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GALLERY: The history of #43 in ATCC/Supercars

THE Ken Block tribute livery on Cam Waters’ Tickford Racing Ford for the VAILO Adelaide 500 means a championship-winning number will return to the Supercars grid for the first time in almost two decades.

The number was Block’s signature throughout his career behind the wheel, with a simple origin.

“It doesn’t really mean anything, it actually was my favourite number as a kid, so I was using it on my dirt bike and then when I started racing cars,” the DC Shoes co-founder told Transmission in 2011.

“Coincidentally, I would love to claim this is the thought behind it, although it really isn’t – but the letters ‘D’ and ‘C’ are the 4th and 3rd letters of the alphabet. That’s just a wonderful coincidence, but I can’t really claim any such intelligence behind choosing it.”

Waters’ use of the number will mark its 104th round appearance across Australian Touring Car Championship and Supercars Championship history, placing it 49th among all numbers used across the past six decades.

Moffat at Sandown in 1984; injuries from a crash at Surfers Paradise forced him to miss the closing rounds. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

Allan Moffat earnt all of the number’s race wins and sole championship victory, having carried #43 on his Peter Stuyvesant-backed Mazda RX-7s throughout the early 1980s.

He took it to his fourth and final championship title in 1983, along with seven race wins and 11 podium finishes between its first triumph at Lakeside in 1982 and its last at Wanneroo in 1984, a victory that was also the last of Moffat’s career.

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Moffat’s wasn’t the first Mazda to carry the #43 however; the RX-3s of Craig Bradtke, Nick Louis and Steven Stockdale raced under the number in 1975, 1977 and 1978/79 respectively.

Being a high-ish number, #43 was often used by cars outside the outright class.

Holden’s Ford getting rounded up by the Toranas of Peter Brock and Colin Bond during the 1976 Sandown 400. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

Its first championship appearance came aboard a little Renault R8 at the 1966 ATCC at Bathurst, which Ross Edgerton raced to 18th place.

Small car stalwart Bob Holden also used the #43 just once, at the 1976 Sandown 400. Numbers were traditionally allocated to classes at endurance races, even in 1976 and 1977 when they were incorporated into the ATCC, and Holden was unable to use his preferred #13 on his Ford Escort.

The #43 is also a significant number for Brad Jones; his first championship start at Adelaide International Raceway in 1986 came with that number on his Mitsubishi Starion.

After being used by privateer runners Clive Smith, Brian Callaghan Jr and Brian Bolwell in the latter days of the Group A era, the number disappeared from the grid for several years.

Paul Weel brought it back in 1998, the 18-year-old carrying the #43 on his ex-Longhurst Racing Ford Falcon when he made his debut at the opening ATCC round at Sandown.

Weel is the most prolific user of the number, having carried it for 55 round starts between 1998 and 2002, his last season aboard a Ford Falcon prior to the team shifting under the Holden Motorsport umbrella for 2003, when he switched to the #16.

He would have been the last driver to use the number in the championship, too, until franchise rules meant the PWR Racing-owned #43 franchise had to make appearances during the 2004 season.

Sydneysider David Krause made a handful of appearances in the early part of the season, including at the Adelaide 500, while Tasman Motorsport leased the franchise for the Oran Park round in order to give Fabian Coulthard his championship debut.

The #43 also appeared at the Sandown and Bathurst enduros on the Holden Young Lions entry of Christian D’Agostin/Kurt Wimmer, with the former giving the number its most recent championship start at the 2004 season finale at Eastern Creek.

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