The farmer wants some strife
David Parsons was born into a motor racing family. Father Graham, who operated the family dairy farm in South Spreyton near Devonport, was a keen racer who started in a Ford Cortina GT, later graduating to a Group C Torana XU-1 and then an L34. Graham Parsons often embarrassed the mainlanders when they invaded his patch.
Learning to drive came early to a young lad who grew-up on the land.
“Dad used to put the calves in the back of the old FB ute,” explains David, 57, today. “He put it into low gear and bumped the idling up. I’d stand up on the seat; I was barely four! I knew how to turn the key on and off and I’d steer through gates and posts and never hit anything. Cows would follow the car and Dad would walk behind them. That’s how we did it!”
“I learnt to drive as soon as my legs could reach the pedals, about eight. I didn’t like to change gears but could use a clutch to get going and I’d sit up with the foot on the throttle and away I’d go. I was in trouble if I hit any cows, though...”
On obtaining his driver’s licence, Parsons bought an XY Falcon which he entered in club days. Then at age 18 he was thrown the keys to Dad’s Torana L34 on a practice day, as he recalls.
“I was dead scared. I thought: ‘Can’t crash it; can’t lock a wheel.’ Never been on slicks. I did four or five laps and it was a handful, but I went quicker than Dad by a couple of tenths. From that time on I was hooked.”
Soon there was a changing of the guard with Graham handing over the L34 to his lad who competed in the local Tasmanian ‘street car’ category on radials, finishing series runner up in 1980 before winning the the following year. He was still racing the L34 into 1982 when Team Parsons took a huge punt and bought a Group C VC Commodore.
Top: David Parsons continues to compete. Here he is in a HQ Holden. Below: Graham Parsons (#25) gave the mainlanders curry at Symmons Plains’ 1976 ATCC round.