The father of special stage rallying in Australia, Geoff Sykes, has passed away, a CAMS press release has announced.
Geoff will be forever remembered as the father of special stage rallying in Australia, bringing the first “European style” special stage rallies in Australia, the Don Capasco and then Castrol International rallies held in the forests surrounding Canberra.
Geoff passed on Friday morning, January 4, having succumbed to complications brought on by pneumonia, coupled to a fight against lung cancer. He died peacefully, with his family nearby.
A significant portion of Geoff’s life was consumed by motor sport, having been a past Chairman of the National Rally Committee, the Chairman of the South Australia State Council and representing CAMS at the FIA level with his membership of the FIA Volunteers Commission and several FIA Institute Officials Training Schools.
Ari Vatanen in action in the 1980 Southern Cross Rally, which Geoff Sykes organised. Photo: Chevron
Geoff was closely associated with the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide and Melbourne, having performed the role of Sector Marshal for 15 years, then turning his considerable talents to ensuring the health and safety of the trackside marshals at the Grand Prix and Adelaide 500 events.
Geoff will also be fondly remembered for his role in the 1980 Southern Cross International Rally, when CAMS asked him to take control and become the Event Director at short notice, a task which saw him live in the flat above the CAMS NSW Office for 6 months.
He successfully produced an event worthy of its international status, one which he performed with great honour and distinction, in harsh circumstances.
RallySport Magazine sends its condolences to Geoff's family and friends, and thank him for his contributions to Australian rallying.
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