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Face to Face with Allan Moffat
Chequered Flag May 1978

In 1977, one man totally dominated Australian touring car racing. This was, of course, Allan Moffat... introverted, shy, loved or hated. . . Moffat is the man to beat.
Peter Brock has done it twice this year, Allan Grice once, but Moffat is bouncing back, getting closer every round. . . and he will get back on top. His pride in his work will force him there.

He is the man of the moment. . . Chequered Flag first talked to Allan Moffat at Sandown in February, during the Rothmans Series in which he entered a new phase of his operation as the Australian Agent for Goodyear Racing Tyres. Since then we have compiled this interview, a frank, honest, and highly interesting story with Moffat the man, the business executive, and the Champion driver.

We have followed his introduction to the tyre 'war' at Sandown, his losses at Symmons Plains and Oran Park and the sensational second place at Amaroo when he first outdrove the field in the wet, on slicks, before a final corner touch saw first place slide into the wall and second seemed but an unjust reward. . . This then is Allan Moffat, Face to Face.

Chequered Flag:
Did you achieve everything that you set out to in the 1977 season, was there anything else which you would like to have done?
Allan Moffat:
No! We couldn't have done anything else, the parameters we laid down were achieved. - We would like to have won the Sandown Hang Ten 400, but that was our one poor show of the year. From the rear of the grid to third place wasn't all that disgraceful though.

Chequered Flag:
What do you want to do in 1978?
Allan Moffat:
Obviously, to repeat what we did in 1977 - whether that can be achieved will have to be answered this time 1979

Chequered Flag:
The Moffat Team philosophy. Obviously Colin Bond will continue to drive with the MFDT, but will the equal drivers, equal cars plan continue as in last season?
Allan Moffat:
Oh! Most definitely. I can't see any other way to go. It requires a lot of effort. Naturally, I think that with drivers the calibre of Peter Brock and John Harvey in one team, any thought that their cars are not properly prepared will very quickly show up. I believe the key to our success last year was the fact we had two equally prepared cars and although it was impossible for our two drivers to dead heat, having Colin in the position he was in all year to hold off any attack made it very difficult for any body else to get into second spot.

Chequered Flag:
At one stage it was mooted that Peter Brock would join the Moffat team, at that time had you considered retiring?
Allan Moffat:
Yes, there was that point; but also there was the possibility we could have three cars. . . after all, a lot of people didn't think of a two car team a year ago, so it stands to reason they would obviously not think of three.

Chequered Flag:
Were any other drivers considered for your team?
Allan Moffat:
Yes, there were quite a number, but discretion is best maintained as regards to their identity.

Chequered Flag:
There have been many rumours as regards to your career, the most recent concerning your eyesight, what do you have to say on this?
Allan Moffat:
I realise people in the press have to do their job and they are always looking for a good story. I can't think of a better story than one which says that Allan Moffat is going blind. . . I'd think that was a juicy morsel for anyone, but, if you check with my optometrist's eye chart you'll find that without my glasses I have better eyesight than most, but with my glasses of course I have 20/20 vision.

Chequered Flag:
What is your ultimate aim as a professional driver in your racing career?
Allan Moffat:
As with any career, I think it is constantly changing. Your goals modify when you start off, aiming for the stars and shooting for the moon. If you are real lucky, you hit the cat on the back fence. I think it is fair to say I've hit the cat on the back fence! Just where the future will take us is guided by many factors and it is a little hard right now to say exactly what I desire from the future, I can speak for the past in as much that Bathurst held for me a strong desire to win it with my own team. I was very proud to win three times on behalf of Ford as their works driver, but I was running a team and I wanted to win with it. Once I started racing the mountain, privately, obviously it was exciting to win it with my own team.
To win, as we did, with Colin along-side me was tremendously satisfying as it is very difficult with the limited number of circuits in Australia to get that feeling at another race or another circuit.
It's a little bit difficult to say, but our immediate objective is to win the Touring Car Championship and if we can't do that, then make it very difficult for somebody else to do so..

Chequered Flag:
Your association with Goodyear has developed to the point where you are now the distributor for Australia, of Goodyear racing tyres. How much does the business side of your racing program represent in time?.
Allan Moffat:
It is quite a minor percentage, but I think it is worth pointing out that for years I have had no other business associations - I have done nothing but concentrate 100% on getting the results from my racing team effort. It is now built up to a high and sophisticated level which is self maintaining to a certain degree. I've had an association with Goodyear over the past twelve years and it has always been on the cards that I would be appointed as Akrons racing representative in Australia.
It was no great leap forward actually, I have my beautiful International transporter and it was very simple to place Goodyear Tyres on the racks which normally held our Falcons. It has been a very gentle step, representing a certain amount of financial investment which I'm happy to say we were able to secure, and now it is a question of working hand in glove with our new customers. Peter Dear will run the operation for me. Obviously I will keep my eye on
the business closely as we develop, but not to the extent that my racing team activities will suffer.

