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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 09:59

Anniversary special: Moffat’s magnificent 1977

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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. With the 40th-anniversary celebrations of Allan Moffat's magnificent season, we took the opportunity to pin the racing legend down for a chat for the cover story of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #101.

Issue #101 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #101.

Nothing could touch Moffat and his Moffat Ford Dealers team in 1977. There were 11 rounds 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 the 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 team 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 fucking around 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 telegraphic 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!"

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #101 to read the full feature.

Also included with the print edition is a Moffat Ford Dealers pullout poster.

CLICK HERE to purchase the poster.