Fifty years on: Brock's first Sandown win

29 Aug
Peter Brock was also the King of Sandown
2 mins by James Pavey

Peter Brock is forever known as the King of the Mountain, but he was also the King of Sandown.

Brock won the Sandown and Bathurst endurance races on nine occasions each.

And while he remains the clear leader in Bathurst victories, with Craig Lowndes and Jim Richards next best on seven, his Sandown tally is arguably further out of reach.

That is because his nearest threats are Lowndes and Allan Moffat on six, and the vintage Victorian venue is widely regarded as being in its final years before an inevitable closure.

Brock’s first win in the Sandown enduro came 50 years ago, on September 9, 1973.

The race was then known as the Sandown 250 in reference to its 250-mile (400km) format.

In a field stacked with household names, Brock guided his Holden Dealer Team LJ Torana GTR XU-1 to victory with a race time of two hours, 56 minutes and 58.9 seconds.

Moffat on track

Teammate Colin Bond was just 2.5 seconds behind at the finish, completing a HDT one-two.


The race had been headed a very different way, however.

Ford factory drivers Moffat and Fred Gibson locked out the front row of the grid, with Brock and Bond seven-plus tenths off the fastest time set by the Canadian-Australian.

After ceding the initial lead to Gibson, Moffat quickly regained the ascendancy and looked in command until retiring from the race on Lap 55 due to a blown engine.

By that stage Brock had risen to second – Gibson having been set back by an early flat tyre – and he never looked back from the moment he inherited the lead as others duked it out over the minor placings.

It was the one and only Sandown success for the LJ Torana GTR XU-1, which had also conquered Mount Panorama the year before in the hands of Brock.

Those marquee results came in seasons where rule changes made the six-cylinder Holden an outright contender.

Outmatched in the 1972 ATCC, run to Improved Production rules and won by Bob Jane’s Chevrolet Camaro, the 1973 season saw the ATCC and Bathurst 1000 adopt the same Group C technical rules.

Brock was eventual champion Moffat’s chief competition throughout the 1973 ATCC, while the LJ model Torana powered the bulk of his maiden 1974 title triumph.

Either way, 1973 opened the floodgates for Brock at Sandown. The Australian motorsport star would win the Sandown enduro again in seven successive years from 1975-81, and once more in ’84.

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