Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

Rocky road


like a lot of pri­va­teer Holden teams, were slow in build­ing up VB Com­modores in 1980 to meet the more strin­gent Group C rules. Philips had de­parted the scene and only one car was built ini­tially for O’Brien, whose ma­jor suc­cess was win­ning the Surfers Par­adise en­duro. This was Road­ways’ first out­right win and came only weeks af­ter team co-owner Bruce Hin­daugh took his own life. Wigston re­mem­bers it as a very sad time.

O’Brien left the team in 1981 and was re­placed by a young Steve Har­ring­ton, son of Road­ways owner Ian Har­ring­ton. Again Wigston sat out the ATCC to let Har­ring­ton

Rgain some much needed ex­pe­ri­ence. The two driv­ers com­bined to fin­ish a fine third out­right in the Sandown 400, which would stand as Wigston’s best ever fin­ish in this en­dure. The re­sult au­gured well for Bathurst, where Wigston an­nounced he would re­tire to con­cen­trate on his busi­ness in­ter­ests.

In time, Wigston was talked out of re­tir­ing com­pletely and re­turned for the 1982 Sandown and Bathurst en­duros with Har­ring­ton ju­nior, where an­other big dol­lar spon­sor in STP came on board.

For 1983 the STP Road­ways team ran two cars in the ATCC for Har­ring­ton and new sign­ing Al­lan Grice and ex­celled in fin­ish­ing fifth and fourth in the cham­pi­onship re­spec­tively.

Wigston missed the Sandown 400 but fronted up to Bathurst for his last race be­fore re­tir­ing for good. the pre­vi­ous year. The duo qual­i­fied 12th just be­hind the ill-fated Jack Brab­ham/Stir­ling Moss To­rana but re­tired af­ter a trou­bled run on lap 56 with a bro­ken cam drive. Wigston

had an aus­pi­cious de­but with his new A9X hatch­back at Sandown, where it was an early DNF. With Hind­haugh at Bathurst, Wigston qual­i­fied in 14th. An early pit­stop to re­place a har­monic bal­ancer put the team out of con­tention but a steady run had them firmly in the top ten un­til late in the race when Wigston crashed at The Cut­ting and re­tired af­ter 144 laps. The

Road­ways team was ‘loaned’ the ex­pe­ri­enced West Aus­tralian HDT refugee Wayne Ne­gus for Bathurst. They also had the lux­ury of hav­ing a spare A9X for prac­tice. This was the first year in which the Hardies He­roes top ten shoot out was run. Wigston made the cut, as he would for the next three years. In the race the pair were run­ning a strong fifth two laps be­hind Peter Brock when they broke their crankshaft af­ter com­plet­ing 118 laps. With

Phillips spon­sor­ship and gun ex-HDT driver Char­lie O’Brien on board, 1979 Bathurst was a ‘what if’ year for the Road­ways team, who bought three(!) A9Xs to the Moun­tain. Wigston re­mem­bers qual­i­fy­ing the spare car third fastest (O’Brien was fifth) and hav­ing to with­draw it from the race. Of course history was writ­ten that year when Peter Brock and Jim Richards won the race by six laps, but O’Brien/Wigston were a com­fort­able sec­ond, al­beit four laps be­hind the lead­ers at lap 130 when they pit­ted with a leak­ing diff, the re­sult of a failed pin­ion seal. The team re­placed the rear axle, lost a heap of laps but still fin­ished eighth on 147 laps.



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