He’s 87 Years Old But Rally Legend Gerry Crown Has Just Signed Up For The Round The World Endurance Rally
For 87-year-old marathon rally legend Gerry Crown, winning the mammoth Peking to Paris rally recently, and for the third time, clearly is not enough. As the remarkable Australian, who likely has driven more of these grueling motoring marathons than anyone else on Earth, is now going to take on the ultimate circumnavigation challenge, Rally the Globe’s eponymous Round the World rally.
Crown is fresh from his 36 days and 8500 miles across mountains and deserts in Asia and Western Europe to complete his Peking to Paris treble, driving his 1974 Rover V8-engined Leyland P76. Now he’s facing the life-defining Round the World challenge, which sets out from the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, London on May 23 next year. Three separate legs later it returns to the same spot on June 19 2021 after—with a nod to Phileas Fogg—80 days of epic endurance motoring over 35,000km and more than 100 speed and navigational tests through four continents in vintage and classic cars.
Crown in his early days rallied in Australia, attracting factory support from Renault. He then quit to focus on running one of Australia’s best-known toys and games companies—Crown & Andrews—which he co-founded. More recently however Crown turned his attention back to motorsport and has built a global reputation as the undisputed king of grueling endurance rallies—and he’ll be putting his reputation further to the test on Round the World.
“To have this opportunity to rally around the world in an event which has not been attempted for 20 years is too good to resist,” enthused Crown. “Luckily I’m blessed with good genes—my father was 96 when he passed away and my mother 99. While the main appeal is always the wonderful camaraderie of rallying with old friends, we will certainly be trying hard to win it, but there will be some stiff opposition.”
And as was also the case in his recent Peking to Paris adventure, Crown will be co-driven by his fellow-countryman Matt Bryson—a man who Crown calls “the best” and who also prepares Crown’s cars, including all three of his victorious machines. As well as winning the recent Peking to Paris, the pair’s Leyland P76 also took them to victory in the 2013 event, while three years previous to that the duo scored their first victory, this time in the 1964 Holden EH in which Crown and Bryson’s father John had first contested the event back in 1997 and, indeed, won their class. And Crown plans to use both uniquely-Australian cars, the P76 and the Holden, in the forthcoming Round the World rally.
“Both cars are well suited to the rough terrains that we can expect,” Crown predicted. “The P76 is more powerful but, maybe, we’ll use the Holden for the second leg across North America.” And Crown is particularly intrigued by the event’s opening leg from London to Casablanca. “I have never been to Morocco,” Crown continued, “so I’m really looking forward to that section.” Crown reckons though the marathon third leg from Vladivostok back to London will be the toughest. “Driving in Russia is always hard work,” he added. “Things will inevitably go wrong, it is just when and how you deal with them.”
Entries to the event also include Graham and Marina Goodwin, who won the pre-war class in the latest Peking to Paris in their twenties Bentley, and another husband and wife team, Alan and Tina Beardshaw, who took top honors on Rally the Globe’s recent Carrera Iberia in an Aston Martin DB5.
Images courtesy of Rally the Globe