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HomeNewsClassic CarsRyco Rewind: Grice's Sandown winning donation

Ryco Rewind: Grice’s Sandown winning donation

SANDOWN in Melbourne has hosted its fair share of great touring car races and, on this day, February 20, back in 1983 it hosted a ripper.

The second round of the Australian Touring Car Championship – the International Motor Show Trophy – was run over 26 laps of the old, original Sandown layout and it was a day for the V8-powered Commodores.

Allan Grice’s STP Roadways car got to the chequered flag in front of Peter Brock’s Marlboro Holden Dealer Team Commodore after a race-long scrap.

But this round came amid the backdrop of something far more important than motorsport.

The round was held just a matter of days after the terrible Ash Wednesday fires that had scarred Victoria and South Australia.

Rather than keep his winnings, race victor Grice donated his $1250 winner’s cheque to the Bushfire Relief Appeal.

George Fury’s Nissan Bluebird turbo jumped into the lead at the start of the race but was quickly overhauled by the V8s of Brock and Grice down the back straight on the opening lap.

The two Holdens had battled fiercely until Grice lunged into the lead at the old turn two in front of the-then pits (now turn four on the modern Sandown layout).

Grice moved clear and left Brock to eventually be caught and passed by Allan Moffat’s Mazda RX-7 for second place, who then caught leader Grice as the race approached its finale.

Murray Carter came home fifth in his John Sands Falcon. Photo: an1images.com / Dale Rodgers.

Just a matter of months after the two had featured in a controversial finish to the Castrol 400 enduro at Sandown, the two drew side-by-side in the closing laps, though the little rotary broken an axle while launching a move down the outside into turn two and was out of the race.

Grice came home 3.5-seconds clear of Brock with Dick Johnson third in his Palmer Tube Mills Falcon XE, Fury fourth and Murray Carter’s John Sands Falcon in fifth.

Brock wasn’t the only one to drive the #05 Commodore at this round either; his 1982 Bathurst 1000 winning co-driver and workshop manager, Larry Perkins, practiced the car in the second Saturday practice session.

Why so? Brock was absent from the track to attend the birth of daughter Alexandra.

This story is the latest in our series of Ryco Rewind stories as we take a look back through Australian motorsport history and explore the great races, drivers and cars from the past on the relevant anniversary.

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