Significant changes were made to the administration
of the touring car and manufacturers championships
in 1976. The two series were combined to form one long
series, consisting of a scheduled eight “short” races
and four "long" ones. All 12 races counted
towards the touring car championship, with double points
being awarded for the "long" ones.
longer events formed what was now called the Championship
of Makes, working from a complicated scoring system.
The Hardie-Ferodo 1000 was no longer a part of any
series, the race reversing to its former “one-off" status.
Also, the South Pacific series was allowed to die a
natural death, being replaced with the “Goodrich
Radial Challenge” for under 3-liter cars. This
meant that the first series for the big touring cars
in 1977 was the Australian touring car championship.
Unlike the previous two years, the 1976 touring car
championship was a highly interesting affair.
a close-fought contest between Allan Moffat's red Falcon
and Colin Bond's Marlboro-Holden Dealer Team Torana.
Several races were run over two heats, place-getters
in each heat getting points and then overall positions
being established by the totalling of points. Then
the normal championship points were given to the place-getters.
Harvey (Torana) won the first round at Symmons Plains,
with Bond second. Moffat came in sixth after selecting
the wrong tires and Murray Carter, driving the only
other Falcon, failed to finish after leading the race.
Round two at Calder went to Moffat, with Bond second.
Uncharacteristically, Murray Carter failed to finish
for the second time in two events.
The third round,
at Oran Park, was a two heat event, Moffat gaining
a second and a first to take the round and the lead
in the series. At Sandown Bond won, while all three
Falcons (Moffat, Keogh and Carter) did not finish.
Next came a sensational Amaroo round, again in two
heats. In the first heat there was a very bad accident
on the first corner when Allan Grice pushed Bond sideways
across the centre of the track where he was clobbered
by Bob Skelton's Torana. Bond's car swung across the
track, the rear end smashing into an unlucky Bo Seton's
Capri. Skelton, Bond and Seton all suffered extreme
damage to their cars. Grice went on to win the heat
but was later excluded from the results and fined.
was the first Falcon home, in seventh place, after
making a pit stop to replace a tire which had pitched
up debris as a result of the first lap incident. The
other Falcon’s, those of Carter and Keogh,
failed to finish. Moffat won the second heat, taking
points for second place overall. The sixth round at
Adelaide was even more dramatic.
The Adelaide jinx
struck Allan Moffat yet again when his transporter
and car were burnt out in a spectacular fire in the
Adelaide hills on the Thursday before the race. This
created a lot of publicity for the race, but didn't
help Moffat's championship efforts.
John Goss saved
the day by lending Moffat his Falcon for the weekend,
Moffat responding by earning equal fastest time in
practice and by winning both heats of the round. It
was a brilliant display by Moffat and one which earned
him the respect of even the most hardened Holden supporters.
Murray Carter picked up fourth overall with a fifth
and fourth in the two heats and Jim Keogh got some
consolation by winning a sports sedan race after having
an unhappy time.in the championship events. The final "short" race
was held at Lakeside with Moffat again driving Goss's
Again the round was a two-heat affair, Moffat
and Bond each winning one heat, but Bond ultimately
getting top points. Murray Carter was credited with
fourth overall, Barry Sharp driving Garry Willmington's
Falcon got eighth and Jim Keogh spectacularly rolled
his car in the second heat, completely demolishing
it. A feature of this round was the close and exciting
dicing between Moffat and Bond.
The points score situation
between these two was very close going into the "long" races,
with Moffat on 58 and Bond on 54. In July, Ford released
a new range of Falcons called the XC series. Again
it was just a slight restyle of the previous model
- but it was important because it did not have a Falcon
GT model included. The replacement was the Fairmont
GXL with four-wheel discs as standard equipment.
351 engine was available as an option and a car similar
to the old GT specifications could be built up through
optioning. It was sad to see the end of the Falcon
GT, although as a concept it was dated by emission
controls and diminishing petrol reserves. However,
on the racetrack the GT carried on.
