Muscle Man: George Fury
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.