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Johnson in the trees Bathurst '83.


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#1 Shiney005

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 03:32 PM

A couple of new pics have popped up on facebook lately.

 

The first one is the car just after the crash.  The photographer said it was eerie because everything went completely silent.

 

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Johnson couldn't get out of the drivers side window as the roof had been crushed on that side, so he climbed over the 20kg in car camera that channel 7 bolted to the floor and roll cage. Why hasn't anyone seen the footage from this? Because the guy in charge of it forgot to push the record button after turning it on. This photo is Dick about to hop in the passenger seat of Brock's VH Commodore and get a lift back to the pits. Not having to go by ambulance was the one lucky strike he had in a very unlucky week.  He can't remember the ride with Brock, or anything else between the crash and when he got back to Jill in their transporter behind the pits.

 

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Marshals getting the wreck out.

 

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A deal was done with Andrew Harris (with the help of a fist full of money from Ross Palmer from Palmer Tube Mills) to lease his XE racecar, which also involved buying the Barry Lawrence / Geoff Russell VH Commodore for Harris and Gary Cooke to race. This involved removal of all good parts from Johnson's car for fitting to the Harris car, and painting both cars. Harris had to ring his sponsor Jefferson Ford to get permission to drive a Holden, and it was given on the proviso that the Commodore wear Ford and 5.8 badges, which you can just make out on the front guards in the photo below. 

 

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In a three degrees of separation moment, the Andrew Harris Falcon hit the wall at Forrest's Elbow the year before in the hands of Bob Morris during Saturday practice, and also DNS the race.

 

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The other top nine competitors voted to allow Johnson to start the race from 10th position, although they probably knew that he wouldn't finish.  Andrew Harris and Gary Cooke finished 10th overall, and Harris received the Rookie of the Year award. 

 

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At the conclusion of the event, Dick borrowed Harris's F250 transporter which carried the leased Greens Tuff replacement, and hooked it up to his own enclosed trailer which housed the written off Johnson car.  On the way back to Queensland, the towball snapped and sent both the truck and trailer over an embankment.  Johnson was driving....and came out without a scratch, but the truck and trailer were scrap.  The Harris car on the truck had to be repaired and painted back into its original paint job before it was given back.  The Barry Lawrence Commodore was sold back to him.

After all this, Dick finally got home to find it had been burgled while he was away.   Maybe he should have just gone fishing for the week.


Edited by Shiney005, 28 April 2024 - 03:36 PM.


#2 Bruiser

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 04:23 PM

What a great story that all is
Went through Bathurst maybe 15 years ago, spent nearly a whole day at the track
boggling about how steep it all is, and how narrow it all is and how the buggery
those guys get round this bend or that bend at 200kph or whatever.
Was in a 4.1 EF falcon, which worked fairly hard all the way up to the cutting
Also stopped everywhere I could remember a prang happening, including that one -
Pulled up and looked over the fence. I didn’t turn white, but it sure felt like it
Not as tree-ey as it was in 82 or 3, but still not the kind of slope I would want to fly over at that speed
I can’t believe how those guys just take it in their stride and go racing again.
How’s the overnight effort to turn another car into Dicky’s one?
Not the same, his famous quote “ If it was a dog I’d have chained it to a fence and left it there”
He might be fordy, but a classic dude

#3 yel327

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 08:59 PM

Well he did start out driving GMH product….

I bought a GTS327 engine out in Orange many years ago, it was when I had my Cross8 so must have been 2007-ish. I took it for a lap of Mt Panorama on the way home. I can always say I got to drive a Bathurst “327” around Mt Panorama.

#4 Rockoz

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Posted 29 April 2024 - 10:16 AM

I was up there that year.

The circuit certainly did go eerily silent until news filtered down the hill that Dick was okay.

 

I spent a whole lot of time in the TAFE shed on Saturday night watching 2 cars get prepped and sprayed.

Wish I had taken my camera with me.

 

I was in the King George Tavern when the deal was struck about a replacement car for Dick.

 

I may be wrong, but the car that I watched being resprayed for Harris was predominantly red and blue and had been running as a test car for one of the teams.

Mentioned it in a Facebook post a while back and got a like form Harris on the post too.

 

Dont think Im entirely senile yet.

 

Cheers

 

Rob



#5 Shiney005

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Posted 29 April 2024 - 10:39 AM

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#6 Rockoz

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Posted 29 April 2024 - 11:54 AM

Well Laurie, pretty sure I watched them for a few hours sanding back and painting the STP T car.

The car the TAFE boys were working on wasnt that one.

 

Cheers

 

Rob






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