Mus­cle Man: Ge­orge Fury

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

Fury by name... Nis­san’s for­mer rally ace who tamed the Blue­bird turbo on the tar.

Ge­orge Fury has rarely given in­ter­views, and has hardly been sighted since re­tir­ing from rac­ing in 1991, but he made an ex­cep­tion for vet­eran motorsport writer David Has­sall and AMC. And he has plenty to say about his in­cred­i­ble jour­ney from his trou­bled home coun­try to a star­ring role at Bathurst.

Ge­orge Fury re­ally was an enigma. A quiet and hum­ble farmer, he was nev­er­the­less con dent in his own abil­ity and can still sur­prise with a blis­ter­ing opin­ion. He’s been no­tably ab­sent from the motorsport scene for more than 25 years, but not through any sense of bit­ter­ness or dis­in­ter­est. In fact he re­mains a fan, watch­ing F1 and Su­per­cars races on TV from the re­mote prop­erty on the up­per Mur­ray he has called home al­most his en­tire adult life. He even has a race­car in his shed and anony­mously takes it to the oc­ca­sional Win­ton track­day.

With a name like Fury – that is his real name in­ci­den­tally, though it means noth­ing in Hun­gar­ian – he might seem an ob­vi­ous can­di­date for motorsport fame and glory, like Will Power, but he had to over­come a most un­likely up­bring­ing to nally make the big time. There are not many driv­ers who rst had to escape an up­ris­ing and po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.

Fury landed in Aus­tralia as a teenager and soon took a fancy to car rac­ing. He had no idea how to get into it, so started ral­ly­ing his hum­ble Ford Cortina road car. Within a few years he had a Dat­sun works drive and twice won the Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pi­onship and the Bathurst of the bush, the renowned South­ern Cross Rally.

Ral­ly­ing was mas­sive in the 1970s, but was on its knees by 1981 af­ter Ford and Mit­subishi with­drew. Fury could eas­ily have be­come a for­got­ten hero like Greg Carr or Ge­off Port­man, but when Dat­sun switched to cir­cuit rac­ing to pro­mote the name change to Nis­san, Fury was taken along for the ride. Sud­denly the cir­cuit racer within came to the fore.

Fury turned him­self into a top driver and his skill was never more ev­i­dent than at Mount Panorama, Aus­tralia’s tough­est race cir­cuit, driv­ing the sport’s most dif­fi­cult ma­chines, the nascent tur­bocharged tour­ing cars. He put a Blue­bird on pole there in 1984 and man­han­dled the early two-wheel-drive Sky­lines around the fear­some cir­cuit, but never made it onto the fa­mous podium. His best re­sult in the Bathurst 1000 was third in 1987, but hav­ing nished fth on the road he there­fore missed the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tions.

The ever-pop­u­lar farmer – or Fu­ri­ous Ge­orge as com­men­ta­tor Mike Ray­mond called him – also missed out on the ul­ti­mate prize in the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, but he won plenty of races and could eas­ily have won the ti­tle twice. Fury’s cir­cuit rac­ing ca­reer might have had a lot of what-ifs, but he loved ev­ery minute of it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.