You are on page 1of 19

Uncredited photographs are from Allan Moffats collection.

All attempts have


been made to trace and acknowledge copyright. If you have any information
in this regard, please contact the publisher at the address below.

First published in 2017


Copyright Allan Moffat and John Smailes 2017
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior
permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968
(the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever
is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational
purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has
given a remuneration notice to the Copyright Agency (Australia) under the Act.
Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Australia
Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100
Email: info@allenandunwin.com
Web: www.allenandunwin.com

Cataloguing-in-Publication details are available


from the National Library of Australia
www.trove.nla.gov.au
ISBN 978 1 76029 608 7

Set in 12.5/18.5 pt Adobe Garamond Pro by Bookhouse, Sydney


Printed and bound in Australia by Griffin Press

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The paper in this book is FSC certified.


FSC promotes environmentally responsible,
socially beneficial and economically viable
C009448 management of the worlds forests.

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd iv 14/07/17 12:44 PM


1 The Greatest Form 12 Ever 1
2 On the Road 19
3 Changing Up 43
4 Allan Moffat Racing 65
5 Hand to Mouth 89
6 The Greatest Trans Am of All 107
7 Ho Ho Ho 137
8 Ford Finale 171
9 Friends and Foes 197
10 Project B52 and Project Phoenix 219
11 Mazda Man 247
12 Brock 281
13 ANZ: Banking on Success 309
14 Gun for Hire 341
15 Obsession and Success 371
16 Rear Vision 395

Acknowledgements 419
Index 422

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd vii 14/07/17 11:24 AM


THE GREATEST
FORM 12 EVER

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 1 14/07/17 11:24 AM


THIS IS GOING TO BE MY GREATEST WIN EVER.
Bathurst 1977 and my Falcon coupe is humming like a Pan
Am 747 at cruise altitude.
We are 925 kilometres into Australias 1000-kilometre Great
Race, and only my car and its sibling are on the same lead lap.
Peter Brock, my nemesis, fiercest competitor and later to be
saviour, is three laps down and charging up through the pack
after an uncharacteristic spin and unscheduled pit stops, but
with twelve laps to go he isnt going to catch us.
Nothing is going to stop us.
I am the easiest of people on the car. Isqueeze the brakes,
Istroke the wheel. Im never aggressive with it. Thats how you
win Bathurst.
Its the golden era of touring-car racing in Australia. The
Ford-versus-Holden battle is drawing huge crowds and creating
massive salesroom response. And Im on top of my game.
Coming up through the Cutting, the aptly named gash
in the hillside that marks the steepest part of the 600-metre
vertical ascent to the top of Mount Panorama, Itap the brakes

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 3 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

to make sure theres pedal pressure for the rush over Skyline and
down to Conrod Straight. The next really hard braking point is
Forrests Elbow and, although its half a circuit away, you need
the reassurance.
All okay.
But when I get to the cornerdropping away, downhill
theres nothing.
The pedal goes to the floor.
Smoke pours out of the front right-wheel arch. Its not tyre
smoke, because the wheels havent locked up. Its the brakes
quitting.
I have my big moment, use the gearbox, in itself fragile, to
slow the car just sufficiently for the corner and then I floor
it down Conrod Straight. All these years later I dont recall
having a moment of panic or of disappointment. This is time
for calculation, for situation assessment.
Pull to the pits? Theyre at the bottom of the straight, one
corner away. Although the crew wont be ready, theres the
possibility they can fix it; abrake-pad change takes at least two
minutes, a rotor changethats the whole brake assemblyis
longer. Thats if everything goes well. Ill lose the lead to my
teammates Colin Bond and Alan Hamilton and Ill possibly fall
into the clutches of the lead Holden of Peter Janson and Larry
Perkins. If things go really badly, maybe even Brock.
Keep going? Twelve laps of Bathurst without brakes. People
would say its impossible. The television commentary is calling:
The chances of Allan Moffat winning Bathurst are negated. No
way Moffat can go on like that.

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 4 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

That wasnt going to happen.


