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Vale Garry Baker
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Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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Australian Off Road Racing lost a piece of its history yesterday with the passing of Garry Baker.

Fondly referred to as ‘The Godfather of Off Road’, Garry (aka the WHO) was a key figure in the early founding days of the sport in Australia. In his American Sand Master buggy, Garry had many race wins to his credit; a career highlight was winning the inaugural Sea Lake Mallee Rally, Garry’s three outright victories are forever etched in stone at the Mallee Rally monument in the centre of Sea Lake.

Wins at the Hattah Desert Race and a top five finish at the inaugural Kempsey were just a few credits to his name in a long off road career. Racing in the USA was a bucket list item for Garry; a dream that came to fruition in the 80s when he and brother Mick tested their skills against the best of the best in on American soil.

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Along with brother Mick, Garry established Baker Brothers, the go to business for over 50 years for everything and anything Bilstein Shock related servicing all forms of motorsport from off road to Supercars.

The Christmas holidays for Garry Baker were spent at Swan Lake, camping with mates and taking the buggy for a spin through the Portland Sand Dunes; a tradition of 40 plus years.

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In his later years Garry began documenting the formative years of off road racing in Australia, releasing some of his writings in 2013 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sea Lake Mallee Rally.

Legend is a word overly used nowadays, but Garry Baker was a true legend of Australian Off Road Racing and one whose knowledge and experience will be greatly missed.

Here’s an extract from one of the articles. Links to the catalogue of Sea Lake history are below.

“Garry Baker witnessed the birth of Australian off road racing and has taken up the challenge of documenting the early years.

In Garry’s words, “these are the building blocks for how the sport evolved in Australia. The wide view of history of the first decade of off road racing in Australia has never been documented, so these extracts form a much larger narrative. One must remember the growth in the sport was nothing short of explosive from that time onward. The climate was very different then, and one might liken the innovation to that of a Woodstock Festival.”

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“Unlike today's information age, surviving records are difficult to come by, so one must seek and find the tribal elders of that era, and do so before the stories are lost forever.”

With the Sea Lake Mallee Rally set to celebrate its 40th anniversary in June and the Sunraysia Motor Sports club also reaching their 40th year milestone, it is a fitting time to share some of Garry’s research. Garry’s writing style is unique and relays a ‘sitting around the fire having a yarn’ tone.Related Articles
Source: Garry Baker