Australian Rally History

by Tom Snooks

The 1987 Wynn’s Safari

The cover of the Supplementary Regulations for the 1987 Wynn’s Safari

Originally there was not going to be a Wynn’s Safari in 1987. The organisers planned to conduct the event in August 1986 and then run a large event in April 1988 as part of the Bicentennial Celebrations.

However, such was the clamour from competitors for an event in 1987 that late in 1986 Tom Snooks and his organising team, which now included Bob Carpenter in partnership with Snooks forming Automotion Australia, determined to go ahead with what would be a smaller (in terms of competitor numbers) event.

The fact that the backside had fallen out of the Australian motor industry in 1987 had led some to the fear of an unsubscribed entry for the Wynn’s Safari. But the organisers were more than happy with the 114 autos and motos that started the event, given the late announcement there would be one that year. The smaller than previous numbers allowed for many upgrades to be tested for the much bigger field already anticipated for 1988.

The 1987 Wynn’s Safari was hard on both competitors and machines, but then the past Safaris were, but the 1987 finishing rate was better than the first two years (60% v 36% in 1986 and 28% in 1985). This was a reflection on the organisers revised concept to make the course somewhat easier than in the past and provide more and better facilities for (at least) the moto riders (for example, providing a luggage truck so they did not have to carry camping gear nor spare parts).

The organisers succeeded immensely with their approach to revising the toughness format of the event and the innovations introduced to make it more enjoyable for competitors (and officials and travelling media) and the previous year’s feeling of disappointment was erased as everyone at the presentation started talking about and planning for the ‘Big One’ in 1988.

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