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The WA rallying community is in shock at the loss of its Chief Scrutineer and dear friend, Ernie Hastie. The 65 year old died in his sleep on Monday January 13 from unknown causes.

 

WA Rally Panel Chairman Ross Tapper said: “Ernie was a key member of the WA rallying family whose knowledge was unsurpassable, but, more importantly, he was a great bloke and always willing to help anyone at any time.Our sport has been all the better for him being part of it and will not be the same without him.”

Ernie was born in Collie where he also grew up and attended school. At 15, he moved to Bunbury to complete a mechanical apprenticeship with the State Electricity Commission of WA before work opportunities took him around the state.

He worked for a Holden dealership in Perth, for Texada Salt Carnarvon and on the Robe River Project. He also managed the Halls Creek Service Station and ran an automotive repair shopin Perth.

In 1978, Ernie married Beth at the pair’s property at Tutunup, near Busselton. They had two daughters, Brianne and Tiffany, born in 1979 and 1981 respectively.

Together, Ernie and Beth ran Bunbury Automatics andlater started Pressure Turbo Washers, a company that specialised in building industrial washing machines for washing parts in workshops.

They also shared a love of rallying and took roles with the South West Touring Car Club (SWTCC) in Bunbury where, in 2004, they were recognised as life members.

Ernie had a brief stint as a rally competitor and in 1985, with co-driver Bruce Ganfield, won the State novice championship in a Datsun 1600.

He called it quits four years later after a bad accident and instead channeled his enthusiasm for the sport into the car club where his roles included clerk of course, steward and the role he’ll be most remembered for – scrutineer.

It was a role he completed with a smile on his face and competitors will recall he was keen to share his knowledge of CAMS regulations.

Beth said: “He was full of information. He had a photographic memory. He never forgot anything.”

In 2010, Ernie was appointed Chief Scrutineer of the Quit Forest Rally (QFR). He then took on that role for all gravel and tarmac rallies in WA.

CAMS Scrutineer Ken Dewhirst said: “I would go as far to say if it wasn’t for his input, dedication, knowledge and skill, the rally industry would not be as successful as it is today.

“He was my best mate. We shared many hours together travelling between towns and rallies andhe taught me a lot with regards to scrutineering of rally cars.

“There will never be another Ernie Hastie. It’s the end of another era in the world of motorsport.”

CAMS Australian Rally Championship Technical Advisor Barry Habgood, who had the pleasure of working alongside him at QFR, said: “He was always a hard worker but at the same time struck me as someone who wanted to help people. I’m sure a lot of rally people are going to miss him.”

Those sentiments have been echoed by competitors and officials.

As well as a love of rallying, Ernie had an interest in anything with a motor. He was also involved in autocross, drag racing and speedway.

Ernie is survived by former wife Beth, daughters Brianne and Tiffany and five grandchildren.

While no funeral date has been set as yet, his family plans to hold a cremation at William Barrett and Sons in Bunbury. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 

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