I didn't follow his career, but it is still sad hear of his death. I wish his family well.Subaru · 29/04/2003 20:38:12
New Zealand's best known and most loved rally driver 'Possum' Bourne has died.
Bourne had been suffering massive head injuries after a head-on crash while recceing for the Race to the Sky hillclimb in New Zealand on Good Friday. Doctors had removed him from life support earlier this week after advising his family that continuing the treatment was not in his best interests.
"It is with deep sadness that we announce Possum Bourne passed away peacefully at 12.58am (New Zealand time) on Wednesday, April 30, at Dunedin Hospital," read a statement released by his family.
Bourne was originally named Peter but earned his nickname when, as a teenager, he rolled his mother’s car while trying to avoid a possum. He took up rallying in 1979 and went on to become the country's sole professional rally driver, collecting three Asia-Pacific titles and seven consecutive Australian Rally Championships.
His success, however, did not come without a cost. In 1993 Bourne’s co-driver Rodger Freeth died when the pair crashed during Rally Australia.
This season Bourne had planned to contest the Production Car World Rally Championship in a Group N Subaru Impreza. In his long association with Subaru, the New Zealander was a great ambassador for the manufacturer and indeed the sport.
He will be sadly missed.
Possum is survived by his wife Peggy and his three children.