I lost my first Bathurst in 1969 because the Ford team called
me to the pits for an unnecessary tyre change. Iwon in 1971
because I ignored their call to come to the pits to have track
debris removed from my radiator when the team thought it
might cause the car to overheat. In both cases I was at the
wheel, in control, the only one who really knew what was going
on and the only person truly qualified to make a decision.
By the time I reach the drive-in movie theatre, halfway down
the country road called Conrod Straight on the way to Murrays
Corner, Ive made a captains call.
Coming in is bad. Staying out is good.
The decision has taken less than ten seconds and its been
necessary to make it that fast. Without brakes, from a speed of
250km/h, Ive got to back off half a kilometre earlier for the
90-degree left-hander that leads onto pit straight. The drive-in
movie gates will become my new braking marker for the rest
of the race.

This Bathurst race was my biggest ever assault on the mountain.


Its my team, supported by Ford, ostensibly through its
dealers, but the entire riglock, stock and mortgageis mine.
Everything I have in the world is riding on this one race. Its not
the first time in my life thats been the case, but this is the big
investment, the make-or-break moment. It wont be the end of
my motor-racing career if I fail. There are always drives to be
had as a gun for hire. But thats not my ambition. Ive always

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 5 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

wanted more. To be master of my own destinyand that means


you put everything on the line, every time.
I had stolen Colin Bond from the Holden Dealer Team to
be my teammate in 1977, a massive coup, earth-shattering to
the fans and the two factories, and between us we had swept
the floor with the Holden opposition, winning the Australian
Touring Car Championship.
Id secured the services of the US team-management guru
Carroll Smith. The man who literally wrote the textbooks on
team and race-car preparation had brought his family to Australia
on a one-year contract to help turn my already-winning team
into a dominant one.
Id secured the co-driving services of four-times Le Mans
24 Hour winner, Belgiums Jacky Ickx, the best long-distance
racer in the world. He had cost me $10,000in those days,
half the price of the house I couldnt afford.
At the last moment, when motorcycle ace Gregg Hansford
was injured, Id drafted Australian Porsche distributor, hill-climb
champion and open-wheeler ace Alan Hamilton into the team
as Bonds co-driver. Aswift and safe pair of hands.
And the cars were sensational. Two brand-new Ford Falcon
Superbirds, exquisitely hand-built for the season, fettled by
the best and best-drilled team in the business, running on
Goodyear rubber brought to Australia by the tyre boss whod
been my guardian angel in motor sport since virtually the outset,
MikeBabich.
If ever there was a sweet spot, Id found it.

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 6 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

I drove to Sydneys Kingsford Smith airport early to pick up


Jacky Ickx. Although he was six years younger than me, it was
like greeting royalty.
Jacky had won Le Mans four times, the last three years in
succession. It wasnt just that hed wonit was the way he did it.
In 1969, his first Le Mans drive and first win in the mighty Ford
GT40, he had defied team orders and, instead of participating
in the mad run across the track to begin the race, had quietly
walked to the car and buckled up properly before starting, dead
last, only to go on to win. That year one of the runners was
killed on the first lap because he had not done up his belts and
was most probably still getting his metabolism under control.
Jacky deserved respect.
He wanted to go straight to Bathurst and we got there before
most of the crew.
This would be the first time hed driven a car like the XC
Falcon. He was used to purpose-built, robust race cars that fitted
you like a glove and that you could punish to within a lap of
their race life. Early in his career, he had raced a Lotus Cortina,
just like me, and he had won the Belgian touring-car title in it.
But even the Lotus was a thoroughbred compared to the Falcon.
As we pulled into the pits at Mount Panorama, Iwished I knew
the French translation for compromise.
He hated the race seat in our car. It was too broad for his
slim racing drivers bum. He tried the seat in the Number Two
car and it was just right. Igot the crew to swap the seats. Its
not something I ever told Colin Bond or Alan Hamilton, who
were the drivers of that car. They didnt need to know.

