On the loose, on tarmac – or on water! – ‘Surfer’s’ a winner
There are those who would raise at least one eyebrow at a driver rallying an Austin Maestro – remember that boxy five-door, front-wheel-drive British family workhorse of the early 1980s? Well, Paul ‘Surfer’ Bourne did . .
It did not take long for Bourne to replace the British car with a French one, however – a Peugeot 205GTi – in which he started to be noticed in island motor sport. Before that, he’d been on the water: Bourne’s nickname, unsurprisingly, arose from his other sporting pursuit, one in which he was competitor and organiser, also President of the Barbados Surfing Association, a role to which he returned (briefly) at the end of 2004.
In the early days of the Texaco All-Stage, with an ever-changing series of co-drivers, Bourne picked up a handful of top 10 finishes, including third in 1993, the first local home behind Ireland’s Kenny McKinstry and the Swiss driver Andy Krattiger. In the next few years, Bourne developed a successful partnership with Louis Venezia – when he wasn’t playing polo – which started to produce good results, as they graduated via a Peugeot 306 to a Subaru Impreza WRX (pictured below during a speed event at Yorkshire in 2000).
Despite three podium finishes on the Texaco between 1998 and 2000, a victory eluded him, but the arrival in 2002 of the island’s first World Rally Car – Bourne’s ex-Prodrive Impreza WRC 97-002 – looked set to change all that. A massive accident on the first stage, however, meant he had to wait until 2003 for victory in the first re-named Rally Barbados (see page 166); he finished second for a third time in 2004, winning his Group in the Driver’s Championship both years, then announced his retirement, amid much disappointment from his many fans. Bourne went back to the sea, although he retained links with motor sport through a newly-formed company, PB Events, which ran a popular series of dexterity tests.
With the Impreza unsold, however, he came out of retirement “just once” for Barbados Rally Carnival 2005 . . . and, if anything, is even more committed to the sport: as a competitor, he won the 2006 Texaco BRC Rally Championship with two wins and two second places in the five rounds, also the Driver’s Championship Group title for a third time; as an organiser, he has joined the committee for the first time as Competition Secretary, the differences of the past laid to rest.