1986 James Hardie 1000 win­ner

Peter McLeod/Peter Brock/David Par­sons Al­lan Grice/Graeme Bai­ley

Australian Muscle Car - - Cars That Won Bathurst -



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

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