Parsons the privateer
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.