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Race Day Gold Coast 600 leGends RaCe

Legends in the flesh

Bathurst greats donned the overalls in stifling Gold Coast heat for yet another chapter in their long-time racing rivalry
Words Ben Dillon Photography Nathan Duff

rock, Richards, Johnson, Moffat, Bond. Names dont get bigger than these in the world of australian motor racing.
Every one is an undisputed legend with a history worthy of the thickest of biography and a legacy deserving the highest respect. Each was represented in the Legends category at the Gold Coast 600. The three-day racing festival, which was held 14
Australian Classic Car

October 22-24, replaced the former Gold Coast Indy and last years failed A1GP. The Legends category comprised three demonstration sessions over the weekend and included other luminaries such as John French, Bob Morris, Barry Bo Seton, Glenn Seton, Kevin Bartlett, Charlie OBrien and Tony Longhurst. It wasnt just the old boys re-living past glories, either. James Brock was on hand to pedal father Peters

all-conquering 1978 Torana A9X through the concrete cage of the Gold Coast circuit. Seeing the cars out on track with the original drivers behind the wheel was certainly a special privilege. The cars were driven at nothing like demonstration speed either, with the drivers unable to contain their competitive spirit and thundering down the main straight at breakneck speed. And when the guys returned to

the pits and clambered out of their cars, it was obvious the stifling heat of the Gold Coast was causing some very red, sweating faces. The cars and drivers in the Legends race were more than an interesting historic side note. Many represented true foundation moments in Australian motor racing. The two XC Falcon hardtops of Allan Moffat and Colin Bond recorded that infamous 1-2

AllAn MoffAt on JAcky Ickx

Moffat paired with the Belgian F1 star on a few occasions, but they had their greatest triumph at the 1977 Bathurst 1000. Moffat remembers talking to Ickx about his winning history before the race. I asked him, How many 1000km races have you won? He said, Allan I think it is 30, it might be 31. Moffat replied: Well be making it 32 today, then. As the race progressed the big Falcon coup struggled with mechanical issues, but Moffat said that it was he, not Ickx, who broke the car. He handed me back the car and I didnt even know hed been in it. I was the abuser, and with 12 laps to go the pedal went to the floor. Moffat then limped home with a restrained Colin Bond following at a diminished pace in the shadow of Moffats C-pillar. The six-time Le Mans winner had nothing but praise for the Bathurst circuit and labelled The Mountain as a mini Nrburgring. As such, Moffat feels Mount Panorama should be formally protected. I wish some of the politicians would recognise the iconic nature of that circuit and put some heritage restrictions in place, he said.

GAME PLAN Now remember Colin, my names still on the door, so lets play this the way we played it back in 1977. You finish last... I mean second. Okay buddy?

Bathurst win in 1977 and they were back with their drivers for the first time in 33 years. It was significant history, said Allan Moffat. You didnt get 1-2 finishes every weekend at Bathurst. The 77 1-2 finish stirred the politics of team orders in Australian racing, with many commenting that Bondie should have taken the win. Moffat is philosophical about the subject: Sure he could

have passed me; I had no brakes. But that wasnt the way Colin Bond operated. We were team mates, but somebody had to win. It was my name on the door after all, he added with a wry grin. Perhaps this event was a chance for Bond to get even? Buggered if I know what the situations going to be, said Bond. I think Ive got the better car personally. This was true as Bonds #2

Sure, he could have paSSed me; I had no brakeS. but that waSnt the way colIn bond operated

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Race Day Gold Coast 600 leGends RaCe



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TRACK STARS Dick Johnsons TruBlu XD Falcon (above) and Bob Morris Norm Beechey HT Monaro (below).


car had the advantage of being used more often than the Bathurst National Motor Sport Museum-bound #1 XC, which hadnt run in a long time. A little further down the pits a fresh-faced James Brock walked around the Holden Torana A9X that his father and Jim Richards took to victory in the 1978 Bathurst 1000. He was happy to be joining the Legends portion of the program again after racing this very same car at the 2009 Gold Coast event. Being asked to come here and represent the Brock family is a major honour, said Brock. Having the opportunity to drive a fantastic car like the A9X is something that every boy who loves cars probably dreams of and Im lucky enough to actually experience it. Brocks face beamed as he looked at the car. The things are made for racing, they are f**king fantastic! The car is beautiful, and when you drive it you understand why it won so many races. Out on the track, John French put on a great display in the 1971 Bathurst-winning Moffat GT-HO. Despite his advancing years French turns 80 in November the 1981 Bathurst winner clipped every apex and was genuinely quick. With the legendary octogenarian at the helm no one was safe and he 16
Australian Classic Car

Drivers and their cars

1 Kevin Bartlett 1979 Channel 9 Chevrolet Camaro 2 James Brock 1978 Holden Torana A9X 3 Dick Johnson 1981 Ford Falcon XD Tru-Blu 4 Colin Bond 1977 XC Falcon #2 5 Allan Moffat 1977 XC Falcon #1 6 John French 1971 Ford Falcon XY Moffat Phase 3 GT-HO 7 Jim Richards 1992 Nissan Skyline GT-R 8 Bo Seton 1982 Ford Capri Mk 3 9 Glenn Seton 1997 Ford Falcon EL V8 Supercar 10 Bob Morris Norm Beecheys 1970 Holden Monaro HT GTS 350 11 Charlie OBrien Brian Thompsons 1968 Camaro 12 Tony Longhurst 1990 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 13 Dan Bowden 1969 Trans Am Mustang (the Moffstang) 14 Chris Bowden 1984 Mazda RX-7

gave the hurry up to the younger guys, Brock included. If originality was what you wanted, Kevin Bartlett and his infamous Channel 9 Camaro were as authentic as they came. Bathurst 1982 saw KBs car flip onto its lid after a wheel failure and the Channel 6 joke became legend. Just dont try and get a laugh out of KB about it.

The scars from that 82 stack were still visible. The damage tells the story in a way that watching the crash on YouTube just cant. The Legends race saw the fruition of much hard work by various enthusiasts not least the Bowden family, who supplied the bulk of the cars to reunite some of the greatest legends in Australian racing

with their equally legendary metal steeds. As it transpired, Bond shaded Moffat in a rather staged re-creation of the 1977 finish during the final demonstration run, the two mighty V8s roaring across the line at speed. It was nice to read the signs on Colins car, which is something I couldnt do at Bathurst, said Moffat with a cheeky smile.