Possum Bourne’s Subaru Rally Team Australia team-mates today paid heartfelt tributes to their team leader.
Possum’s co-driver Mark Stacey said: “Words can’t explain how I feel about losing Possum. An absolutely brilliant driver and a fantastic friend and mentor. “Last weekend the Subaru Rally Team Australia showed incredible strength of character by successfully competing in the face of this tragedy. I am so very proud to work with these wonderful people.
“Yes we have lost our Possum, but we, as part of rallying, must not lose his incredible motivation and enthusiasm.
“Possum’s love for the sport was only outweighed by his love for Peggy, Taylor, Jazlin and Spencer, and I know that his amazing spirit lives on in them. “We spent literally hundreds of days doing thousands of k’s in a car each year, and on every single one of those days, no matter what time zone or where we were in the world, Poss would talk to each of the kids and the last thing he always said was, “don’t forget your daddy loves you.”
SRTA driver Cody Crocker said: “It’s easy to understand why our team is so successful when you looked at Possum. “He created the team and is the reason why we have had the huge level of success we’ve experienced, including last weekend in Canberra.
“Ever since we met him at the Rally of Melbourne in 1997, he’s been an inspiration. Greg (Foletta) and I always remember him leaning in the window of the car in that casual way of his and asking how we were going. We were amazed that he had the time to bother.
“Possum is undoubtedly the reason why we are the most successful rally team in Australia. “He had such a big heart and the dedication he showed in both mentoring us and being there for us and guiding us was absolutely amazing.
“As a driver, you can’t go past the amount of experience he had and his ability to come out on top or get back on top when the going got tough. He had an incredible ability to never give up and it’s an invaluable lesson he taught us.”
Greg Foletta, Cody’s co-driver, said: “Possum just put so much effort into helping us. “When I started in rallying he was a hero. We were just like any average people off the streets and rallying was a bit of a hobby. We thought Possum was untouchable and the fact he even acknowledged us was a huge shock.
“Every time he spoke to me I was in awe, even after I joined the team. He was so big in the sport. “Of course, we came to know Possum the person – albeit a very different person to most of us, with so much drive and ambition.
“The average person probably grows up thinking that someone larger than life like Possum is inaccessible. But one of the great things I found about being involved with him is that he was just like the rest of us. He was accessible and proactive in giving people a chance. He gave time to others and gave advice freely.
“Possum could take really complex problems and break them down very simply into defined, easy to comprehend solutions – little steps to make a significant achievement. That’s been his strength and support to us.
“He took a lot of time and effort to teach us, as he did with many people. I learned to really listen to him because if you put it into practice, it reaped rewards. His methods have certainly helped me grow and I have an extraordinary amount of respect for him.
“The two rallies we did with Possum this year were fantastic and New Zealand was one of the first times I felt I could talk to him on the same professional level.
“Cody and I have also been privileged to be virtually adopted into the extended Bourne family and they have helped us in countless ways to do the right thing by the team.”
SRTA driver Dean Herridge said: “Possum has had a huge influence on my career and it is a very strange feeling to know that he is no longer with us. “There are so many things that I have been able to learn from Possum over the years. He had such passion for the sport that I love, and a fighting spirit like no one else.
“One particular thing will always stick with me for the rest of my career and that is the Possum attitude to never give up and always keep fighting to the end, something that Possum continued to do in this last stage of his life.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to be a team-mate to one of the true legends of our sport and he will be sadly missed. “All my love and thoughts are with Peggy, Spencer, Taylor, Jazlin and all of Possum’s family.”
Dean’s co-driver, Glenn Macneall, said: “There is so much to say about a man who really was larger than life. It is hard to believe that someone who was so strong has been taken from us all. He was one of those amazing people that never seemed to give up and always came out on top, when things got tough Possum seemed to just dig deeper and come out fighting.
“His sheer enthusiasm was infectious. I think that is what made him and his whole team so successful. His love for what he did was always apparent and second place was never an option.
“To Peggy and his family: take strength at this difficult time from the man that Possum was. He brought happiness to so many people around the world who watched him compete and talk about the sport he loved.
“Possum was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to us all. His smile and his love for what he did will remain in the hearts of everyone and he will be remembered always. He was a true champion, the people’s champion. What more is there to say, the man was a true legend. Possum you were absolutely ‘Spot ON’.”
Source: Subaru Australia