““AA ffaann bboottttlleess uupp tthhee cchhaampp””
Last issue’s cover story focused on Allan Moffat’s mid-1970s Sports Sedan endeavours, which included driving the famed Cologne Capri RS3100. Moffat has mostly fond memories of the sweet-handling Capri, despite the fact that one of the ugliest incidents of his long career came while driving the German-built beast.
This was at the Hume Weir circuit on June 15, 1975, when a glass bottle struck the Capri’s windscreen after Moffat won the Sports Sedan feature race.
Over four decades on, Moffat retains vivid memories of this day.
“It was on the cool down lap and some ignoramus in the crowd threw a beer bottle at the car and it hit the windscreen,” he told AMC. “It gave me the fright of my life!
“Like all good cool, calm and collected racing drivers…” Moffat says, pausing for effect, “…I SLAMMED my foot on the brake and pulled up! I was just so enraged. I got out, ran across to the fence, which was difficult to get over and took some time to do so. Spectators helped me over the fence… but then didn’t let go of me as it was quite clear what I wanted to do to this particular fellow.
“Other spectators grabbed the offender and handed him over to police. I never saw him again; I was told he had to go to court. But the incident did very much give me a fright. It was like an atomic bomb hitting the windscreen.
“Such were the joys of motor racing. We were putting our heart and soul into preparing and driving these cars and you had someone throwing a beer bottle at us!”
The following day’s Border Morning Mail reported that a 24-year-old Albury man was arrested and was due to appear in Wodonga Court “charged with throwing a missile to the danger of a person and willful damage.”
“Moffat pulled up and leapt from his car,” the newspaper report continued, “taking off his helmet. He marched up the embankment into the crowd. He was visibly annoyed and obviously out to find the culprit. Under the overhead bridge Moffat – obviously still very annoyed – challenged an abrasive heckler to ‘come down here and say that.’”
AMC reader Chas Van Hulsentop was there that day and saw the whole episode play out.
“Moffat had won handsomely in the Capri and after his cool down or winners lap he decided to do an extra lap.
“I was sitting on the slope at the big loop and as Moff came around something caught my eye. Over my right shoulder was a stubby tumbling in a nice arc. It was almost in slow motion and I said to my girlfriend (now wife) ‘it’s going to hit’.
“Well, it did – square on the windscreen, which shattered,” Chas continued. “Moff stopped instantly and was out of his car in a flash and at the fence in an angry mood. Most people were initially gobsmacked, but then pointed out to Moff where the stubby came from. He never got to the guy but soon enough the bloke was led away by the police.”
Chas has kept the event program from that meeting, which was included in the local paper, and which he thoughtfully scanned for our files.