A motor accident in Kenya has claimed the life of Geraint (Gerry) Phillips, rallies correspondent of MOTOR SPORT from 1966 to 1995, at the age of 61. Gerry was born in Glamorgan, and joined the local police force after his National Service in the RAF.
An active rally co-driver, he joined MOTOR SPORT as Assistant Editor in 1965, moving along the corridor to Motoring News as Rallies Editor, writing under the title Verglas. In fact he was Verglas 5, following Stuart Turner who had established the Motoring News Rally Championship five years earlier.
The championship flourished in Gerry Phillips’ care, in an era when road rallying based on navigational skills was still an acceptable pastime, but Phillips grasped his opportunities to go international with such well-known drivers as Ove Andersson (with Alpine-Renault, and Toyota) and Shekar Mehta.
A Welsh speaker, Phillips developed a radio and television broadcasting career in tandem with his writing, and his career took a new turn when he developed a deep love of the African continent. The Safari Rally became the most important event on his calendar, and Phillips was invited to assist the organisation. He also became so enthralled with the helicopter support that he qualified as a pilot, producing Rotor Torque, the magazine of the Helicopter Club of GB, in his spare time.
Gerry relinquished his Verglas title in 1980, but continued to contribute to MOTOR SPORT for another 15 years. He was by no means a team player, and often infuriated editors with his independent lines, yet he was the warmest of friends and at the centre of every celebration. It was typical that he should have gone to Kenya to attend the funeral of a friend when he met with his fatal accident.
“We did the RAC Rallies together each year between 1970 and 1973,” says Ove Andersson. “I relied on Gerry a lot, and he was a good co-driver. I maintained a good relationship with him over the years, and considered him one of my very best friends. We always had the time for a nice conversation and a good laugh.”
MOTOR SPORT extends its deep sympathy to Susan, his former wife, his adult children Alun and Jane, and his grandchildren.