0

No products in the cart.

Features

Bathurst 1977, Ford’s most famous moment

Remembering Ford’s famed one-two formation finish at Bathurst in 1977 in SupercarXtra issue #128.

21 May 2023

Ford’s most famous moment in Australian touring cars is Allan Moffat Racing’s one-two formation finish at the 1977 Bathurst 1000. Allan Moffat recounted that iconic moment in the history of not only Ford but also the Great Race at Mount Panorama in in SupercarXtra issue #128, a special Ford edition.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #128.

CLICK HERE to access the digital edition of issue #128.

Wind the clock back to 1967 and you’ve got the first Falcon V8 rocking up at Bathurst, winning and ushering in a new age for Australian-made cars. Fast forward to 1987 and it is the Sierra heralding a new era for the brand. Trip onwards to 1997 and the maiden V8 Supercars title with Glenn Seton, 2007 and another Bathurst win for Triple Eight Race Engineering with Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup and 2017 and DJR Team Penske’s rise to the top.

Slap two sevens together, meanwhile, and you arrive at a year when Ford’s biggest star of the day, Allan Moffat, absolutely steamrolled the opposition, first to his third championship, then to his fourth and final Bathurst win, the latter with a crushing one-two formation finish that would haunt Holden fans until Peter Brock and his Holden Dealer Team finally equalled the feat in 1984. For many Australian touring car devotees who view the world through a blue tint, 1977 might just be the most sacred year of all in Australian motorsport.

Nothing could touch Moffat and his Moffat Ford Dealers team in 1977. There were 11 rounds in that year’s Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) – in a forerunner to today’s all-in-one championship seasons, it included the Sandown, Adelaide, Surfers Paradise and Phillip Island enduros – and Moffat ran away with seven of them.

Teammate Colin Bond, who had controversially been tempted away from the factory Holden Dealer Team to drive for arch-rival Ford, won another race. Six of their combined eight wins were done with one-two finishes. Add the famous Bathurst one-two finish to that and you’ve got nine wins out of 12 for the team, seven of them one-twos. That’s a lot of winning, but ask Moffat about 1977 and, like most fans, his thoughts jump straight to the big one, Bathurst. Or, more specifically, the brake issue that slowed him late in the race.

“Would you believe me if I told you I only drove about 12 laps towards the end there with the brake pedal on the floor?” he says. “(It happened) when I went across the top of the hill, across McPhillamy. The moment I went down through the Dipper the pedal went down to the floor.

“I thought, ‘Shit! I’ve got to turn left at the end of this corner!’ I was ready to throw it into first gear, I can assure you of that!”

The team orders that followed, sealing the Moffat-Bond one-two running order, have generated plenty of debate over the years, but to Moffat it’s all pretty simple. If there had been a threat to the team victory, he would have let Bond go. With their nearest rivals more than a lap behind, the pressure was off and the ultimate form finish could be enacted.

“I was conscious of the one-two aspect even before I had no brakes, we were so far ahead of everyone else,” he says.

“I was already slowing down and trying to close the gap. At one stage I had a full lap ahead of him (Bond). I wanted him up with me so we could get the one-two finish.

“So he was second in command. He was there and as long as I was in front and keeping going, I wasn’t getting on the phone going, ‘By the way, mate, I haven’t got any brakes so, you know, you better come up and catch me.’ It was really only with about four laps to go that he got up to me.”

In any case, says Moffat, the final call was made out on the track. There was nothing stopping Bond from nipping in front of his boss, but he respected the deal.

“We get up to that last little bridge,” says Moffat, using his hands to illustrate the two Falcons’ relative positions.

“I’m already in first gear because I didn’t need to bother with the brake pedal; I didn’t have one! And Colin’s come down here like this, and I’m here and he’s there, and we’re trying to go around the bend.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘I’m sending you a telepathic message, back off, we’re going around the corner together!’ and, well, he did back off and we came around the corner like that.

“By the time we got to the last straight we were already like that [places one hand slightly in front of the other] and Colin never went to pass and that’s how we finished. And to this day the photographs show the number one of my car and the number two of his, the best bloody form finish of all time!”

While competitive angst between teammates is common today, Moffat says it wasn’t a factor back in 1977.

“Colin was never anything other than pleasant about it,” says Moffat.

“I was in charge of the team and he was very gracious about it. He’d got more money that year than he’d ever seen in his life!”