Countless people in the classic rally world will want to join us in congratulating Heidi Winterbourne following her announcement that she intends to retire from the rally business to pursue a life of married bliss.
Heidi has been a pivotal figure in classic rallying for more than 20 years. It was in May 1996 that she joined the Classic Rally Association (CRA), then headed by Philip Young and Peter Browning. Following Peter’s departure, she immediately took over all aspects of CRA event logistics, hotels, sales, team training and office management, leaving Philip free to concentrate on promotion. Following the huge success of the first Peking to Paris Motor Challenge in 1997, Heidi restructured the business. Over the next 16 years, she and Philip ran groundbreaking events for an ever-increasing number of enthusiasts, founding and co-owning the Endurance Rally Association (ERA), Endurance Rallying Ltd and the Peking to Paris Rally Association Ltd. While Philip was the sport’s acknowledged figurehead, Heidi was the driving force behind the organisation. As Event Director she personally organised more than 40 major international rallies in 65 countries, including the Classic Safari, Lombard Revival, World Cup, Classic Cup, Classic Marathon, Rally of the Tests, Monte Carlo Challenge, London to Istanbul, Around the World in 80 Days, Nile Trial, Dash to Marrakesh, Trans-America Challenge, Flying Scotsman and Peking-Paris. She was also an enthusiastic competitor, taking part in the Rome-Liege-Rome, Tour Britannia and Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, which as a driver she completed three times.
By August 2012 Heidi felt she needed a break. Having made all necessary preparations to ensure the success of future ERA events, she sold all her interests in the organisation to Philip, terminating their professional and personal relationship, and took some time out to recharge her batteries. Having returned to the fray as a competitor on our 2013 Paris-Madrid and 2014 Road to Mandalay rallies, she joined the Rally Round team in May 2015, convinced that our philosophy – combining exciting competition with time to socialise and explore a country at leisure – was the right way forward for vintage and classic rallying.
As Rally Co-ordinator she made an enormous contribution to Rally Round’s ongoing success, and although her irrepressible presence will be greatly missed she has surely earned the right to a quieter life with her family. Liz, Kim, Nikki, Dr John and the rest of the Rally Round team wish her the very best of luck, good health and all the happiness she deserves.