TRAGEDY MARS BMW VICTORY PHILLIP ISLAND, MELB SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 1995: Pole sitter and series favourite, Queenslander Paul Morris took his works BMW to victory in the first round of the Australian SuperTouring car championship at the spectacular...
TRAGEDY MARS BMW VICTORY
PHILLIP ISLAND, MELB SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 1995: Pole sitter and series favourite, Queenslander Paul Morris took his works BMW to victory in the first round of the Australian SuperTouring car championship at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit South East of Melbourne.
However, the win was overshadowed by the tragic death of former motorcycle champion and long distance specialist Greg Hansford.
Hansford, 42, spun his Ford Mondeo on lap two of the first heat hitting a tire barrier which propelled him back on to the track in front of a packed field of backmarkers. Peugeot driver Mark Adderton was left with nowhere to go and slammed in to the driver's side door of Hansford's blue Ford.
The race was red flagged and ambulance and rescue workers were on the scene within seconds but it was immediately obvious that nothing could be done.
Hansford, a former winner of the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and the 12 hour race for production cars was a star on both 2 wheels and 4. His performances on 2 wheels saw him ride to victory in several major GP's finishing second in the World Championship on two occassions as well as dominating the Australian bike scene throughout the 70's.
Over the past decade he had made a name for himself as a specialist long distance driver with Larry Perkins in a Commodore and in an RX7 for Mazda in production car racing. He was also widely known as a trainer for celebrity drivers at both the Adelaide GP and the Gold Coast Indy Car race.
As the sad news of Hansford's fate spread around the Island the race was restarted with Morris leading away from the Audis of Brad Jones and Kiwi ace Greg Murphy.
Morris looked set to run away with the race but a last lap hub failure saw Jones make a desperate dive for victory which failed by only 1000th of a second. Murphy took third.
In heat two Morris led away again from Jones while back in third Brabham and Murphy had a fearsome battle with the Audi coming off second best in a bumping duel which saw it sent into an earth bank and luckily not flip over.
Morris won again from Jones with Brabham in third. Overall, it was Morris from Jones with consistency giving Volvo Estate driver Tony Scott third.
The next outing for the 2 Litre cars will be the non championship support events for the Indy Cars on the Gold Coast before the championship resumes at Sydney's Oran Park on April 2.
-- Brett Ramsey On line Media consultant