[Ed Note: This article features APRC veteran and long time supporter Brian Green. ‘Greenie’ finished 4th in the 2007 APRC with a 2nd place in China and 3rd in Malaysia.]
A blown clutch, punctures, muddy roads, a large rat in his Chinese hotel room – Brian Green has had it all this year.
As the veteran rally driver contemplates one of his best years on the world rally circuit, he is already making preparations for the next one. A Ford Focus world championship car has been jacked up to race in April’s Asia-Pacific Rally, and co- driver Fleur Pederson, 30, will again be on hand to navigate.
Slowing down isn’t part of the plan, and the fast-talking 60-year- old says rallying is a great way to mix business with pleasure. The Palmerston North property developer has met all kinds of influential businessmen on the world circuit and credits motorsport for several large deals. Two recent opportunities in China, a development in Queensland, and connections with local company Linfox, all came through rallying.
Green first caught the rally bug back in 1969. He entered a race in the South Island with Robert Leicester and has never looked back. Green even tried his hand at organising one. In 1971, he and National MP Lockwood Smith joined forces to stage Palmerston North’s Silver Fern Rally – the largest in New Zealand.
Driving, though, is his passion.
Green loves the action, the adrenaline buzz, and the break from day-to-day life. “The bit that I really do enjoy is that I run a very big business, and the whole time no matter what you’re doing, you are always thinking about things that are on the go, and the phone is always ringing. I can get in that rally car with the phone turned off. By Sunday night I’m physically buggered – your arms are sore, your eyes are shot – but I’ve had two-and-a-half days of no telephone and I’m mentally totally relaxed.”
Green spends around one-in-three weekends away rallying, a third of the year, but he says the time out of the office doesn’t affect his work. “I work smartly and I’ve got very good staff who have been with me for a long time. Successful people, they make sure every minute they spend they’re getting somewhere.”
Green has also travelled the world through sport. This year he competed in the 75th Rally of Great Britain, and the week before, lined up at Rally Ireland in his Mitsubishi Evo 8. Green said he won’t be in a hurry to return to gloomy Britain though. He prefers racing in Asia where the roads aren’t as slick and the time difference is better suited to business phone calls back home.
“You won’t hear me ever complain about the heat and dust anymore; I’d far rather cope with that.” Green joked, in reference to the short daylight hours in Britain. In Wales, Green watched, with a tinge of sadness, a memorial ceremony for his friend and racing hero Colin McRae, who was killed in a helicopter accident in September.
Next year, Green will if anything be picking up the pace. He’ll start the year travelling to Queenstown to look at multi-million dollar property developments. Then he’ll be back in his car preparing for the Chinese championship and April’s Asia-Pacific Rally in New Caledonia.
“I’ve got a lot of friends that they think an exciting day is getting out of bed on a Saturday morning and doing the garden – I’d be bored stiff doing that.”