Chequered Flag:
Although not widely known, you have become a collector of cars and trucks, including a 1924 Model T. Is this by necessity or do you have a collector's instinct?
Allan Moffat:
Collection sounds rather funny - I just haven't sold any of my race cars. Starting with the Mustang, the Capri and the Phase Three that won the ATCC in 1973. As you mentioned I've the Model T Truck, and I also have a '34 Chev one tonner and a '38 Ford two ton truck - those are well and truly for my old age, to tinker with. I'm a firm believer that you have got to start with something. The only problem with my 'collection' is time, and finding a home for them. We keep losing all our warehouses and it is a pain finding a home for them sometimes. I haven't even seen the trucks for over two years.

Chequered Flag:
One car you haven't mentioned is the Monza. Rumours had it in New Zealand recently, what is the story behind that? .
Allan Moffat:
No, that is not true, it is somewhere in between, on the way back to Australia following an anticipated meeting at Bay Park around Christmas. That didn't come off.

Chequered Flag:
What is your impression of the CAMS?
Allan Moffat:
I think that we better be quite thankful that we do have CAMS. They've been established for over twenty years and the hard work of a lot of dedicated people has got them to the level of today. We, the Australian competitors, are not thought of as Mickey Mouse cousins in the Antipodes. Rather the opposite, as the FIA Congress will be held here this year, and this augurs well for the people who have put a lot of time. and certainly unpaid time, into making CAMS a well respected body within the FlA.
Now, to say that everything is perfect would be ridiculous, and I feel that a lot of things could be done. and that we would like to see them done quicker on occasions. The paper war that exists with CAMS could be overcome if entrants and competitors would work with CAMS instead of ignoring them. Especially in regard to requests for knowledge and assistance in formulating new classes... before they are drawn up.

Chequered Flag:
How do you find the promoters in Australia?
Allan Moffat:
I think I get along with them as well as any of the professional managers in Australia. I do firmly believe as a group, our promoters do not do enough. They have their problems, but I think they tend to isolate those problems to a worry about 'what they're going to get through the gate today' at the expense of the overall sport. I don't believe they are prepared to back the sport as much as, for arguments sake, an entrant does.

Chequered Flag:
Do you regard the Touring car as the epitome of Australian motorsport?
Allan Mofrat:
Hasn't it always been?

Chequered Flag:
How much emphasis do you place on keeping fit, physically and mentally?
Allan Moffat:
You certainly can't be unfit. I don't believe in being fanatically fit as perhaps a runner or a football player has to be, but it is important to be mentally fit and physically relaxed. Not to be worried about say... whether the bills are unpaid, or if you're in a good frame of mind with your staff.
You can, however still suffer from physical unfitness. I never realised this until I contracted the flu, mixed with a severe case of jetlag, and took on a race at Amaroo... the resultant 5-7% deficiency in myself was incredible. I couldn't believe the detrimental effect it had on me.

Chequered Flag:
At race time you can appear withdrawn, severe and indeed a world apart from the people around you, Colin Bond on the other hand is the exact opposite, do you see the difference?
Allan Moffat:
If I had a personal criticism of Colin Bond, which I would find very difficult, that would be it... simply because we are different in our natures. I do find it very necessary to be thinking about what I am doing, I don't think you do get that last tenth of a tenth out of a car unless you are thinking about it. As I said, if I had a criticism of Colin... Well, I'm only jealous that he can do it and I can't.

Chequered Flag:
Sometime ago we interviewed your former crew chief Carroll Smith, in this interview he commented on his work with the team and your temper tantrums...
Allan Moffat:
Yes, that's right, I believe he said. "He'd put up with my temper tantrum and I put up with his slow plodding along!" I would refute the temper and agree with the slow plodding. Carroll was of great assistance to us but he was not the only assistance we had. Our team also comprised Andrew Bartley and a great group of mechanics and all our helpers, moonlighters, and of course Peter Molloy's tremendous efforts in preparing our engines. In all we had fifteen people in our workshop at Bathurst on Saturday night. Nineteen people when you include Colin, Jacky, Alan and myself though our contribution was minor compared to what went before... it was our total team which gave us the result and to a degree Carroll's efforts have been overplayed by the press to the detriment of the team and other engineers who worked equally as hard.

Chequered Flag:
Will the same lineup front for the team through this season?
Allan Moffat:
Yes, we've only lost one felIlow who got a little weak at the knees, other than that we are into our second season with all the knowledge, excitement and pride of last year.

Chequered Flag:
Will we see more technological advances in the Fords this season?
Allan Moffat:
Well, we're always in constant touch with our friends around the world for mechanical innovations and I can assure you that the Ford Team will not be slow in coming forward with what ever is available to us.

Chequered Flag:
Allan, thank you for bringing to our readers the 'real' you, and a prosperous season to you and your equipe.
Allan Moffat:
A pleasure talking to Chequered Flag.     

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