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 7 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

Bathurst is Australias biggest and most prestigious domestic


motor race. That year it attracted a record nineteen international
entrants, most of them co-drivers. There were IndyCar winners,
touring-car champions from other countries, even our own three-
time F1 world champion, Jack Brabham. Holden had launched a
new rocket ship: the A9X Torana, the best production car they
ever built. It had soundly defeated us on debut at the prelude
long-distance race at Melbournes Sandown Raceway. Despite
our runaway success in the touring-car championship sprint
races, the A9X was the favourite for Bathurst.
At a motor race, you dont talk to me. Iget in a zone. People
know that and its become part of my persona. Some think its
arrogance, others that its just plain rude. Icall it focused.
I like to sit in the race car and think. In the first session
of practice on Friday, I had done that so much that my very
expensive co-driver was left without a drive. It was frustrating
for him, but unnoticed by me. Colin Bond handed over his car
so Jacky could get a sighting lap. Next time I may as well just
come on Saturday, he said to Colin.
When Jacky finally got in the Number One Falcon, he was
back in the pits in a lap.
Allan, he said, the car has no brakes.
To say I was alarmed was an understatement. Ihad him out
of the car in an instant and went for my own exploration. Alap
later I was back.
Jacky, Isaid, the brakes are perfectthe best theyve ever
been.
He was quickly coming to terms with compromise.

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 8 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

Unlike the one-lap dash for pole position introduced years


later, in 1977 you could qualify for a grid position in any of the
Saturday practice sessions. Ithrew down the gauntlet in the first
session, setting a time that stood for pole until the last three laps
of the final session. Then Brock, who had been hampered all
day by niggling problems, pulled out a blinder and seized pole
away. Colin Bond was on track and he responded to take second
place on the front row, forcing me one row back.
Brock had this thing called the Brock Crush where he would
sprint from the start and establish a gap from which hed control
the raceeven in an event as long as Bathurst. It was a mind
game. Inever believed in it but with Brock you never knew, so,
when the flag dropped, Iwent for the gap between the front-row
cars, determined to pass or at least stay with him.
A long-distance race should be run at a long-distance pace
but this was a sprint. These days that sort of ten-tenths sprint-
race mentality is expected even at Bathurst but, back then, with
the cars so fragile, it was rolling the dice. Happily it rolled in
Fords favour.
By lap six, Colin and I were in front: aFord onetwo, both
of us former Bathurst winners and understanding what it takes
to bring a car home. You should never underestimate the value
of race-winning experience. Co-drivers, then, knew the drill.
They were unlikely to be asked to equally share the load. If
you were a co-driver, you werent expected to be quite as on the
pace. You probably didnt know the car or the track as well as
the lead driver. At least one Bathurst race was won by a driver
whose partner did just the one obligatory lap required under the

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 9 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

rule. Co-drivers could be nine-tenths of effort competitors, not


just seat minders, but close, even if your name was Jacky Ickx.
Its different now: aco-driver has to be able to pull the same lap
times with the same consistency as the lead driver, otherwise the
team is just not in the race.
To further reinforce the value of experience, Carroll Smith
insisted Colin and I both did double stints. That means when
we pulled to the pits for our first stop, after more than 250kilo-
metres of hard racing, we stayed in the car. Those were the days
before cool-suits that pump freezing water through capillaries
to keep drivers body temperatures constant. Cooling air was
minimal and at the 1977 race the car-to-pit UHF radios, which
had been installed for the very first time for a Bathurst event,
universally failed to function, so in the car you were deserted
on your own island. It was hot and hard.
Forty laps of leading Bathurst are punishing. Eighty laps are
murder. Istayed out to within a minute of the maximum allow-
able time for one driver without a change and then I handed over
to the worlds best long-distance driver to do the minimum. My
race gloves were shredded and my hands blistered. Be careful,
Isaid to Jacky, take it easy on the brakes.
Colin had handed over to Alan Hamilton three laps earlier,
on the same regimen. Each of our co-drivers would do one
40-lap, 250-kilometre stint, then wed be back in for the finish.
We were looking good. We both kicked back in our caravan
and in the spirit of the moment I put a deal to Colin. Why
dont we swap cars for the last stint? That way well be classified
as finishers in both cars so we could both win, and wed spread

