Remembering Possum Bourne

Today marks the anniversary of the tragic death of Kiwi rallying legend Peter 'Possum' Bourne, killed in a road accident on April 30, 2003.

The affable New Zealander dominated Australian rallying during its late-1990s golden era, winning seven straight titles between 1996-2002, and has now been inducted into the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Every one of Bourne's titles came behind the wheel of a Subaru, for whom he drove for more than 15 years, beginning in a Subaru RX Turbo before moving through on to the Group A Legacy (Liberty in Australia) and Impreza, then on to his beloved Impreza World Rally Car before a regulation change forced him back to a Group N car in 2002. 

The above video comes from the 1992 Subaru team launch, where a brilliantly mustachioed and mulleted Bourne proudly shows off his new Prodrive-built Legacy RS, similar in spec to those driven in the World Championship by the likes of Colin McRae, Markku Alen and Ari Vatanen.

Following the local rule change, which outlawed the mega-dollar World Rally Cars of Bourne and Neal Bates, the New Zealander converted his Impreza WRC into a monstrous 450kW+ hillclimb car, winning Race To The Sky - the Kiwi equivalent of Pikes Peak - in 2001.

The car still competes today, winning the revived Race To The Sky race in 2016 with Alister McRae behind the wheel. Bourne is survived by his wife Peggy and children Taylor, Spencer and Jazlin. Bourne was a key influence on current Kiwi WRC star Hayden Paddon. 

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