NOT many people can claim to have won at Bathurst with the legendary Peter Brock.
Tasmanian racing car driver David Parsons belongs to that select group.
This weekend the 53-year-old Wynyard resident returned to the scene of his greatest motor sport triumphs at Mount Panorama by special invitation of V8 Supercars as one of the legends of the sport.
It’s a long way from the paddock at Spreyton where he learnt to drive as a 10 or 11-year-old sliding an old car around on the grass.
“It’s a big event being the 50th anniversary year at Bathurst, and the crowd and the excitement and the build-up has been overwhelming,” Parsons told The Sunday Examiner yesterday.
“I’d struggle to spell legend, let alone be one – but it’s been really good.
“I am looking forward to the race tomorrow – to have a Ford and a Holden on the front row for the very last time is just fantastic – you couldn’t get it any better.”
Nicknamed “Skippy”, the son of Tasmanian touring car racer Graham Parsons began his involvement in motor racing driving Holdens at Symmons Plains in the 1982 Australian touring car championship.
He joined privateer racer Peter Janson as his endurance co-driver, and his fourth place at the 1982 James Hardie 1000 brought him to the attention of Brock and the Holden Dealer Team.
Co-driving John Harvey’s No. 25 Commodore, Parsons was part of the HDT’s dominant 1-2 finish at the 1984 James Hardie 1000.
He went on to win the 1987 race as co-driver with the famous “Brocky”.
When the 05 car Parsons shared with Brock experienced a major engine failure in the early running, they commandeered the team’s second car, No. 10, which had been driven to that point of the race by Peter McLeod.
As rain affected the second half of the race, they crawled their way back to finish third behind the 1-2 finish of the Ford Sierras.
Subsequently the two Sierras were disqualified, giving Parsons, Brock and McLeod the race victory.
“I’ve got a lot of memories here when I first started back in 1982 with Peter Janson when we finished fourth outright, which was a huge highlight.
“The 1-2 finish in ’84 with Brock in the Marlboro cars was really special.
“And then I guess you progress along to ’87 with Peter when we were the first Holden home.
“We ended up winning that in the end, which was a huge plus to how Brock was with the legality of the car and the relationship breakdown with Holden, and we did that on a shoestring budget, which was very rewarding.
“Then I have strong memories of racing Fords with Glenn Seaton, the most unlucky man around who never won Bathurst.
“We should have won it in 1995, when we were a lap and a quarter in front with eight laps to go and the car stopped, which was unbelievable.
“And then we had another situation in ’96 – we were fastest in the top 10, pole, and a rotor guard came loose in the engine, which was ridiculous.
“We still finished 10th or 11th after being dead last – so it’s been the highs and lows, but others will understand it that way.”
Parsons said he still held a soft spot for Holdens because of his early connection racing with Brock and driving the VK Commodore, which he described as a “special car”.
“The things Brocky did were very special and I admired him as a driver.
“I’ve been in a car with him out on the road while he was driving and I’ve been driving while he was a passenger.
“He and I had an enormous respect for each other and we drove hard.”
Parsons got to relive the memories of his Bathurst victory yesterday, piloting the Marlboro VK Commodore on a memorable lap around the Mount Panorama circuit for the first time since 1984.
“Bathurst is the pinnacle of motorsport in Australia – the grand final if you like,” he said.
“Even now when I come up here after all these years, it still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck just as it did when I first came here in ’82.
“It is a track you have to attack and take by the scruff of the neck, but by the same token you have to respect it otherwise it will bite you.
“I just really enjoyed driving the VK again and it brought back special memories.
“Across the top of the mountain I got stuck into it and it was unbelievable – you could hear the crowd and they could relate to it – it sounds like a real V8 and they enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Tasmanian racing driver David Parsons in 1984
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.