his first national motocross championship in 1987, just his second year of competition, and went on to win another four championships in the following six years. He graduated to karting in 1994.
As with his career in motocross he quickly established himself as a dominant competitor in karting and won both regional and national karting championships in the 100 cc Stock class in 1996. Following this success, Leeroy was invited to join Opel Motorsport to drive a Corsa in the GP N Championship. The youngest competitor in the series, he finished third overall in the championship and was voted Rookie of the Year.
In 1998 parallel competition in GP N and karting saw Leeroy win regional and national championships in the 125 Promo Kart class and achieve second place in Class C of the Stannic Group N Championship. The following year, he moved up a class in Group N and came fourth. He also won both Regional and National Karting Championships, this time in the 125 cc GP class.
In 2000, Leeroy won his first GP N Championship in Class D. He contested the highly competitive Rotax Max World Karting Final in Puerto Rico in 2000 and came second overall. He repeated his GP N Championship win in Class D in 2001 and went on to win the 2002 Rotax Max National Karting Championship.
The 125 cc Rok National Karting Championship as well as a Regional Championship in the class was added to his karting successes in 2005 and he completed the year as runner up in the Rok World Karting Final held in Italy that year. The following year he won the Bridgestone Production Car Championship in a Nissan 350Z while still remaining active in karting.
Further success came in karting with the Rotax DD2 South African Championship in 2007 and the European and World Championships in this class in 2008.
In 2009, Leeroy added off-road racing to his CV and was placed fourth in Class E of the Production Vehicle category. For 2010, he moved across to the national rally championship to contest Class A6 in a Toyota RunX. Such was his success in the RunX that he was able to secure the class championship with two rounds remaining.
He then moved up to the top S2000 class in a Castrol Team Toyota Auris S2000 for the remaining two events in the 2010 national championship. He acquitted himself well with a ninth and a third place.
He enjoyed a memorable first full season in the top class in 2011 with Elvéne Coetzee, winning two rounds and several stages. At the end of the season, he had the distinction of being seeded number one among all the drivers.
He and Coetzee endured a frustrating 2012 season, starting with their car burning out on the opening rally. Despite not getting the results, Poulter was equal second with teammate Johnny Gemmell with 13 special stage victories.
In 2013, he and Coetzee campaigned the new Yaris rally car in Castrol colours and although they came close to winning at least two rounds, they had to settle for sixth in the championship and eight special stage wins.
Poulter also moved into the Toyota Hilux for Dakar duty in 2014, and together with experienced navigator Rob Howie, in his third Dakar Rally, impressed with 33rd place overall. The pair was back on Dakar in 2015, and again showed that they are capable of running on the same pace as the eventual race winners. Their overall finishing position improved from 33rd in 2014 to 16th in 2015.