WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
Sweden
Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Mon 28 Feb 2022

World RX’s ‘Young Dinosaurs’

Age is just a number, so the saying goes, and that is certainly true of David Cowan and Phillip Lynch. As Signtec Installations, they manage the sponsor and event signage around FIA World Rallycross Championship circuits to make sure all the branding looks right on-point. The pair have a combined age of almost 150, but is that slowing them down? Not a bit of it! This is their story...

Age is just a number, so the saying goes, and that is certainly true of David Cowan and Phillip Lynch. As Signtec Installations, they manage the sponsor and event signage around FIA World Rallycross Championship circuits to make sure all the branding looks right on-point. The pair have a combined age of almost 150, but is that slowing them down? Not a bit of it! This is their story...

“I was working as a bank manager but I got fed up in the role and left to set up an accountancy firm,” reveals David, now 78. “In the early 1980s, Phil was the sales manager for one of our major clients, a logistics brand, and the first time we met was when the boss of that client suggested we all go skiing together. We bonded over our mutual love of skiing.”

At this point, Phil chimes in to quip ‘It’s been downhill ever since!’ but it is evident that his close friendship and professional working relationship with David has more than stood the test of time over the intervening decades.

In 1991, the pair acquired premises in Bermondsey and set up an international courier company. The venture was very successful and afforded David and Phil the opportunity to pursue other interests, in particular organising skiing trips for groups in France, Canada and the USA.

David then joined Barrie Hinchcliffe Productions (BHP) as Production Manager, covering WRC and BRC rallies, the British Touring Car Championship and British Superbikes. The role included signage installation management for filming at McLaren-Honda Formula 1 tests, for which Phil was additionally brought in. One of the directors at those tests was a certain Steve Saint, whose SaintMedia company now produces the World RX live broadcast...

In 2004, they sold the courier company and Phil joined an established business as a management consultant, assisting start-ups and struggling organisations. Meanwhile, David was working with a Silverstone-based firm manufacturing and installing signage for European Athletics, motorsport events, rugby, football and many other areas.

Phil later joined him there and in 2014, he and David reunited with Saint, whose Artifexmedia company recruited them both to take care of the signage for a media preview day at Lydden Hill in the UK to launch the inaugural campaign of World RX. Before long, Signtec was part of the furniture at all World Championship rounds. An essential part, at that.

“Ahead of each event, we produce annotated plans to show the optimum placement for sponsor branding exposure, which we send to the promoter and TV director for feedback,” David explains. “We have forged a very good relationship with them and, of course, with the FIA officials, which is essential as our work is one of the things they look at during their pre-race track inspections.

“One of the reasons we are able to work so quickly and efficiently is the equipment we use. We build a lot of it ourselves – from trailers to trolleys –  and everything is purpose-produced to meet our needs. We have also developed the specialist knowledge to fabricate structures on-site where required.

“Experience has taught us the most efficient ways to attach signs to Armco barriers, concrete, tyre walls and even earth banks. I remember arriving at one event to find the circuit banking had been quite significantly modified on the exit of one of the corners compared to previous years, which meant we couldn’t put the signage up in the usual way. That obliged us to think on our feet and come up with an inventive solution – you never stop learning, even at our age.

“We are very driven to do the best job possible wherever we go. We enjoy working with like-minded people – that’s very important to us – and in World RX, that’s exactly what we’ve found. The work keeps us fit, and being fit enables us to keep working. I really like being a part of World RX and having this responsibility. We’ve been properly up against it on occasion, but we’ve always got the job done – and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

Both men have a shared passion for motorsport. David participated in rallying as a co-driver in a MKII Ford Escort in the early 1970s, while Phil fondly recalls carrying his father’s equipment when he was a publisher working in Formula 1.

At 71, he is the ‘spring chicken’ of the pair – although both are extremely active – and the way he speaks about World RX with a glint in his eye, it is clear that neither he nor David has any intention of easing off the gas pedal just yet...

“Through working together, we quickly became great friends,” Phil acknowledges. “Joining World RX offered us the opportunity to continue working in our advancing years, and while we are dinosaurs to some degree, we like to think we’re young dinosaurs!

“We are always looking for new ideas and ways to be more efficient in what we do, and our motivation is quite simply that we really enjoy the work. To be able to work in an industry that you love – it doesn’t get much better than that, does it...”