A great deal of
interest was being generated in the “Championship
Of The Makes” series, mainly because of the closeness
of the Touring Car Championship. With points for that
series counting double, it was certain to be a cliff-hanger.
The first round, the Hang Ten 400 at Sandown was a
Not only did Allan Moffat have a
brand new Falcon, “Operation Phoenix" painted
in an attractive red, white and blue color scheme,
but he also took the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser,
for a couple of quick laps around the circuit. Mr Fraser
was there to present the trophy to the winner of the
Australian Grand Prix which was on the same day.
winner, incidentally, was John Goss, who thus became
the only man to win the Australian Grand Prix and Bathurst.
There were three other Falcon's in the event, two of
them new. Murray Carter had finally replaced the faithful
old Superbird with a new one, complete with a striking
new color scheme.
The other Falcon was the Goss car being driven by Jim
Richards. A huge crowd added to the spectacle. The
race was eventually won by Peter Brock with Moffat
coming in second after a forced tire change caused
by a puncture which just may have cost him victory.
The final three rounds were held after the Hardie-Ferodo
1000 and all were won by Torana’s.
Allan Grice was first and Murray Carter second, after
both cars went the full 250 km without a pitstop. Moffat
came fourth after pitting for a broken spark plug when
he was in the lead. At Surfer's Paradise, Peter Brock
came up trumps, with Moffat in second place. Moffat
pitted because of handling problems caused by an out-of-round tire - not an easy problem to trace. Murray Carter
came in third. John Goss failed to finish, the car
not having completed any race in the series so far
(Jim Richards drove it in the first two rounds).
second place at Surfer's was sufficient to ensure Moffat
of the touring car title in 1976. Obviously it was
a great personal triumph for him, considering the Adelaide
fire disaster. He did not start in the final round
at Phillip Island, which Colin Bond won. Both the Falcons
which entered failed to finish, these being the cars
of Carter and Keogh. But back the 1976 Hardie-Ferodo,
the first time the race had genuinely attracted international
interest, mainly through the entry of Australia's own
three times former world champion Jack Brabham
with the legendary Stirling Moss, driving a Torana.
Other internationals included expatriate Australian
Vern Schuppan partnering Allan Moffat and English long-distance
ace John Fitzpatrick driving with Bob Morris in the
Ron Hodgson Torana. There were two other Falcons entered,
the Brian Wood car being crewed by Murray Carter and
Ray Winter and the John Goss/Jim Richards car.
looked good for Ford with Moffat getting pole position
with a incredible time of 2 min 25 sec. Goss was there
too, with fifth fastest, while Carter was back on 13th
position. The race started on a very dramatic note
when Jack Brabham's Torana was stuck on the grid with
jammed gears, and was then rammed very hard from behind.
This incident effectively put Brabham and Moss out
of the race, but the car reappeared several hours later
simply for appearances. Eventually the motor blew while
Moss was at the wheel.
It was, incidentally, the first
time Stirling Moss had driven on slick racing tires!
Things didn't look too bad for Ford when, at half distances,
Moffat and Schuppan were 40sec in front and doing it
easily. Suddenly the crankshaft pulley on Moffat's
car failed, cooking the engine and putting a disappointing
end to a fine effort.
Neither of the other two Falcons
lasted the distance, but were still classed as finishers.
Goss was credited with 29th outright after retiring
with a broken clutch with 129 laps to his credit. Actually
Jim Richards did most of the driving, as Goss himself
was ill on the day.
The Murray Carter/Ray Winter Falcon
blew its engine after 148 laps and was credited with
17th outright. The eventual winner, in a very exciting
finish was the Morris/ Fitzpatrick Torana which crossed
the line in a very sick state just ahead of the also
ailing Colin Bond/John Harvey Torana. Fastest lap was
shared between Moffat and Brock at 2min 28.4sec.
Falcon Race Results 1976
Bathurst Race Results 1976
Bathurst Race Program 1976
Bathurst Memorable Moments