Home' Supercar Xtra : Apr May 2019 Issue 110 Contents SUPERCAR XTRA
Motors brand to so many successes in the
1970s. And with no Ford support for the
Falcons, it was a Torana demonstration.
The tone was set at the opener at Sym-
mons Plains Raceway. Brock took pole with
Morris alongside on the front row, then the
Holden runners tangled on the second lap
of the race. Brock dropped down the field
but salvaged fifth, while Morris’ lead was
short-lived when he suffered gearbox prob-
lems and fell to fourth. John Harvey in the
second Holden Dealer Team entry emerged
as the winner, with Allan Grice and Garth
Wigston rounding out the podium in their
Brock fought back at the second round at
Calder Park Raceway by taking a comfort-
able race win ahead of Morris in second.
The domination of Holden was complete
with all classified finishers driving Toranas.
Morris returned serve at the next round
at Oran Park Raceway, winning his first
race of the season despite a gearbox prob-
lem that slowed him in the final few laps.
Brock also encountered gearbox issues,
though he took third behind Grice, with
Harvey protecting his teammate in fourth.
Brock and Morris went wheel-to-wheel
for the win at Sandown, exchanging the
lead in the opening stages before Brock
dropped back with fading brakes. Harvey
took up the fight to Morris but spun out
following an attempted pass for the lead.
Morris won to take the championship
advantage, helped by Brock finishing third.
Brock needed to respond at Wanneroo
Park and did just that, claiming the win
despite a number of off-track excur-
sions and late pressure from Grice. And
with Grice and Harvey finishing ahead of
Morris, the championship battle had closed
up with three rounds remaining.
At Surfers Paradise, local driver Dick
Johnson threw a spanner in the works by
qualifying his XC Falcon Cobra on the front
row and leading in the early stages. How-
ever, his Falcon ran out of rubber and he
was forced into a late pitstop, handing the
lead to Charlie O’Brien. Brock closed in on
the privateer and snatched the lead and win
on the final lap, a valuable win, with Morris
once again down in fourth. Brock had a six-
point margin over Morris and recent form
suggested it would be a repeat of 1978.
But Morris bounced back at the penul-
timate round at Lakeside with a vital win
to keep his championship alive, helped by
a poor start, worn-out tyres and a time
penalty for a push start for Brock, leaving
him in fifth. Harvey and O’Brien rounded
out the podium and took valuable points
off Brock. Johnson’s misfortune continued
with a wheel failure in his second con-
secutive outing, though he had shown he
belonged on the national stage.
The championship decider would again
be held at Adelaide International Raceway,
where the previous year Brock had pre-
vailed over Morris after the latter went for
an all-or-nothing pass and lost out.
Harvey was also in contention for the
championship, and the two Holden Dealer
Team entries going up against the Ron
Hodgson Motors entry set up an intriguing
Brock took pole but the race belonged to
Morris, who secured the title with a com-
fortable win. Brock and Harvey finished
well behind in second and third.
The podium for the final race reflected
the top three in the championship stand-
ings. Peter Williamson, racing a Toyota
Celica, was fourth and the top entrant for
the under three-litre cars class. Remark-
ably, the top Ford in the championship was
Roger Cartwright’s Escort RS2000 Mk 1
under three-litre class entry.
Morris had achieved redemption fol-
lowing the previous season and added a
championship to his Bathurst win of 1976,
a remarkable double for him and the team
considering their privateer status.
Morris added to his success with victory
in the AMSCAR Series at Amaroo Park,
where he was joined by Moffat in a one-
time outing with Ron Hodgson Motors.
Morris’ luck would run out in the endur-
ance events, though, starting with a retire-
ment at the Sandown 400 won by Brock.
Grice and O’Brien continued the
domination of the Torana with wins in
the Adelaide 250 and Surfers Paradise
300 respectively, and a Holden whitewash
was well and truly expected entering the
Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.
Brock and co-driver Jim Richards had
won Bathurst by a one-lap margin in 1978
and shaped as the favourites. Moffat
SX110 p42-44 The Year That Was 1979.indd 43
21/3/19 12:00 pm
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