CAN FORD CONVERT POLE INTO BATHURST VICTORY?

Pole! Cam Waters and co-driver Will Davison will line up on pole for the 2020 Bathurst 1000. Photo: Tickford Racing.

TICKFORD Racing has had various titles and banners over the years (Ford Performance Racing and Prodrive Racing Australia) but the fact remains – it has more pole positions at Bathurst in the Supercars era than any other Ford team.

But here’s the kicker – they haven’t converted any of them into a victory – yet.

Cameron Waters put them on pole again at Bathurst today with a stunning lap in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang GT.

He’s scored the 6th pole for the team at The Great Race, though will be just the fifth occasion where the team has physically started on the pole position given Chaz Mostert started second on the grid last year, though is officially deemed the pole-sitter for 2019 in the wake of Scott McLaughlin’s post-weekend exclusion.

The team’s Bathurst 1000 wins in 2013 and 2014 didn’t come from pole – in 2013 Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards won from second on the grid and Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris won in 2014 from 25th on the grid.

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So, what has happened when the team has taken pole position?

Generally, heartbreak after showing plenty of speed and leading laps on each occasion.

The team’s first Bathurst pole in 2007 finished up in a 10th place finish for Winterbottom and Richards – that was the year of Frosty’s huge ‘off’ in the Chase while leading late in the race.

Winterbottom grabbed pole again in 2010, however co-driver Luke Youlden was at the wheel when the car had an issue and hit the wall near the Cutting. He limped back to the pits and they were able to get going though finished ninth.

Will Davison was next to take pole for the team in 2012 in the 1977 Moffat/Bond 1-2 inspired FG Falcon, however his day turned to muck for various reasons, culminating in a brake line being sheared by a broken anti-roll bar on his way into the Chase that sent the #6 Falcon on a wild ride through the sand.

He and Kiwi co-driver John McIntyre finished a distant 24th.

David Reynolds splashed to pole in The Bottle-O Falcon in a wet Shootout in 2015 but he and Dean Canto were forced to settle for sixth in the race.

Not being able to convert pole into a win isn’t a Tickford thing – it’s proven hard to do for every team over the years, particularly Ford teams.

A Ford has converted starting physically on pole into Bathurst victory just once since the race became a 1000-kilometre event in 1973 – and that was McLaughlin and Alex Premat’s victory last year.

The only other Fords to start on pole and win The Great Race were the Falcon GT-HOs of Allan Moffat in 1970 and 1971 when the race was a 500-miler.

Waters’ pole was Ford’s 25th in the history of the Bathurst 500/1000, leaving it two clear of old rival Holden on 23.

Whether he and Will Davison can convert it into victory on race day remains to be seen – if they can do it they will write their own chapter of Tickford Racing history.

FPR/PRA/TICKFORD RACING’S BATHURST POLE CAR YEAR-BY-YEAR

YEARDRIVERSGRID POSLAPS LEDRESULT
2007Winterbottom/Richards1st7410th
2010Winterbottom/Youlden1st69th
2012Davison/McIntyre1st3224th
2015Reynolds/Canto1st186th
2019Mostert/Moffat1st *3915th
Note – Mostert/Moffat are recognised in history books as the pole car, though physically started from second on the grid in the 2019 race.
Will Davison took pole in 2012 for FPR, but it all went wrong on race day. Photo: Supplied.
With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.