10

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 10 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

the odds if something goes wrong. Colin gave it some thought


and then refused. While he was grateful for the offer, he was
concerned about the legality.
Drivers, including Brock, had previously been cross-entered
in team cars and they had taken the second car when their own
had failed. But Colin was unsure if you could do the same swap
if both cars were running without problem. It was just the sort
of uncertainty that Holdens team manager Harry Firth could
protest on, so we stayed where we were.
Out on the track there was a speed disparity between Ickx
and Hamilton. Jackys pace was faster and he was opening a gap
on Alan. Iguess the term go easy is relative. In Jackys world,
the pace he was running at would have been medium. It was
his call. Youve got to run at a pace that suits you. Too slow and
you lose rhythm. That can be as dangerous as going too fast.
Both Falcons were now two laps ahead of the nearest Holden
and things were looking great. We made no attempt to slow
Jacky down.
When I took over again with 37 laps, 230 kilometres, to go
to the chequered flag the car felt good.
So how, now, was I facing ruin with just a third of that
distance to run?
I didnt blame Jacky then and I dont blame him now. In fact I
was to have him back as co-driver the following year. But theres
no doubt our difference in driving styles and particularly the
different way we used the brakes had been contributing factors
to the brake wear which now threatened our win.

11

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 11 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

Controlling the big Falcon without brakes took more than a


small amount of finesse. It wasnt so much the braking zones.
You can discipline yourself to roll out of the speed earlier and
use your gears, sparingly, so that you enter each corner not too
fast but not too slow. Thats judgement.
Happily, as contradictory as it sounds, the massively fast
Bathurst track is not overly taxing on brakes. Going fast for
long distances at Mount Panorama is about rhythm and pace,
not about hard braking. If this had happened at another track,
like Sandown, Icouldnt have survived.
The big problem was lapped traffic. Bathurst in 1977 was
open to smaller capacity cars with huge speed differentials. If
one of the tiddlers got it wrong, they could carry you off. It
required immense anticipation, even more so without brakes.
Carroll Smith was on to it. Although we could not commu-
nicate by radio, he knew that there was no way I was pitting,
but he had the crew on standby.
Colin was closing rapidly on me, making up the ground that
Hamilton had lost to Ickx. It was then that Carroll did something
that was sensible and in accordance with my obvious wishes. He
hung out a pit board that read Form 12 finish. Seven years
earlier my then Ford teammate Bruce McPhee had received a
similar order from team boss Al Turner, dictating that he hold
back in second while I took my first Bathurst win. But this was
different: the board was calling for Formation.
That had never been done before in Australia.
Ford had tried something similar at Le Mans in 1966 with its
GT40s and it had come unstuck. They had dictated their two

12

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 12 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

dominant lead cars to cross the line together, share victory and
create a huge publicity coup. But French officials outfoxed them,
declaring after the race that the winner would be determined
by the distance they had coveredin other words by the few
metres that separated the two cars on the starting grid.
So Carroll was being very specific: Form 12. Iwas to win;
Colin was to come second.
Can you imagine how Colin felt? Iwas dropping back to him
at a huge rate, running at least ten seconds a lap off the pace.
He had won Bathurst on debut for Holden in 1969. Ihad won
it for the first time, for Ford, in 1970, and when youre a racing
driver you just want to win again and again. Both of us craved
this win and this race was his for the taking.
But we had established precedent all year.
When he joined me, it was for more money than he had ever
earned at Holdenthe whole house, not just half of itand
wed done a deal to pool our prize money and then share it,
admittedly disproportionately, 70per cent to me and 30per cent
to him. (I was, after all, taking the financial risk.) The caveat
was I was the team owner and leader and, barring stopping,
would be the first of us to cross the line.
All season long Colin had stuck with the deal. In the touring-
car title, where we dominated, Iwould take the lead and hed
be my wingman, maybe even dropping back to play with the
Toranas before coming back up to me at the finish.
But this was a margin call.
I was obviously wounded. If I had to defend my lead I couldnt
do it. But I hadnt stopped and that was the kernel of our deal.

13

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 13 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

