Greg Rust: “. . . there’s no reason you can’t be successful if you change direction.”
Hi, everyone! I’m excited to share my latest interview post, with Australian motorsport broadcaster and journalist, the multi-talented Greg Rust. While I’ve filled in some background information, I wanted to let Greg’s comments be the centre of this article – they are wise words…enjoy!
Greg, also known as ‘Rusty’, grew up surrounded by motorsport, frequenting the Sydney Showground Speedway as a child. However, despite his interest in the sport, pursuing motorsport media wasn’t Greg’s first career choice.
Much of Greg’s family had a business background, so Greg started up with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) after high school work experience with the company.
“The commentary more or less started as a moonlighting thing, I wasn’t initially going down the media path. So I’ve had two very significant careers. I often say to young kids they may possibly have three or more careers in their lifetime, and not to be afraid of that. If you sink your teeth into it and you work hard, there’s no reason you can’t be successful if you change direction.”
Though Greg hasn’t continued along the finance route, he made it clear that he thinks it had a purpose.
“There are things that you can use from that period of your life. Nothing like that is a waste.”
Greg said that despite prior worries, his father “could not have been more supportive” through his career switch. In the weeks since our chat, I’ve had his father’s advice in my mind.
“. . . he said to me, ‘If you’re passionate about it, give this thing a proper go. Give it at least two years, work hard. Even if that means you’re not making a lot of money to begin with. Don’t leave anything on the table. Don’t be 65 on the front porch wondering what could have been. Make sure you give it a real good crack.’”
While working at ANZ, Greg carried on with some driving, when he and a few friends bought a 1970s Mitsubishi Galant. They competed in rally sprints, developing the car themselves.
In his years working in motorsport media, Greg has had the opportunity to test cars in the Toyota Racing Series (now Formula Regional Oceania Championship), V8 Supercars, speedcars and more. Greg said that the lessons he learned about driving in these early years have made the difference in later experiences.
“. . .when there have been moments along the way where I’ve been entrusted with race cars. . . it’s enough to give you a real sense of what the race driver goes through. They are moments of great perspective. . . To be entrusted with that, just for a little bit, to get a little window into what life is like for them [drivers], I cherish those moments. I’ve been very, very lucky to do that.”
Whether it’s with F1, MotoGP, Supercars, or another form of motorsport, Greg’s at the forefront of the action – asking the right questions and giving fans the whole picture. In our conversation, Greg said he thinks of himself as a “conduit” of sorts.
“I am the connection between what I think people at home (or watching on their phones nowadays) are asking or wanting to know, and getting to the competitor, the team member and trying through conversation to get the answer to that out of them. That’s my job. If I can do that, that’s a box ticked for me.”
However, part of the job is the ability to read people – sensing the moment to get the desired storyline or angle.
“Some of that is about feel, you have to feel the situation, if it’s a bit tense, if they’re tight on time. Maybe it’s an immensely joyous moment and you want to let them rightfully have their moment and soak that up. It’s not up to me to spoil that because I’m chasing the interview. I have to find the right time to do that. Similarly, it can be a very emotional moment for some reason as well, and you have to give them a little bit of space but find the right time to talk to them for the audience. . . I love that about my job.”
From Australia with MotoGP and Supercars to the UK to San Marino, Greg’s seen support for motorsport worldwide. I asked what the experience has been like to travel and witness the fanbase internationally.
“A bit surreal some of that stuff. To think that you’ve been to the British Grand Prix or you’ve been to Le Mans, that’s the stuff as a kid I dreamed of. Dreamed of just going to those things and being a spectator, let alone working as a broadcaster. . .”
“ . . . I can recall being with Troy Bayliss and Daryl Beattie at San Marino – the Valentino Rossi fans just -. And then you go to dinner at a little Italian restaurant on the Rimini coast there. Just a huge turnout of people and bikes. I have a very good memory retention for a lot of those things, they’re like films still in my mind even now.”
One of Greg’s latest ventures in motorsport has been his well-loved podcast, ‘Rusty’s Garage’. Interviewing some impeccable talents in this sport, Greg has now surpassed over 100 episodes. The content on the podcast is true to Greg’s presence in media – the conversations are relaxed, composed, and genuine.
“I get such joy from it. It’s been a very, very cool thing at this age and stage of my life. . . to think that that will keep these conversations preserved for goodness knows how long, and someone will be able to find it in a lot of years time. I think that’s super important.”
“. . . at the end of the day, it is sport and to cover it for a job and to have done it for twenty-odd years is something I count myself very lucky for.”
Huge thank you to Greg, for sparing some time in his busy schedule to speak to me. It was a real pleasure to (virtually) meet you. I’m so appreciative of the advice you’ve given me and the stories you shared.
Thanks to everyone for reading! Be sure to stay tuned for an interview with Supercars commentator Chad Neylon and the traditional ‘Top 5 Moments of the F1 Season’ article after Abu Dhabi!
Full video interview to follow soon.
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Cover Image Credit: networkcafe.com.au