View Full Version : Classic 1980 Australian Sports Sedan Race

Steve Holmes
05-18-2011, 09:52 PM

1980 wasn’t a vintage year for the Australian Sports Sedan Championship. Front-line competition in the once highly popular series had died off with the arrival of Frank Gardners radical F5000 based Chev Corvair in 1976, and that car dominated the category until it was eventually banned from competition at the end of 1979. By this stage, Gardner had stepped down from driving, and had plugged Allan Grice into the hot-seat, but by now, the competition had largely dried up.

However, new cars were still appearing on the scene, including Jim Richards’ XC Falcon hardtop, which debuted in 1978, and almost won the Australian Sports Sedan Championship at its first attempt. Then, the following season, Tony Edmonson arrived in Don Elliotts newly built Chevy powered Alfetta.

For 1980, Gardner replaced his outlawed Corvair with a European sourced Group 5 BMW 325, while John McCormack had built a V12 Jaguar XJS. Bob Jane, Allan Moffat, Graeme Whincup, and John Briggs were all competing in Chevy Monza’s. However, most of these cars ran only limited campaigns, and the championship was won by Edmonson, a fairytale ending in itself given he narrowly escaped death, and had his car destroyed at Surfers Paradise just one year earlier in a vicious high speed crash.

This video is of the final race of the final round of the 1980 Australian Sports Sedan Championship. The front-line competition is a little depleted by this stage, with the early laps being a four car battle between Richards in his New Zealand built Falcon, Briggs in his American IMSA Chevy Monza (DeKon 1001), Grice in his European BMW, and Edmonson in his Australian built Alfetta. But the sound is fantastic, and the cars themselves provide a real spectacle, as they buck and slide around the high speed Sandown circuit. Crank it up and enjoy…..

05-19-2011, 03:48 AM
Very nice video, Steve, thanks for letting folks know about it. Being a Monza road racing fan, it was nice to see the John Briggs run Monza do so well in the early going. The rest of the cars in the field are pretty darn impressive as well.

I've read and heard from some knowledgeable folks that the John Briggs DeKon Monza chassis (1001) had been reconstructed or swapped out over the years. Would anyone know if that had occurred by this race in 1980?

Thanks again, Steve. This is a great site and forum, that just gets better every day.


Steve Holmes
05-19-2011, 04:14 AM
Chad, thanks so much for your kind comments, very much appreciated. Its great to have you on here and I'll be looking forward to your input. Our Aussie members should be able to help with more of the changes made to DeKon 1001 from when it first arrived in Australia, circa 1977. But at the very least, Briggs has already moved the engine right back through the firewall in this video (you can see the alloy engine cover inside the cockpit), as when the car left NZ, it was still in its IMSA guise.

Steve Holmes
05-19-2011, 08:50 PM
Its only just dawned on me that Allan Moffat is racing a Group C RX7 in this race. It was my understanding the peripheral port RX7 was declined by CAMS to race in Group C for 1980, although Peter McLeod did debut the first RX7 at round 7 of the series. Moffat was very pro-RX7, but ran a cobbled up Falcon at Bathurst that year. So where did the RX7 he is driving in this Sports Sedan race come from? Is this the car he raced in the US? It is left hand drive.

07-04-2014, 03:15 AM
So was the running gear taken from the Ansett Charger into the Alfetta by Edmondson?

07-04-2014, 10:53 AM
Without going back through old magazines, I think the Alfetta was built from scratch without touching the Charger (which still exists and I believe is slowly being restored). The Moffat Mazda was brought over from the States and offered for other drivers to have a run in so they could see (at that stage anyway....) that there was nothing to fear.