You can lead a horse to wa­ter

Australian Muscle Car - - Bathurst Muscle -

The Bald­win Ford team’s sec­ond and fi­nal out­ing was at Oran Park Race­way’s ‘Christ­mas Cup’ day-night meet­ing on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 11, 1971. The works cars – with the ex­cep­tion of Leo Geoghegan’s Charger – didn’t front for the meet­ing, pro­vid­ing a big op­por­tu­nity for the pri­va­teer Phase III team which had at least shown its speed at Bathurst.

Garry Rush had driv­ing du­ties that day, a fur­ther in­di­ca­tion that he was in favour with Field and Bald­win.

How­ever, Rush and the or­ange XY didn’t get as far as the 15-lap main event, re­tir­ing with a lap of the pre­lim­i­nary re­main­ing with clutch is­sues.

If fail­ing to fin­ish six laps of the Syd­ney cir­cuit’s 1.6km short cir­cuit – a mere six miles in to­tal – was an un­der­whelm­ing end to its rac­ing car, there was one sil­ver lin­ing.

The car led the sprint’s open­ing laps, as Rac­ing Car News’ News event re­port out­lines.

“Rush lived up to his name by out-drag­ging the field to the first cor­ner, roar­ing past Geoghegan from the sec­ond row of the grid to put the big Ford in the lead. It was flat out all the way, with Rush, Geoghegan (Charger), Hol­land (To­rana) and Gra­ham Ryan (Charger) round­ing BP Cor­ner to­gether on the first lap.”

The man him­self, Rush, re­mem­bers the Christ­mas Cup meet­ing as “a very funny day”.

“We ar­rived at Oran Park late, just in time for qual­i­fy­ing and we put the car on the sec­ond row of the grid.

“The Charg­ers were in front of me and when they dropped the flag, the Phase III had too much grunt for the Charg­ers. The Charg­ers were quick around the track, but had no an­swer the Phase III in a straight line.

“Bryan Bald­win was such a pos­i­tive think­ing per­son. So to see his car in the lead, he was

jump­ing out of his skin. He took the chalk­board off the young bloke who was hang­ing it out for me, so when I came past in the lead at the end of the first lap, here was Bryan stand­ing by the fence with the chalk­board above his head with the word ‘GO’ writ­ten on it!” “He was shak­ing it above his head. “I led an­other lap with the Charg­ers and oth­ers all over me around the back. We blew a clutch on the third lap.”

The car didn’t take the grid for the two evening races and its rac­ing days were over.

Bald­win too had had enough by this stage, no doubt de­ter­min­ing the ben­e­fits to busi­ness – which was find­ing the go­ing in­creas­ingly tough – were not there.

“I stayed in con­tact with Bryan for a while,” Rush continues, “but I don’t re­call why he gave rac­ing away. I was too pre­oc­cu­pied with what I was do­ing which was prob­a­bly speed­way.

“Bryan met with tragic cir­cum­stances a lit­tle bit later,” Rush con­cludes.

Rush on Oran Park: “Bryan was stand­ing by the fence with the chalk­board above his head with the word ‘GO’ writ­ten on it.”

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