The 10th anniversary year of the racing Falcons, 1977
was their best ever. Over the last few years the crowds
at race meetings had become used to seeing no more
than two or three Falcons competing - but by the time
of the 1977 Hardie-Ferodo
there were no less than 12
Falcon's on the circuits. The year opened with the shock
announcement that Colin Bond was leaving the Holden
Dealer Team to join the Moffat Ford Dealer Team.
announcement very much took everyone by surprise. However,
it wasn't all that impossible either, as both these
men had built up a solid respect and friendship for
each other over their years as rivals on the racetrack.
The third part of this very effective package was one
Carroll Smith, a highly regarded American mechanical
engineer, who had worked with the successful Ford GT-40
teams at Le Mans in the mid 1960’s.
of all this was a thoroughly professional, well equipped
and well financed racing team with only one object
in mind - winning. Several other new Falcons appeared
for the 1977 season, including the Pioneer car for
Ron Dickson, the Bryan Byrt car for Dick Johnson
a car for Jim Richards
(which had been rarely seen
in the early part of the season).
Colin Bond's first
appearance in the Falcon was at Sandown Park in February,
where he won two races from two starts - a promising
beginning! These races were completely dominated by
the Moffat Ford Dealers Team. Of the seven “short” races,
Moffat and Bond (dubbed the Dynamic Duo by the press)
came in first and second respectively in four of them.
Moffat won another with Bond in eighth place after
he blew a tire on the first lap in the Oran Park round
and in the last "short" race, at Lakeside,
Peter Brock won with Bond second and Moffat a non-finisher.
Of the “long” Championship of Makes races,
Moffat won two of the three races he entered, while
Bond scored a second, two fifths and a did-not-finish.
Other Falcon drivers did well too. Murray Carter, Ron
Dickson, Dick Johnson and later on Jim Richards were
often well up in the placings. John Goss only contested
three rounds, scoring a fourth at Amaroo and suffering
a heavy crash in the "short" race at Adelaide
and a fire in the "long" race at Adelaide.
The series was not without drama for Moffat however,
as at the fifth round at Sandown a 14-point protest
was lodged against him by Norm Gown and countersigned
by Allan Grice. After much investigation and mud-slinging,
Moffat's cars were cleared.
For the first round of the
Championship of Makes, also at Sandown, Holden introduced
their new hatchback Torana, with the A9X competition
option, including among other modifications, four-wheel
disc brakes. The A9X specifications were also available
for the four-door Torana's.
Also at Sandown, some of
the Falcons appeared with XC series bodywork for the
first time, with deeper front spoilers. At the conclusion
of these two parallel series, Allan Moffat was again
Australian touring car champion, with Colin Bond in
Also Ford won the Championship of Makes
to conclude a great year. The Rothmans 500 was a new
event for 1977
, with big prize money and national television
coverage. It was raced over 581 kilometres at Oran
Park. Six Falcon’s
started, but only two finished, the race being the
most disappointing of the year for Ford. The Dick Johnson/Jim
Richards car crashed into the wall on the first lap,
while the Falcon’s of Moffat and Bond, Ron Dickson
and Fred Gibson, and John Goss and Leo Leonard withdrew
with mechanical problems.
The first Falcon home was
the Murray Carter/Bob Stevens car in fourth place,
while Garry Willmington earned one of his best results
by coming home in eighth place, sharing his car with
Jeff Barnes. The event was won by the Pioneer Torana
of Warren Cullen and Brian Sampson.
The 1977 Hardie-Ferodo
was a great event if only for the degree of international
participation. Drivers such as Jacki Ickx, Jack Brabham
Vern Schuppan, Leo Leonard, John Fitzpatrick, Johnnie
Rutherford, Janet Guthrie, Henri Pescarolo, Gerry Marshal
and Basil Van Rooyan added a strong character to the
race. No less than 11 Falcons entered, the biggest
Ford entry since 1971.
was teamed with
Jacki Ickx, Colin Bond with Alan Hamilton, John Goss
with Henri Pescarolo, Jack and Geoff Brabharn were
together in the second Goss car, Jim Richards with
Rod Coppins, Ron Dickson with Fred bson, Dick Johnson
with Vern Schuppan, Murray Carter with Bob Stevens,
Rusty French with Leo Leonard in a new car, Rod Donovan
and Ron Lindau, the two West Australian Kings of Wanneroo
Park's "Street Class" races,
also in a car new to production touring and finally,
Jim Keogh was teamed with Graeme Ritter.
were 19 Torana’s, a mixture of
hatchback and four-door models, headed by the Marlboro-Holden
Dealer cars led by John Harvey, plus a three-car entry
from Bill Patterson Racing with Peter Brock their No
1 driver. There was good back-up in the other Torana
teams. For the first time the cars were permitted to
use two-way radios to communicate with their pit crews.
Practice saw Peter Brock on pole position with a time
of 2min 24.9sec, one-tenth better than Moffat's time
Colin Bond was next fastest with a 2min 26.4sec
to take the other position on the front row of the
grid. Moffat started. from position 4. The next best
Falcon was that of Jim Richards who unobtrusively earned
The race was dominated by Moffat, Bond,
Ickx and Hamilton, the two Falcon’s crossing
the line in a classic 1-2 formation, finishing only
inches apart after instructions were given to the cars
by Carroll Smith to put on a grandstand finish. The
two cars did the last lap side by side in one of the
most stirring moments witnessed at Bathurst.
other Falcons, only two were classed as finishers,
the Dickson/Gibson car being credited with 11th outright
after an over-rev in the opening laps did enough damage
to the engine to rob the car of a lot of power, and
the Brabham/Brabham Falcon which was racing very strongly
for most of the race, actually being third outright
(behind Moffat and Bond) for some time, was credited
with 16th outright.
The others suffered from various
maladies, Murray Carter for example, blowing an engine
after 19 laps. His crew worked for a couple of hours
to install a new engine, and after 19 further laps
that one blew as well!
The Torana challenge for this
race appeared to be, and was, very strong. But the
Moffat cars simply could not be challenged on the day.
They ran faultlessly at a very fast pace, the only
untoward happening being a tire change on Moffat's
car in the closing laps. It was the perfect conclusion
to 10 years of racing Falcon's.
Falcon Race Results 1977
Bathurst Race Results 1977
Bathurst Race Program 1977
Bathurst Memorable Moments