1986 James Hardie 1000 winner
Peter McLeod/Peter Brock/David Parsons Allan Grice/Graeme Bailey
Win Percy and Allan Grice’s 1990 win was unexpected, at least it was the Holden factory team’s lead car that emerged victorious. Three years earlier, the Commodore ultimately declared the race winner: a) didn’t greet the chequered flag first: b) was entered by a squad ex-communicated from the lion’s den; and c) was a second-string team car running old componentry expected to fail early. Oh ... and did we mention that the 1987 Great Race was contested by one of the strongest fields assembled in the October classic’s history?
Yes, Peter Brock’s final Bathurst win, defeating the World Touring Car Championship regulars who flocked to Bathurst from Europe, definitely fell into the ‘unlikely’ category.
The truth is, the more fancied teams beat themselves through a combination of presenting illegal cars, crashes, unreliability and poor race management.
When #05’s engine failed mid-race, Brock jumped into the underfunded team’s second car, #10, and threw caution to the wind in the wet conditions – while other drivers threw their cars at the scenery!
Car #10 crossed the line in third place, but was elevated to the victory post-event when the Eggenberger-entered Ford Sierras, which finished the race 1-2, were disqualified for running illegal wheelarches that allowed the Swiss team to use wider tyres.
The 1987 Bathurst 1000 winner – now logbooked as HDT chassis #16 – contested the subsequent Calder Park and Wellington WTCC rounds in the hands of Neil Crompton, Peter McLeod and David Oxton.
In 1988 the car was purchased by privateer Chris Lambden. That year and the next, Lambden raced it in the colours of the Beaurepaires tyre retailing chain, despite ownership of the car passing to Bob Jones.
A big crash at Oran Park in ‘89 saw the chassis pushed into a corner of Jones’ workshop and there it sat until it was repaired and sold to club racers Peter Angus and John Tailor, painted up in its original 1987 colours (as outlined in AMC #33). The pair competed in club events in the car until it was purchased by David Bowden in 2003. It remains a prized part of the Bowden’s Own Collection on the Sunshine Coast, presented as it raced on that fateful day in 1987. Allan
Grice and car owner Graeme Bailey only really emerged as a force to be reckoned with during 1986 Bathurst race week. Yet, the Les Small-run team gave the crack Holden Dealer Team a dose of its own medicine on raceday with a dominant victory, the last for what was essentially a part-time privateer team.
The ‘86 Chickadee VK has had a relative straightforward life by comparison to other race race winners of the 1980s, only running in the premier league for that one season.
The car – RWGPA5, for Roadways Racing Services Group A Commodore #5 – debuted at Amaroo Park’s ATCC round in March, one of a handful of outings in the series, before contesting the Sandown 500. Post-Bathurst, it ran the nonchampionship AGP races in Adelaide, before it was put out to pasture.
Bailey’s son raced the car in a couple of Sports Sedan events in the late 1980s, before it was put away for a spell, ahead of spending a decade at the National Motor Racing Museum in Bathurst.
It received a ‘refresh’ from Small ahead of its track return at the 2011 Muscle Car Masters, where it has appeared most years since, in Bailey senior’s hands. It’s important to note that the old chook remains in original condition – i.e. unrestored – complete with its race-winning engine. Its full story was told in AMC #57’s ‘Ruling the Roost’ issue.
In summary, this is a car that remains as it won Australia’s biggest race 29 years ago and is still owned by the race winner. Magic.
#10 Mobil HDT Racing VL Commodore SS Group A #2 Chickadee Racing VK Commodore SS Group A