Privateers: Peter Gazzard
As a devotee of AMC from day one with all 88 issues in my library, I have been prepared to forgive the occasional typographical or even the rare factual error.
However, and I must admit to feeling I am fighting a losing battle, having written a similar letter back in 1997 to a now-defunct sister publication, when I did have a connection with Peter Gazzard, a connection that no longer exists. So I must dispute the selection of Malcolm Stenniken in the Top 25 Bathurst Privateers as detailed in issue 88 of AMC.
As in my previous correspondence, it is not the intention to deny the efforts of Mr Stenniken as car owner, team organiser and driver. However, how he alone can be nominated as winner of the 1997 Bathurst Privateers Cup is beyond comprehension.
From the information I have (Chevron’s V8 Bathurst #1 book), it was Peter who drove 87 of the car’s 154 race laps and brought the car home after having caught and passed the class leader during his last stint. Surely someone who had only one drive a year, had driven eight Bathursts without incident and in 1997 had to overcome the disappointment of having been ‘dropped’ by his previous team for the lure of more sponsorship money [note the Scott’s of Mount Gambier on the 1997 #14, something Peter obviously contributed] deserves, at a minimum equal recognition of seventh outright on the Mountain and winner of the 1997 Privateers Cup.
Appreciating that your article is probably intended to highlight the efforts of the entrant/team owner and again emphasising it is not the intention to disrespect Mr Stenniken’s obvious abilities and recognising the article does not make mention of any other co-drivers other than those with a higher profile, I do believe there is a serious flaw in this article.
Irrespective of your lack of recognition of Peter’s effort I shall continue to expand my collection of AMC and in particular fervently hope you follow the suggestion of a recent contributor who requested an in depth article on Mark Larkham’s 1995 Falcon, a truly amazing car and, in keeping with my masochistic tendency a more than favourite team owner/driver.
Dene Tucker Email
ED: Dene, it’s great to see such passion for the humble privateer. It was a mistake on AMC’s behalf not to squeeze Peter Gazzard’s name into the small piece. It ended up on the cutting room floor due to the sub-compact (ie 25 x 60 words) nature of the Top 25 list. Entrant Stenniken was really only included on the basis of jagging one top result and then, unlike so many others, being clever enough to know he was unlikely to improve upon it given the category was rapidly heading towards professionalism. Our Top 25 lists are light and fluffy infotainment and not meant to the definitive word on the topic.