Driving on dirt in a beat-up Saab?

It's good fun for this CEO

2 November 2022

Mark Horwood is managing director of Captivate Connect, a telecommunications technology company. He lives in Perth.

When did you start rallying and why?

Having been brought up on a farm, I started driving old cars and motorbikes around the property when I was 14. One afternoon, a car salesman who was friends with my father came to our place with a brand new Ford Falcon automatic that he assured us could never be bogged”. I challenged that theory and won the bet – eight times.

How hard was it to get a rallying licence?

In those days, getting a CAMS [Confederation of Australian Motorsport] licence was easy. Things have changed: now you need to know how to drive – well.

Your view on rallycross?

What I love most in rallying is the element of surprise – an animal appears on the road, a creek crossing that was 20 centimetres deep yesterday is 60cm today, the surface of a road has rutted. Rallying requires 100 per cent concentration, a lot of skill and a modicum of luck.

What marques of rally car do you drive?

When I started driving competitively, I had a Mini Cooper S. After the Mini, I bought a Mitsubishi Galant. This was far more comfortable and quite fast but not as solid. Today, I drive old Saab 9-5 sedans. They are front-wheel drive and have strong bodies with a solid built-in cage.

Do you rally with a sponsored team?
My own company, Captivate Connect, is my most regular sponsor. It pays all the bills. Other sponsors come and go.
Do you have a permanent co-driver?

My co-drivers change from event to event. Some are highly skilled drivers, some are great fundraisers, and some are good fun. Over the last five years, the rallying has had the sole purpose of raising funds and awareness for charities in need of support. 

What class do you compete in, where and how often?

I competed in the Rally WA Championships in my younger days.
Nowadays, I compete in charity fundraisers. In August, I did the Convent Run to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. In October, I competed in the BulldustNBack Trial, which raises money for a number of charities including Global Hand Charity Inc, which I co-founded in 2009. The 2022 event looks to be on track to raise $100,000 from the 19 entrants.