February 1st 2006
Motorsport - Shannons Phillip Island Classic
Brock Bros Head to Head at Phillip Island
The Brock brothers – nine times Bathurst winner Peter and his lanky brother Phil ‘(Split-pin’) – will go head to head in identical Torana A9X racing cars for the first time in nearly 30 years at the Shannons Phillip Island Classic from February 10-12.
And Peter Brock’s old Holden Dealer team mate John Harvey will join in the fun in a Group C Torana XU-1.
All three will be competing in two five lap and one six lap race for Group A and Group C touring cars during the weekend. Their 27 rivals include five other A9X Toranas, two Torana L34s, three V8 Commodores, a Falcon GT HO, an XD Falcon, four high performance Escorts, two BMW M3s and two potent Nissan Skylines.
The Brock boys most famously raced together in the major endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst in 1976 and 1977. Together, they beat Alan Moffat’s Falcon by a clear two laps in the 1976 Sandown 500 and placed third at Bathurst in their Bill Patterson-sponsored Torana L34.
The following year the Brocks were on pole position for Bathurst in a Torana A9X and finished fourth.
Peter Brock went on to win his third Bathurst in 1978, with Jim Richards co-driving his Marlboro Holden Dealer Team-sponsored A9X, but the car he will race at Phillip Island is the ex-Bob Forbes/Kevin Bartlett A9X that he competed against in the same race.
Now owned by Victorian enthusiast Rob Hands, the car has been restored to ‘letter-perfect’ 1978 race condition and eye-catching Martini livery. Peter Brock recently tested it at Melbourne’s Calder Raceway and was very impressed.
“It’s a very strong, beautifully prepared car,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun to race.”
Phil Brock’s car is the A9X that Charlie O’Brien and Garth Wigston crewed at Bathurst in 1979. It qualified fifth on the grid and finished eighth outright, while Brock and Richards enjoyed their second victory together.
Peter and Phil Brock have also competed against each several times in similar cars over the years. ‘Split-pin’ co-drove Peter Janson’s A9X at Bathurst in 1978, but they retired with a blown piston at the two-third’s distance.
In December last year, they got together again for an HQ Holden race at Winton in Victoria. Now based in Darwin, Split-pin is a regular HQ Holden racer.
John Harvey, who was Bob Jane’s Bathurst team mate in the early 1970s, will also be at Phillip Island driving one of the former T-Mart-backed 1973 LJ-Torana GTR XU-1s – still in its trademark orange livery.
That’s just the start of the closed car action at the Shannons Phillip Island Classic, with nearly 100 Group N historic touring cars entered for six additional races over the weekend, with the field split almost evening between Over 3.0-litre and Under 3.0-litre entrants.
The Over-3.0 litre field includes 23 XU-1 Toranas, 10 Ford mustangs, four Chevrolet Camaros, three Falcon GTs, two Monaros, two Jaguar Mk 2s, a Chevy Nova SS and a Chrysler Charger R/T.
The Under 3.0-litre cars range from a gaggle of Minis, Cortinas, Escorts and EH Holdens, to BMWs and Porsches.
The 33-race Shannons Phillip Island starts on Friday February 10 with untimed practice for all cars from 9.10am until 4.55pm. Nearly 300 cars have already registered for this session – more than entered the entire Sandown Historic race meeting in early November!
On Saturday morning there is official timed practice for all categories from 9.10am, with 11 races for all 470 entered cars starting at 1.20pm.
Sunday’s 21-race programme gets underway at 9.05am.
Admission to the event costs $10 Friday, $20 Saturday and $30 Sunday, with a three-day pass $40. Children under 15 and admission to the Paddock are both free.