Philip Young, Founder and Rally Director
The Endurance Rally Association is deeply saddened to announce that Philip Young, Rally Director and founder of the ERA has died following complications arising from a motorcycle accident in Burma. He was 67 years old.
A prolific ambassador of the historic rally movement, Philip was a larger-than-life character who pushed motorsport boundaries, organising marathon and endurance rallies all over the globe. A founder of the Historic Rally Car Register, Philip set a world record for driving from Cape Town to London in ten-and-a-half days, and is best known for one of his greatest achievements – the revival of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, one of the world’s most epic motoring adventures. His final milestone was gaining permission for 70 rally competitors to be the first to cross the land border from Thailand into Burma.
Philip died in hospital in Bangkok on Wednesday 11th March. Details of a memorial service will be offered in due course.
For further information and images of Philip Young, please contact:
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The organisers of The Historic Marathon Rally Show are indebted to the late Philip Young and the Endurance Rally Association for their generous support and sponsorship of this event.
We should all be grateful to visionaries who overcome challenges that would see most people running for cover, and whose beliefs go on to make a real difference. When Philip Young was in his twenties, he fell passionately in love with motoring adventure, taking his little Magenta kit car on the 1977 London to Sydney Marathon and getting involved in all kinds of mischief and merriment not only then but in the following few years.
They proved to be the springboard for much bigger things, and today the Endurance Rally Association still paves the way for pioneering adventure and the pushing of boundaries, often quite literally.
Back in 1987, Pirelli executives were inspired by Philip’s enthusiasm and were persuaded to support his plans for a classic car rally from London’s Tower Bridge to Cortina in the Italian Dolomites and back. The event was name The Pirelli Classic Marathon. From the press-launch in the Whitbread rooms at the Barbican in the centre of London the announcement of the first-ever international rally for classic cars was reported in The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Financial Times and the Daily Mirror. The press reception was attended by several former international works drivers who all said to each other “I’m sure I’m to old for all this…” while quietly plotting on where to borrow a car.
The 1988 Pirelli Classic Marathon was filmed by the BBC, whose documentary “The Great Chase” attracted a British audience of 6.2 million. Historic Rallying had arrived thanks to Philip’s vision, Pirelli’s support and the BBC’s rocket in the sky.
To complement the Classic Marathon, held each summer, came another ERA initiative, the Monte Carlo Challenge, reviving the tradition of winter rallying and establishing a highly authentic event, with crews in period dress such as duffle coats, and navigating from maps. From the first event in Glasgow in 1990 where Sir David Steel and former BBC commentator Raymond Baxter manned the Time Controls, some ten years later 234 cars were taking part.
The ERA has gone on to create events such as the Rally of the Tests, reviving the original 1950’s traditions of the RAC Rally and taking entrants from Scarborough to Brighton on a marathon route. Tower Bridge once again provided the backdrop for the start of the longest rally ever organised, Around the World in 80 Days when in 2000, cars and crew drove overland to China, catching a special air-lift to Alaska, driving across Canada and America to New York, flying to Morocco and then driving back to London’s Tower Bridge.
There are many, many other events past and present that Philip and his team continue to organise and run, including the famous Peking-Paris of 1997, the first-ever rally to cross Tibet and open up the Friendship Bridge into Nepal.
We of The Historic Marathon Rally Show organising committee would like to pay tribute to Philip and thank the ERA for continuing to sponsor our event, and we hope that this particular endeavour bridges the years that have passed by reuniting drivers, crew and team personnel with their cars and with people whose friendship through shared passion and enthusiasm set the stage for what today has become the most wonderful world of Historic Rallying.
For further information, visit www.endurorally.com