PROFILE: GLYN HALL
Glyn Hall’s motor sport career started in the UK after he joined Chrysler UK as a student apprentice in 1975. He progressed through many departments in the company during his training, but it was the competitions department headed up by Des O’Dell (who was on the design team for the iconic Ford GT 40) that captured his imagination the most.
He joined the competitions department on completion of his training and enjoyed what he describes as “three great years”. This period enabled him to meet many influential people in his life such as Tony Pond, Henri Toivonen and Jean Todt, to name but a few, as well as to be involved in the prototype Lotus Sunbeam rally car.
Hall blossomed in South Africa, a country the quiet Briton, 54 on 12 September 2011, adopted in 1980 when he came here as a 22-year-old to work for Geoff Mortimer Motorsport. Tony Pond was driving for Mortimer at the time as well as his European commitments.
Today, he can look back on a distinguished contribution to the history of motor sport in South Africa and a career full of achievements which have placed him at the very forefront of motor sport management in this country.
In 1990 Hall established his own company, Hallspeed, to run the VW Dealer team in national championship rallies.
He and navigator Martin Botha caused something of a shock in the 1990 national rally championship when they won overall in a class B VW Golf GTi, beating the factory-entered four-wheel-drive class A cars that included 1986 champions Hannes Grobler and Piet Swanepoel in a Nissan Sentra. They were second overall in the Castrol International Rally and were awarded Springbok colours.
Hall retired from rallying at the end of the 1992 season and joined Nissan Motorsport as engineer. He was appointed manager in 1993.
In 1996 Hallspeed effectively took over the management of Nissan Motorsport and Hall steered Nissan to a record 29 national championships between 1996 and 2009, including two production car drivers’ championships, four successive touring car drivers’ championships between 2007 and 2010 and nine consecutive off road drivers’ championships from 2001 to 2009.
The young drivers he employed and nurtured, who went on to become champions, include Giniel de Villiers (circuit and off road), Duncan Vos (off road) and Leeroy Poulter (circuit and rallying).
His achievements have twice been recognised by the Guild of Motoring Journalists (in 1999 and 2007) with the Colin Watling Award for outstanding contribution to motor sport by a non-competitor. In 2009 he received the South African Motorsport Industry Association Motorsport Business of the Year award on behalf of Nissan Motorsport.
Hallspeed took over the running of Toyota Motorsport in 2010 and is responsible for Toyota’s teams in the national rally and off road championships.
Hall and his company have enjoyed a decade-long successful involvement with the Dakar Rally and the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. Hallspeed has built more than 30 off road racing pickups, most of which have been sold to overseas customers and, in addition to winning numerous national and international races and several national championships in Russia, Europe and the Middle East, have performed with distinction in the Dakar Rally.
In 2012 four Toyota Hilux pickups designed and built by Hallspeed made history when they competed for the first time in the Dakar. Two were entered by the Imperial Toyota South Africa Team supported by Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group and crewed by 2009 Dakar winners Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz and Duncan Vos/Rob Howie. One was in the hands of Argentinian privateer Lucio Alvarez and the other was run by run by top Belgian Dakar team Overdrive for Argentine Orlando Terranova.
Hall and almost his entire team travelled to South America to look after the two South African Toyota Hilux entries, with Hall acting as team manager. They were all richly rewarded by the outstanding results. De Villiers finished third overall, Alvarez was sixth and Vos 11th. Terranova was forced to withdraw after his co-driver had to return home for personal reasons during the rally.
The domestic racing season sees Hall directing Toyota’s entry in the Absa Off Road Car Championship with two Toyota Hilux double cab pickups (for Vos/Howie and Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin) and in the national rally championship with two Toyota Auris cars (for Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan and Leeroy Poulter/Elvene Coetzee).