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Ground Control to Major Moffat
Bathurst 1977

This year's Hardie-Ferodo 1000 is not the first time two way radios have been used for car-pit communications. The Marlboro Holden Dealer Team experimented with them once before in practice. Colin Bond was with the team at'the time: "I was just about to commit myself to the Dipper when someone said - G'day, really loud, right in my ear," Bond laughs. "I almost pranged the car."

"For all I knew it could have been someone barging down the inside of me with his brakes on fire and out of control. All I could really distinguish was a loud noise and that meant danger."

If Bond uses two-way this year - and as late at two weeks ago he was unconvinced he should - he will place some very definite restrictions on its use.
"The driver must be the only one to open the conversation. If he wants to communicate with the pits he should let them know. But the pits shouldn't have the right to call up the driver."

Bond, like most top competitors, conceded the two way system, used extensively in long distance racing overseas, can be useful - but at best its a necessary evil.
"The one area we really have a problem is in briefing each other at the driver change," he says. "Take last year for example - I handed the L34 over to John Harvey and gave him a brief rundown on the state of the circuit and how the car was behaving.
"It was only when he was driving away that it occurred to me I'd forgotten to tell him it was grabbing to the right under brakes. He found out all right - but only after a big moment at Skyline."

With two way radio, drivers will be able to talk their way around the circuit - calling track conditions and assessing the car's condition, calmly, under actual race conditions.
Hardie-Ferodo race secretary Ivan Stibbard believes another large advantage in this year's event will be the use of radio as an alternate to pit signals: "Pit signals have always been hard to read at Bathurst - particularly in the afternoon as cars rush up into the sun past the pit area.
"By the use of two way, drivers can be certain not only of what they're being told, but they can also receive the information confidentially."

It is common sense that no-one in this race will be using CB radio. While tests have shown it almost certainly would work under race conditions, even on the twisting Mt. Panorama course, the last thing Allan Moffat needs to hear as he blasts through the esses is the whispered encouragement of "Bill on the Hill".
Instead Moffat has almost $10,000 worth of sophisticated VHF equipment installed in his car and his pit. Skull mikes and headsets fit comfortably under his helmet and allow him to carry on a conversation at almost room level pitch.

    

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