Thirteen Falcon GTHO Phase 3’s
started in the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo, led by the
works' cars of Allan Moffat and John French.
Once again Moffat gained pole position, with
a best lap practice of 2:38.9, 10 seconds faster
than 1970, which did not encourage the Torana
and Charger crews, who then had to hope on a
series of mechanical failures from the big Ford’s
to stand a chance.
As it happened, although five
of the Falcons did fail to finish, only one of
these was due to mechanical problems, this being
the car of Trevor Meehan, who suffered brake
problems. Of the four retirements, the Gibson/Seton
car had its differential fail after someone had
accidentally put odd tyres
on the rear, the Beck/Rush
car crashed, Bob Morris’s
car overheated after a sheet of newspaper stuck
over the grille.
And Bill Brown suffered yet another
dreadful rollover, when his Falcon blew a tyre
at McPhillamy Park and rolled along the top of
the fence, the car being virtually cut in two
). It was a terrifying
crash and TV viewers were treated to it’s
replay time and time again during the afternoon.
Allan Moffat led the race all the way and never
looked like losing it, but to add to Ford’s
triumph, Falcon’s also came in second and
third (Barnes/Skelton and McKay), fifth (French)
and seventh (Goss). The good result must have
been very pleasing to Ford, not only for their
sales figures, but also for Howard Marsden, who
took over the leadership of Ford's racing activities
just before Bathurst and was confronted with
the fact that the reliability of the modified
Cleveland engines was still fairly unknown. The
engines did hold together, and very well too,
so the months of time and effort put into them
were not wasted.