ON THIS DAY: THE FIRST WINS FOR MOFFAT, TRANS-AM MUSTANG

Allan Moffat heads Norm Beechey on his way to his first ATCC race win aboard his beloved Coca-Cola Trans-Am Ford Mustang. Pic: an1images.com / Terry Russell

MARCH 22 marks a significant anniversary in the career of multiple Australian Touring Car Champion and Bathurst 500/1000 winner Allan Moffat.

On this day in 1970, Moffat took his first win in a championship race in the season-opening race at Calder Park.

Starting from his first ATCC pole position, Moffat ran out the winner by just over seven seconds after 50 laps of Calder’s original 1.6-kilometre layout.

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The Ford Mustang pilot didn’t have it all his own way, battling with a charging Norm Beechey aboard his brand-new Holden Monaro.

Beechey charged from 12th on the grid to pass early-leader Moffat, only for a tangle with a slower car to fold a guard onto the yellow Holden’s tyre.

The subsequent delay effectively left Moffat unchallenged for the victory, with all his other main opposition also out of contention.

Fellow front-row starters Bob Jane and Ian Geoghegan both had dramas with their Mustangs after running well-up early – in fact, Moffat and Jane rubbed panels as the former came through to lap the latter!

And as for reigning ATCC champion Geoghegan, his spectacular exit on Lap 16 is best illustrated with a photo:

A broken rear axle sent the left-rear wheel under Geoghegan’s Mustang, pitching him high into the air at the first corner and leaving him a spectacular retirement. Pic: an1images.com / Terry Russell

That left Moffat’s closest challengers as the two Porsches of Brian Foley and Jim McKeown, the only other cars to finish on the lead lap.

The victory was also the first of seven championship race wins for Moffat’s iconic Coca-Cola Trans-Am Mustang, which had failed to finish its two previous ATCC appearances the previous year.

Also worthy of note was the pilot of the car who finished in 16th place, 30 laps down aboard an enthusiastically-driven EH Holden: Garry Rogers.

Garry Rogers made the first of 20 ATCC round starts as a driver at the Calder round in 1970. Pic: an1images.com / Terry Russell
Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.