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GP Week : Issue 28
>> WRC InSIGHT Who is ... Garry Connelly? Aussie Garry Connelly has pushed hard for an east-coast Rally Australia since the event on the other side of the country ended. MARTIN HOLMES finds out just what the long-time rally man is all about … Garry Connelly, 61, is smiling again. For the past six years his dream of steering a World Championship rally on the East Coast of Australia had been on hold. Now, with the announcement that the New South Wales state (capital Sydney) government will help support Repco Rally Australia, the sense of satisfaction has returned. But who is Garry, and what happened to those happy old days in Western Australia when his original dream came true? “Motorsport has been in our family for decades. My grandfather was a motorcycle racer in Europe, and I remember when he gave me a ride in Sydney in an Austin 7 car to which he had fitted a V8 engine – that gave me my first personal sensation of speed! “I was born and bred in Sydney and saw my first line-up of rally cars before the start of the round Australia trials, and then later at University I helped man a control at a rally when Andrew Cowan and Paddy Hopkirk were competing with their Minis on the Southern Cross Rallies. I had become involved in motorsport through the Hills District Car Club driving and co-driving, and things developed from there!” One of the rules of the club was that members had, once a year, to help organise an event, and Connelly discovered an interest in motorsport administration. This led to working as New South Wales manager for the Australian federation, CAMS. Around that time Andrew Cowan had moved on to work with Mitsubishi, and their team manager in Australia, Doug Stewart, asked if Connelly would co-drive for the Southern Cross rally winner Barry Ferguson. “At the same time I was also co- director of the Rally of the Hills, a back-to-back event held just after the Southern Cross. That led to a lot of opportunities, not the least to meet a young lady who arrived with competitors from New Caledonia. Her name was Monique – we married almost 20 years later in 1986 and we have worked together happily on rallying for over 20 years.. A family team ever since!” In the ‘70s Connelly 45