Vale: John Goasdoue
- 25th November 2013, 8:39am
John was well-known to many people in the rallying community all over Australia, and since his death, social media has been full of fond farewells and best wishes for his family and friends.
Currently ‘between’ rally cars, John was possibly the fittest he had been for years and was passionate about his latest challenge of mountain-bike riding. Moving quickly up and down hills and through the bush – even on two wheels – brought out the ultimate competitor in John.
Sadly, it was this latest passion that has taken him from us. Reports indicate he had a collision with a tree during a training ride on Brisbane’s Mt Coot-Tha on Friday – suffering fatal injuries.
As a teenager living in the Gold Coast hinterland, John was an enthusiastic driver in his teenage years, often commenting over a beer about his unlikely efforts in a Ford Escort panel van. It was obvious that rallying was his chosen destiny and in the mid-late eighties he appeared more formally on the Queensland rally scene in a basically-standard Ford Escort 2.0, borrowed from his wife.
Performing miracles in the underpowered Escort over a couple of years, John was a leading light in the then-popular GP Cars Clubman Series, which recognised the outstanding efforts of less experienced drivers. Unfortunately a qualifying rule that outlawed a top-five finish in a State Championship event, soon caused John to lose his eligibility when he scored such a result! It was a sign of things to come.
The Escort made way for a very quick Toyota Sprinter (pictured right, with Tom Smith) built from a wreck which John proudly towed to his usual Brisbane Sporting Car Club showrooms one night – just to show the boys what the next project looked like.
An excellent engineer, machinist and panel beater, John did most, if not all of his own work on his cars – from construction to roll-cage building and any modifications required.
A move into a Mazda 323 BFMR (again built by John from a wreck) put him into outright contention and in 1991 he was a runner-up in the QRC, a title he was destined never to win.
The one-make Daihatsu Charade Challenge presented an opportunity to break through on the national stage, and John again consistently impressed the pundits – eventually finishing second to Leigh Hynes in the deciding event of the series that year. With the Charade on hand, John continued to run local events and more often than not beat much more potent cars, such was his driving talent.
A Datsun 1600 followed, with a stint of ownership of the ex-Murray Coote Mazda 323 GTX and then a move into a Lancer Evo 3 which really put him on the national stage in the outright category.
Consistently fast and incredibly brave, John suffered terribly bad luck at times. Hitting a calf in Rally Queensland on one of the fastest stretches of road meant a major rebuild of the front end. A very large accident in Rally Tasmania when a steering fault put him into a large tree-stump literally destroyed the familiar blue Evo 3.
Once the car was recovered and on a trailer back in Hobart, it was a typical John assessment of the twisted body-shell……. ”She’ll be right, I can fix that!!”
Bob Riley from Ralliart stepped in with a good deal on an ex-recce car bare shell and John was soon back in action, as quick as ever.
He joined the Subaru Impreza RS one-make series and again was a leading light amongst much younger competitors in his famous bright yellow machine.
John’s last rally car was a Mitsubishi Evo 6, sold to a local Queenslander and still running strongly in the state series.
Interestingly, he most recently found work as a co-driver with John Spencer in the WRC round at Coffs Harbour – proving that his skills inside the car were not just limited to the steering wheel.
John will be remembered as a fierce competitor, focussed on success, and never laying down to failure.
He was a ‘Jack Brabham’ of rallying – building and winning with his own handiwork, with engineering and construction of the highest standards.
Always happy and loving his involvement with the sport, he would rather have dirtied his hands for anyone in the service park who needed help, rather than stand back and watch.
A generous man who attracted close, and longstanding mateships, John was always happy to help a fellow competitor to ensure the battle continued on the rally road.
The sport is much poorer today for the loss of a man who epitomised the spirit of rallying.
Heartfelt messages are being passed by all that knew John, and deepest best wishes and condolences go out to his family and friends – especially his partner Rachel and his daughters Katie and Kirsty.
He will be greatly missed, and his closest friends will toast his unforgettable life, achievements and influence on so many.
There will be many people who will be ready to share a fantastic John Goasdoue story over coming months, and those happy memories should be encouraged.
As a firm friend for over 25 years, my last ever rally as a competitor was alongside my great mate in his Evo 6 in Coffs Harbour a few years ago.
Gone but never forgotten.
- Tom Smith
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