Biante Model Cars
#9 - ALLAN MOFFAT RACING/CENOVIS
DRIVERS: KLAUS NIEDZWIEDZ/KEN DOUGLAS
1996 BATHURST 1000
Since he first debuted his distinctive fluro yellow and black Cenovis Falcon at Bathurst in 1993, Bathurst legend Allan Moffat never had the budget to run the car full-time in the Australian Touring Car Championship. But each year through the mid-1990s, the four-time winner made sure his car was on the grid each October for The Great Race. Come 1996 and the EB Falcon wasn't the latest specification car on the grid, but Moffat had put together another solid line-up for the AMP Bathurst 1000, which would turn out to be his team's last assault on the race he'd made his life mission for nearly three decades.
After a few years of false starts and late withdrawals, German ace Klaus Niedzwiedz was finally confirmed for his first Bathurst start in six years and was paired in the #9 Falcon with MoTec electronic guru and handy steerer Ken Douglas. Under the preparation hand of Ballarat's Ted Robinson, the car hit the circuit for Wednesday practice and had a rear hub seal fail, though it gave Douglas and Niedzwiedz - both having their first race in a V8 - some Mountain running.
On Thursday an exhaust system problem plagued the team and in the afternoon brake failure very nearly sent the German careering into the wall at Griffins Bend.
Eventually the 1990 pole-sitter clocked a 2m17.2706s in Friday qualifying to put the car 25th on the grid. Come race day and rain arrived to turn the circuit into a treacherous ice rink. Douglas was given the opening stint for the 161-lap marathon and played it steady to work his way up to 16th spot.
He pitted under a Safety Car on lap 29 and swapped to slicks, bolting in Niedzwiedz for his first Bathurst race stint aboard a Falcon after four starts in Sierras between 1987 and 1990. The 1989 Bathurst runner-up then turned in a drive typical of the Group A gun of the time. He sliced his way around the circuit and, despite limited running time in the car, had lifted himself to fourth spot by lap 50 as he ran out of pit sequence with the leaders. That was the greatest experience of my life, to drive here on slicks in the wet, he beamed to Chevron's 'The Great Race' annual book. I nearly went off when I lost my drink bottle. I looked up and I was on the grass!
Douglas would have a heart-stopping moment in his next stint on lap 73 when he spun at the exit of the Dipper. Amazingly, he was able to perform a neat 'flick turn' in front of the oncoming traffic and get the Cenovis Ford running again, pitting on lap 96 to hand back to Niedzwiedz. The stop dropped them to 12th place and off the lead lap, but there were other small problems starting to rear their head. The exhaust was heating up the floor and causing the cabin to fill with smoke, while the temperature gauge was also running high. Removing some of the blanking tape from the front spoiler cured the later and Klaus pushed on.
Down on engine power in comparison with the top Level 1 teams, the drying conditions meant that the #9 Falcon found it more difficult to keep pace once the rain disappeared, but the duo would eventually cross the line 10th, four laps down on winners Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy.
It would be the final appearance of an Allan Moffat Racing entry in the Bathurst 1000, but the unique-looking Cenovis Falcon remains a favourite in the hearts of Australian motor racing fans around the country.
This Model is included in the Biante Allan Moffat Collection and will be delivered with a signed Certificate of Authenticity, so ensure you are in pole position to get your hands on this fantastic looking model.
Please note: Images shown above are for illustrative purposes only and may be a real car image or images of a prototype sample.