Ireversed onto him with three laps to go. He was not pushing
to catch me; Iwas falling back.
And that, to my incredible relief, was where he stayed, right
on my flank.
So much was riding on this. The recently knighted Sir Brian
Inglis, the president of Ford Australia, was in my pit along with
his top brass. The prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, was on the
Hardie-Ferodo balcony with the trophy. My wife, Pauline, was
perched on the pit wall, on the stop watches, and in charge of
the bank account that had been decimated for this moment.
Down the straight they go, called Evan Green on the national
Channel Seven telecast. Cars one and two. A demonstration
of the crushing victory to Allan Moffat and the Moffat Ford
Dealer Team.
Into the last corner Colin ranged up alongsidehis moment
of truth. I looked across at him, telepathically willing him to
back off. He was on the inside, perfectly positioned. Ijust got
the car stopped around the outside and then lined up for the
chequered flag. It was in that final 100 metres, driving into
the setting sun, that I had confirmed what Id always known:
he was a gentleman. The race timing said it all. Moffat/Ickx a
race time of 6hours 59minutes 0.8seconds; Bond/Hamilton
6hours 59minutes 0.9seconds.
The formation-finish pictureCar One in the lead, Car Two
on its flankhas become one of the iconic images of Bathurst,
in fact of all Australian motor sport.
On the podium, the Hardie-Ferodo balcony, the prime
minister described it as a long and hard race. He didnt know

14

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 14 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

the half of it. Enormous congratulations to Allan Moffat,


hesaid.

If only it had ended there.


That Bathurst win was to take me to the heights of elation
and lead me into the depths of despair.
Connections of Colin Bond were to pursue me for a greater
share of the prize money. Although Id paid out for second place,
which was in excess of our pooled prize-money agreement, they
felt that Colins magnanimous gesture was worth more. The
argument went on for years and, although Colin got a result, the
lawyers took most of it. Im not sure Colin would have pressed
the issue. Much later in our lives we both agreed the Form 12
was worth more than any money.
If Id passed Moffat and taken the win a minute ahead of
him, and someone years later had asked, Who won Bathurst
77?, the first guess would be Brockdoesnt he always win?
Colin said with his cackling laugh, long after the dust had settled.
But the formation finish created a milestone in motor racing.
No one will ever forget it, or who came first and second.
My bigger disappointment was to come two days after the race.
Id been partying in Sydney, naturally enough, when I got
the call to Fords headquarters in Melbourne for a boardroom
lunch. Ford was a different place in 1977 to the one Id joined
in 1969. At the beginning, we were all swamped in the enthu-
siasm that came right from the top, the charismatic American
managing director Bill Bourke, as he strove firstly to save Fords

15

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 15 14/07/17 11:24 AM


C L I M B I N G T H E M O U N TA I N

Australian outpost from extinction and secondly to drive it to


market leadership. The feeling was that money was no object,
although clearly it was. But you didnt care. You just powered
on against all odds. Testosterone ruled. It wasnt just about
motor racing. This was the golden age, where performance cars
dictated a car companys reputation. We were all on a mission
to make Ford Number One.
After Ford officially withdrew from motor racing in 1974,
a result of political pressure and a changing corporate ethic,
the company continued to support me through a back door,
but it was comparatively hand to mouth and it was a difficult
situation for both of us, with factions inside the company forever
questioning my value to the corporation.
Surely 1977 would change that. Id delivered them the
Australian Touring Car Championship and the best Bathurst
win ever. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday had never been
more real.
Sir Brian Inglis was at the head of the table. Iwas alongside
him. His marketing director Max Gransden was on his other
side. Sir Brian gently tapped his glass with his knife and called
the room to order. He made a wonderful speech about me and
about Fords gratitude. Then he reached into his pocket and
pulled out a small sealed envelope, which he handed to me.
I firmly believe there are two voices in my head and, while
Ive always relied on both of them, Ifollow the advice of only
one. One is the tearaway that says: Go for it. The other is the
voice of reason that says: Caution.

16

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 16 14/07/17 11:24 AM


T H E G R E AT E S T F O R M 1 2 E V E R

This time Caution won. Instead of opening the envelope,


Islipped it in my pocket and made an equally gracious speech
thanking Ford and its management team for their support. Then
as soon as I could I sprinted for the car park and tore it open.
I was thinking $50,000, maybe $100,000something that
wouldnt match my outlay but would still be a fitting reward
for the best brand awareness and dealer motivation you could
deliver. Better still, it would be a harbinger of opportunity, arein-
forcement of my future.
The cheque was for $1000.
Fords Bathurst winning bonus didnt even cover the cost of
the after-party.
It was at that moment that I knew my time with this partic-
ular branch of the Blue Oval was running out and, as enjoyable
as it had been, it would be in my best interests to start looking
elsewhere.

17

Bh2836M-PressProofs.indd 17 14/07/17 11:24 AM