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Ford legend Dick Johnson reminices ‘the rock’ incident

The rock incident that ended the dreams (and race) of Queensland racing car driver Dick Johnson during the 1980 Bathurst 1000 is arguably one of the most famous moments in the illustrious 50-year history of the great race.

Among the 50th anniversary celebrations this weekend, Bathurst winning cars from all eras circled Mount Panorama for old time sakes, including the ‘Tru-Blu’ XD Ford Falcon Johnson that hit the famous rock. Amazingly, the car was repaired and went out and won the race in 1981.

Just as the car was about to hit the track, PerformanceDrive asked Dick how he felt three decades after racing the famous Tru-Blu Falcon:

“It certainly has a lot of memories, that’s for sure. It goes back a long way. It’s obviously the start of a real career.

“You had to have balls to drive these mate. Not like the guys today, they’re pretty well protected.”

When we asked the Ford legend about the famous rock incident, you could still feel the heartbreak from all those years ago:

“Yeah mate I can remember all that stuff extremely clear. Extremely clear.

“What happened yesterday could be a blur. But I made a mends [with victory in 1981]. For us, it was a real bonus because it meant a lot to a lot of people.”

Take a walk down memory lane and see the famous crash in the video below.

Josh Barnett specialises in motorsport and road testing. His passion for cars is long and wide, and his experience is just as impressive. Josh's work has appeared in titles such as Street Commodores and Fox Sports.

  • irongron

    As I remember, Johnson blew away Bartlett’s Z28 Comaro off the start (and Brock too, a History of Racing at Bathurst book I used to have has a good shot of Tru-Blu probably 30-50 feet ahead of the pack going into the first corner and the caption read “There is no substitute for cubic inches…”, classic photo & caption, wish I still had that book) and then was almost a lap ahead of Brock on lap 16/17, who had to pit. DJ passed the pits just ahead of Brock who came out behind. What a shame that Brock didn’t come out of the pits say 30 seconds earlier, in front of DJ, then he would have hit the rock and DJ could have won that race as Tru-Blu was going strongly and I reckon would have gone the distance all day…if only!!!