Par­sons the pri­va­teer

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Man -

ForF Bathurst 1998 Par­son teamed with Si­mon Wills in a Wynns-backed Gib­son Motorsport Com­modore. They were well po­si­tioned in the top 10 when Wills was the un­for­tu­nate vic­tim of a melee at For­rest’s El­bow that took out a num­ber of run­ners in­clud­ing the David ‘Truckie’ Par­sons/Robert Smith Com­modore. Nei­ther of the Par­sons were in the driver’s seat at the time.

As fate would have it, the fol­low­ing year David ‘Skippy’ Par­sons re­ceived a phone call from David ‘Truckie’ Par­sons, which he thought was a big ruse.

“It was ironic. He got my num­ber and rang me up. ‘How ya go­ing, David? It’s David Par­sons speak­ing.’ I went real quiet on the phone and thought some­one was hav­ing a lend of me? He said, ‘Fair dinkum it’s ‘Truckie’ Par­sons.’

“I still thought it was a set-up! But then he said he had a car, with spon­sor Chal­lenge Re­cruit­ment on­board.

“I was up in the bush. I was work­ing as a log­ging con­trac­tor by then.”

So it came to be that two David John Par­sons shared a Com­modore at Bathurst. Prac­tice was fraught with ‘Truckie’ short­en­ing the Com­modore in a crash at Cas­trol Curve. With no qual­i­fy­ing time they started rear of grid but bought the bat­tered Com­modore home an im­pres­sive 11th, cov­er­ing 159 laps. For Skippy it was a very long day at the wheel.

“I was happy to get an un­com­pet­i­tive car home in a good place. It was a bloody big ef­fort, the hard­est Bathurst I’ve ever done in my life. The car was bent. There was a spacer on the front wheel so it wouldn’t rub the guard. The bump-steer­ing was so bad it was pulling the steer­ing wheel out of your shoul­ders.”

There would be one fi­nal run at Bathurst in 2000 with Paul Ro­mano in a Com­modore. It was an in­aus­pi­cious end­ing for the Bathurst veteran.

“The gear­box broke after 23 laps. It was the first Bathurst that I never had a drive in,” he re­mem­bers.

Par­sons never ac­tively looked for a drive at Bathurst after 2000 due to health rea­sons.

“I have a chronic auto-im­mune con­di­tion. I never knew but I had it back in 1984 and all the way through. I was very red in the face when I got out of a race­car. I had a lot of mus­cle fa­tigue. It wasn’t till re­cently that they picked it up. Nearly fixed me, I tell you. Was in in­ten­sive care a cou­ple of times. It’s been a strug­gle. There have been heavy drugs and chemo. But I’m con­trol­ling it and am up and about now.”

Race out­ings have been few and far be­tween. In the 1998 Targa Tas­ma­nia he fin­ished sec­ond in Vaughan Guthrie’s Mazda RX7, only to be dis­qual­i­fied. There have been re­cent out­ings in a HQ Holden owned by John Wise and the odd his­toric event like the Long­ford Re­vival where AMC caught up with Skippy last year.

Above: What are the chances of two un­re­lated David John Par­sons team­ing up to drive to­gether at Bathurst? Below: Rac­ing at the 2014 Mus­cle Car Masters.

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