A local Albury boy who has made a global career from rallying, Philip Rodgers, will follow previous patrons; George Fury, Geoff Portman, Jeff Beaumont, Bruce Garland and Kate Officer, in filling this unique but some might say somewhat dubious role at Mitta this year.
Why have a patron at a rally, you may well ask? The organisers of the Mitta Mountain Rally thought that having an event patron that was a respected elder of the sport would provide a great link between contemporary competitors at the state championship level and older crews and their cars in the Mitta Masters. Philip has not made a name for himself as a competitor, but has carved a niche as a “team coordinator” that not only looks after event and team logistics but oversees car set up and driver development.
Phil grew up on a farm north of Albury, then went off to Sydney Uni to do engineering, and joined the University car club. He spent all his meagre earnings rallying a Datsun 1600, as all aspiring young drivers did back then. He did finish as high as 5th outright in the 1979 Alpine Rally.
He spent a year teaching in Japan and came home with a Japanese wife and language skills that made him useful to Japanese teams that came here on masse in the 70s to compete in Southern Cross Rallies.
He forged a relationship with one of those Japanese drivers, Nobuhiro Tajima, which saw him involved with Tajima and Suzuki in WRC and APRC events in the 90s, when he also linked up with WRC campaigns for the Japanese Sti Gp N Subaru team and Michael Guest in the Winfield World Rally Team in Hyundai.
In 2003 Phil became involved with Subaru’s Production WRC program with drivers, Possum Bourne and Toshi Arai. After Possum’s tragic death he managed Subaru Rally Team Australia while Cody Crocker won three national championships, which in 2006 turned into four APRC wins.
Since 2011 his business Captec Motorsport has worked with Hyundai on a range of projects including: suspension tuning, electric vehicles, press launches, Targa Tasmania, and the “N Performance” brand, often with Brendan Reeves as test driver.
Phil will be floating around at Mitta this year, so feel free to have a chat to him. He may have some useful advice as to how to make your car go faster, and as to how best to get one of those elusive sponsored drives.
He will also be interviewed at the post event presentation function about how he made a career out of travelling the world attending rallies and his thoughts on present day rallying before presenting trophies, including the Philip Rodgers Cup to the winners of the Mitta Masters.