Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks
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Reflection on Terry Bain

I first met Terry, albeit briefly, in Perth in the late sixties, through rallying, and we renewed our

acquaintance in Canberra after I moved to Sydney in mid-1970.


From the beginning there was something ‘special’ between us, some feeling of mateship that lasted for the

next 30 years. We worked together on numerous rallies and his contribution, particularly in the difficult

area of scoring and production of results, was always with integrity, efficiency and great enthusiasm.


Having a professional statistical background Terry had an eye for methodology and accuracy, and in those

days before computers was the doyen of results managers for rallies. Even with the introduction of

computers to process data he was the best in developing scoring systems, for he worked on a variety of

events that required special and somewhat complicated systems.


In the early days we were rivals, so to speak, as I considered myself a bit of high flying scorer. But I must

concede that Terry was far, far better at it than myself – although I would never admit that to him directly,

always making up some excuse why I stuffed up. But he knew!!


Although we often met in Canberra when I was competing in rallies in the seventies, our close association

really started with developing a scoring system for the Southern Cross International Rally in 1977, after an

almighty system collapse in 1976 when we tried to use computers (far too early in time for these to be

effective, as they were big main frame computers in Melbourne!!).


This was followed by a gigantic effort by Terry when he practically scored on his own the 1979 Repco

Reliability Trial which was conducted over two weeks around Australia. It was, unquestionably, the

toughest of all such events conducted in the country. The starting field was some 165.


When the Wynns Safari, later Australian Safari, started in 1985, Terry was the first person I asked to take on

a senior role with the event, and his speciality to be the results system. During the event this meant

working most of the night in a tent pitched in the middle of nowhere in the outback between Sydney and

Darwin, with a generator to  give power for his computers and printers, as well as light so see by – although

he always wore his ‘miner’s lamp’. Often he and the team worked with torches, amidst the dust, flies, heat

of the late afternoon and then the cold of the night. It was in this environment he built up a team which

became very dedicated to him year after year after year.


It was also the time in which he started to display the sign he often wore which advised competitors that

‘All Bribes Must Be In Cash’!!

In 1986 he seconded computer wizard John Tiffen and together they developed a precise scoring and

results system – despite, at times, being at each other like a cat and dog!! I have wonderful memories of

those days, for accurate and quick results are so important for competitors, which became very evident in

later years in the nineties with Targa Tasmania!


I became involved with Targa Tasmania in 1993, with some 250 competitors and 40 special stages around

Tasmania in five days – and these were a recipe for a results disaster, as was proved that year.


I coaxed Terry to Tasmania in 1994 and 1995 to develop a results procedure, and although the theory held

up, the computing equipment, software and communication were not up to requirements and the results

problems continued – albeit better than in 1993! It wasn’t until 1998 that we overcame a majority of the

results problems.


In this time Terry and I often shared an apartment and we became quite close to each other.


In the late eighties/early nineties Terry was involved with the Fun Runs we conducted (‘Outback Tours’

through New South Wales over four/five days), this time as a Steward. His humour often came to the fore

under conditions in which great camaraderie was experienced. Fortunately, a couple of these tours were

recorded on video, so the memory of Terry lives on most vividly whenever I view them.


One such example of Terry’s dry humour was when we held a damper cooking contest at the overnight

camp at Whites Cliff. Terry, being the independent steward, was appointed the taster and judge of the

most eatable damper (not ALL were eatable – and one didn’t even get to the mouth as it exploded in the

earth oven – with a BIG bang too!). When all were ready Terrance did the rounds and dutifully tasted all the

offerings and didn’t give anything away as to his feelings (taste?) on the presentations. He survived and

announced that, subject to be still being ALIVE in the morning, he would announce the results at

breakfast!! To my recollection Moira Lockhart (of Wynn’s Safari Peter Lockhart fame) was pronounced the

winner, much to her surprise.


In 1995 Terrance came forward to be involved with the Mobil 1 Round Australia Trial, this time to assist

with the administration of the event and, as usual, his contribution was invaluable. He was based in

Melbourne during the three week Trial and acted as the anchorman, available 24 hours a day.


There were many other major events Terry was involved with. These included the Castrol International

Rally based in Canberra in the seventies and eighties, events in the Australian Rally Championship and State

Championship events. Club events were also a large part of his legacy to car rallying scoring and the

production of results.


Terry’s sense of humour was acute and to the point. His companionship was comfortable and enjoyable

and it was always a pleasure to be with Terry, despite the odd tantrum, and I always looked forward to

catching up with him.


In the early days the damn eternal microphone to record conversations always popped up, and later there

was the ever present camera to snap those embarrassing moments – all used in some form of blackmail

that inevitably ended in whisky exchanging hands!!


Terry and I did share one other great interest – pianist Charlie Kunz (1896 to 1958). Kunz’s piano style

remains unique, a relaxed flowing interpretation of popular melodies played with subtle soft and loud

accents, a style which Charlie called “melody and rhythm with expression”.  Even today Charlie’s songs are

often played on my ipod – he would never of dreamt that someone (probably the ONLY one now that Terry

has gone) would still be playing his (Kunz) music!!!


I deeply regretted Terry’s passing in 1999.