Vale Alan Browne

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Sport -

Alan Browne wasn’t one of the Bathurst 1000’s stereo­typ­i­cal pri­va­teers who rocked up to the Mount ev­ery year for two decades. But then, he achieved in his five starts what some peren­ni­als failed to achieve in a quar­ter of a cen­tury.

Browne’s quin­tet of cam­paigns be­tween 1979 and 1984 net­ted no fewer than four top five fin­ishes, a re­mark­able re­sult in an era of low fin­ish­ing rates for non-fac­tory teams. This in­cluded co-driv­ing the 1982 James Hardie 1000’s pole­sit­ting VH Com­modore that Al­lan Grice took to sec­ond place in the race, beaten only by Peter Brock and Larry Perkins at the peak of HDT’s pow­ers.

Born in Eng­land, the stocky Browne got into rac­ing in his adopted home­land very late, with his first race in a To­rana at Win­ton in 1978. He made his Bathurst de­but the fol­low­ing year co-driv­ing an A9X with Brian Samp­son, fin­ish­ing 17th. There­after he never fin­ished the big race lower than fifth. The ex­tra­or­di­nary run started when he and Samp­son came home a cred­i­ble fourth in a Com­modore car­ry­ing the white, yel­low and black colours of his ul­tra-suc­cess­ful truck re­pair busi­ness, Re-Car In­dus­tries. For 1981 he en­listed the tal­ents of Sports Sedan champ Tony Ed­mond­son. They were run­ning an ex­cel­lent fifth out­right when Ed­mond­son ar­rived on the scene of the Bob Mor­ris/Chris­tine Gib­son track-block­ing and race-end­ing crash.

Then came his afore­men­tioned best re­sult, which, ac­cord­ing to the ’82 Great Race an­nual book, prompted him to de­clare on the podium that he was go­ing to re­tire from rac­ing, so de­lighted was he with the re­sult. None­the­less the rac­ing bug still bit and he was en­tered in ’83 to co-drive with his Com­modore’s new owner Rusty French, but stepped aside for Bob Mor­ris two days be­fore the race. Fit­tingly, Browne ex­ited Bathurst on a high with fifth place part­ner­ing Barry Lawrence in ’84.

Browne died in July.

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