Motorsport Australia is saddened to hear of the passing of Australian rally legend, Geoffrey Ian Portman.
An extremely popular figure in the Australian rally community, Geoffrey was a highly successful and well-respected competitor who spent almost 40 years behind the wheel.
Born in 1954, Geoffrey got his first taste of rallying at the Victorian School of Forestry in Creswick when he was 20-years-old when in Victoria and impressed right from the get-go.
As a result of his skill, he was encouraged to enter the Highlander Trail, which he did alongside Ross Runnalls – the duo taking out the win on their first attempt.
Just four years later and behind the wheel of the contemporary Datsun 1600 that had seen him notch up plenty of victories, Geoffrey secured the finest victory of his career at the time with top honours in the 1978 Alpine Rally.
Having conquered the Victorian scene and securing a seat as the Datsun Rally Team drive, it wasn’t long before he was at the top of the national game, winning consecutive Australian Rally Championship titles in 1981 and 1982.
Throughout his 36-year career that ended in 2012, Geoffrey would go on to win a further five Alpine Rallies and was successful in every type of rally, including sprint events, long distance rallies, endurance rallies and off road events, as well as events in both Australia and abroad.
Never one to hog the limelight, following every victory or successful outing, Geoffrey would always pay tribute to his supporters and those who were pivotal for his success, highlighting the sport’s team elements.
In 2012 in what his final performances behind the wheel at 55-years-old, Geoffrey picked up consecutive top five finishes at New Zealand’s Otago and Silver Fern rallies piloting his own Escort RS1800 – proving he still had it the skill and quality that saw him win so much in a fruitful career.
In 2013, Geoffrey was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer and battled for almost eight years, eventually succumbing to the disease on Tuesday 20 April.
Geoffrey is survived by his wife of 44 years, Lisa and their two children Nicholas and Jamie, four grandchildren and his siblings Anne and Mark.