Bruce passed away in Warwick hospital on September 30, age 89.
Hodgson’s rally career started in a Ford Escort sponsored by De Bortolis wines. Bruce was a personal friend of the wine company’s founder Deen De Bortoli, both men living in Griffith in NSW.
Bruce and co-driver Doug Rutherford finished sixth in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon in a Ford Falcon, helping the Ford Australia Falcon team win the teams’ prize.
In 1971 he took a Ford Escort to New Zealand and won the International Heatway Rally with co-driver Mike Mitchell. They were the first non-Kiwis to win the event.
Hodgson was the only driver to drive the fabled Ford Falcon GTHO Phase Four (of which only four were ever built) in competition, contesting the Alpine Rally in 1973.
Bruce Hodgson driving an Escort RS1600 in the Southern Cross Rally.
Bruce would often combine his love of rally company with his long-distance driving ability.
On a Friday night he would ring the Light Car Club from Griffith to enquire whether any of his rally friends were there. If the answer was yes, he would jump into his Falcon and arrive three hours later, not bad for a 460km drive.
He would have a few drinks with the boys and then drive home again, thinking nothing of it.
His quirky sense of humour and friendly nature made him popular with his fellow competitors.
Unfortunately, his later life was very uncomfortable; he lost all of his possessions in a house fire on the Gold Coast, and battled with several forms of cancer.
Bruce Hodgson competing in a Ford Falcon during the Calder Rallyscross series. Photo: Ian Smith
Despite his problems, he retained his wicked sense of humour until the end.
Bruce mentored Queensland rally star rally star Clay Badenoch, and in return Clay helped make Bruce comfortable in his last years.
A tough, likeable man who will be sorely missed by his many friends in the rally world.
Bruce Hodgson / Anne Heaney, 1977 Castrol International Rally.
Hoddo and his Escort in the 1975 Alpine Rally. Photo: Ian Smith
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