It’s 30 years since the Ford Sierra hit Australian touring cars by storm. Dick Johnson reflects back on the turbocharged weapon that turned his Dick Johnson Racing team into a dominator in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #102.
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A sweat-drenched Johnson fiddles with an ear plug. He smiles, almost sinisterly, as his interviewer asks him about the race so far. Johnson is happy, he'd led the opening stint of the race before handing his Ford Sierra to co-driver John Bowe at the first stop, and even a fuel filler problem which dropped them to 11th wasn't enough to dislodge the grin.
"Were you surprised to be so competitive over here?" comes the question, asked with a syrupy British accent. Johnson's smile grows wider, his eyes sparkle as he quietly chuckles to himself.
"Ah, yeah, okay," is his response, dripping with sarcasm. "I mean, you're obviously quite a match for the other Sierra Cosworths," the interviewer insists, desperate to pull some morsel of genius from the man who'd dominated the opening laps.
Johnson duly delivers, the smile fixed across his face as he retorts: "Mate, we convicts can do anything!"
Now, nearly three decades on from that interview at Silverstone in August 1988, Johnson considers the weekend one of his proudest moments, taking on the world with his Australian-developed Sierra.
His eyes sparkled that day not simply because he'd shown that he was as good as anyone in the world, they sparkled as he claimed revenge for Bathurst in 1987, where he'd been left a humiliated spectator from lap four as a bunch of foreigners went on to dominate Australia's biggest race.
"One of my favourite, bar none photos, was at Silverstone, down the Hanger straight there where on lap one we've got 200 metres on two Eggenberger cars and a Rouse car is another 50 metres behind that," he says with the mischievous twinkle that was there all those years ago.
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