Moto Magazine

Action at Phillip Island

By Gardenamateur
The famous annual 1000km race at the Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst, New South Wales, actually started life as a 500 mile race at Phillip Island, Victoria, in 1960. Pictured below is the car that won the C Class in the famous race's first two years, and came so close to being the outright winner in the very first year that some people still maintain that it did win the race (although the officials didn't agree). It is, of course, a Peugeot 403, and the C-class winning team in both years, 60-61, was Geoff Russell and Dave Anderson.
This model is a 1:43 scale model originally by Altaya, but modified by an Australian enthusiast. It's number 3 in a limited edition production of 10 of these models. It's one of my favourites for many reasons, one of which is the great story of the race win that almost was.

Action at Phillip Island

I'm quite excited about this photo, as it is the first of what I hope will be a series of action shots
using my little diecast models. I was looking at a photo of a real action shot with just one car
in it, and it occurred to me that in Photoshop I could substitute my model for the real car, and the
blurred background of the action shot would do all the heavy lifting in giving that sense of
speed. Add a driver (in this case a deep-etched Jack Brabham driving a Cooper Climax in 1959)
and the only unrealistic thing is that the car is left-hand-drive, while the real car would be
right-hand-drive. It just looks more dynamic to have the driver on the viewer's side of the car.

The race win that almost was? Yep. It's like this. Each of the classes in the race started separately, at 30 second intervals. At the end of the race's 167 laps, the first car home across the finish line was the Class D Vauxhall Cresta driven by John Roxburgh and Frank Coad, seemingly the outright winner to all and sundry. However, the C-class winning Peugeot 403 finished soon after, also on 167 laps (the only other car to complete 167 laps), and it seems in the confusion of the finish of this inaugural race, the 30-second gap between the classes was somewhat forgotten. The Peugeot team claimed they finished less than 30 seconds behind the Cresta, and should have been the outright winner, but they never got anywhere with that claim, and so the inaugural winner of the famous race is down in the history books as the Cresta.
The model pictured here is captioned by its maker as the 1961 C-class winning car, as Russell and Anderson won that class in both years. It's notable for its distinctive red stripes, which made it easy for pit crews to pick out the car from the pack as it went around the course. 
The Armstrong 500 was held at Phillip Island for one more year, in 1962, and after that it moved to Bathurst, still called the Armstrong 500 for the 1963, '64 and '65 races. in 1966 it changed its name to the Gallagher 500, named after a brand of cigarettes if I remember correctly. In that first Gallagher, Mini Cooper Ss came home first-to-ninth, a race I remember very well. Perhaps that might be my next action diorama, as I do have a '66 Bathurst-livery Mini Cooper S in the cabinet...

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