Harves’ missing plaque
It’s taken over 40 years but Bathurst legend John Harvey will finally be presented with a plaque for finishing runner-up in the 1976 Hardie-Ferodo 1000. Harvey and Colin Bond were second in the Great Race that year to Bob Morris and John Fitzpatrick, but while Bob, Bondy and Fitz all received their rightful trophies at a function postevent, Harves missed out.
Torana enthusiasts in South Australia will ‘right this wrong’ at a special commemorative evening on July 8 to celebrate the dramatic 1976 Bathurst classic. That year’s race, of course, saw the winning Ron Hodgson Racing L34 limp over the line to take the chequered flag first, chased by the Holden Dealer Team example.
The evening’s organiser Paul Horner says the idea of presenting Harvey with a replica of the plaque stemmed from time he spent with the fivetime Bathurst podium-getter last year.
“Last October I spent some time with John and he showed me his Bathurst plaques and trophies – there were four of them,” Horner explained. This had an inquisitive Horner asking what became of the fifth.
The plaques were not presented on the famous Bathurst balcony immediately after the race, but at a televised official prize-giving function at Channel Seven’s Epping (Sydney) studios a month after the race. Englishman Fitzpatrick was flown back out to Australia for the occasion, joining Sydneysiders Morris and Bond at the black-tie event. Harvey, for reasons lost in the sands of time, did not attend that swish do and the plaque was accepted on his behalf by a Holden representative.
“John says he only saw the plaque once, at Holden’s Fishermans Bend headquarters in the 1990s,” Horner continues. “I asked John if he wanted me to track it down. He said he did and the challenge was accepted!”
Despite Horner’s best efforts to contact all relevant parties, including Holden, asking for info on the plaque’s whereabouts today, he’s so far drawn a blank. Paul is still hopeful of reuniting Harves with it but in the meantime has created a replica to be presented to John in Adelaide on July 8. Bob Morris will also attend the function as joint ‘headline act’ and supplied Horner with images and details of his own plaque so that a replica could be produced.
The evening, to be held at the Walkerville RSL Club, is being called ‘The Last Lap: Bathurst 1976’. Tickets – $65 per person and including a spit roast dinner – are strictly limited and available from www.brocky.com.au
For more information contact Horner via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0400 797 318. More special guests will be announced between now and July 8.
Bob Morris is yet to confirm whether he will don John Travolta’s white suit for the occasion!
And those of you who think John Harvey should actually be receiving the prize for winning the 1976 Hardie-Ferodo 500 must have missed AMC contributor David Greenhalgh’s story in the 2016 Bathurst – The Great Race magazine. The Bathurst 1000 historian, armed with some new evidence, had another look at that epic 1976 race and casts serious doubt on recurrent claims that the second-placed Bond/Harvey HDT Torana had actually been one lap ahead of the winning Morris/Fitzpatrick L34.
If you missed his story, that special magazine is available via our back issues service at www. mymagazines.com.au
AMC will publish that thought-provoking article next issue. In our opinion, Horner’s mission to provide Harves with a plaque for second place is 100 per cent the correct thing to do – in more ways in one.