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Tributes flow in for engineering great Peter Molloy

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Thursday 10th October, 2019 - 12:14pm

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Bruce Allison, Peter Molloy, and Warwick Brown

One of Australia’s best ever open-wheel racers, Warwick Brown, has a led a stream of tributes for Australian engineering great Peter Molloy after his passing overnight.

Brown, who won the Tasman Series and New Zealand Grand Prix in 1975 with Molloy, described his former team boss and friend as one of the great characters of Australian motorsport.

Molloy’s career had a span of more than 50 years and included success in open-wheelers, touring cars, bike, and boats, and had an impact on some of Australia’s greats.

Brown started working with Molloy at the end of 1972 and three years later they became the only Australian team/driver combination to win the famous Tasman Series when they clinched it by a point.

pic: CAMS

“He (Molloy) was resolute and so determined to succeed,” Brown told Speedcafe.com from California this morning.

“He had a gift to look at a car and a driver and work out what they were doing.

“It was his way or the highway, but you quickly realised you were a fool if you didn’t listen to him.

“He was a brilliant tactician and was so far ahead of his time technically.

“He took on some of the biggest in the world from a couple of small garages in Canterbury Road, Belmore (Sydney).”

Brown talked about an occasion in 1974 when they arrived at Ontario Speedway in California to take on the big American teams headed by the likes of Mario Andretti.

“We turned up with a car, a gearbox and an engine on the back of a trailer,” said Brown.

“The next thing the Americans started rolling in their trucks and all their gear and I said to Peter ‘we are going to get smashed and what are we doing here?’.

“He told me to shut up and do as I was told and by the end of the second session, we were within a second of Mario (Andretti)

“Peter worked on having a ‘usable’ engine while the Yanks worked on outright speed.

“If he (Peter) had have had 12 engines there that day, he could have sold all of them.”

Molloy’s five decades of service to the sport were recently acknowledged when he was presented the 2019 Phil Irving Award.

While the award is normally presented at the CAMS Motor Sport Awards, the decision was made to present the award to Molloy in hospital.

“The recent tribute from CAMS with the Phil Irving Award for his contribution to motorsport was very special. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” said Brown.

“He was a gem, a real diamond, and the world will be a poorer place due to his passing.”

Tributes for Peter Molloy

Bob Morris, 1979 ATCC winner

“Peter was a good guy and great to work with,” said Morris.

“The main year I worked directly with him was in 1979 and we won the touring car championship that year with the A9X (Torana).

“He was the Team Manager and I worked directly with him.

“He would listen to the driver’s input which was a lot more important in those days because you didn’t have the telemetry and all the other technology.

“Peter was also a very good tactician and that mixed with his engineering skills made him a tremendous asset for a team.”

Bruce Allison, F5000 and long-time friend

“Peter did so much for so many people,” said Allison, who is currently in Hawaii.

“I went and visited him with Bob Muir a few weeks ago and he put up one hell of a fight.

“He taught me everything about setting up a race car. Until I worked with Peter I was just holding on and going as fast as I could.

“I should have taken him to the US with me in 1976.

“Without Peter I would have been nowhere. I owe my career to him.”

Colin Bond, 1977 Bathurst 1000 one-two

“We obviously knew Peter a long time back in the Warwick Farm days,” said Bond.

“He did the engines for us at Bathurst in 1977 and obviously that worked out pretty well.

“The most important thing at Bathurst was the reliability in those days and if you also had the performance well that was a terrific bonus.

“Peter was tremendously versatile and was always thinking outside the box.

“He was genuinely just a good guy who did a lot for the sport on many levels.”

Kevin Bartlett, Australian Drivers’ Champion and Bathurst 1000 winner

“I am feeling quite sad after learning of the loss of a great engineer and friend,” said Bartlett.

“His passing signals the end of an era for many who knew of his skills with racing both with the engine side of the sport but also his mentoring. Wayne Gardner, Warwick Brown, Bruce Allison and so many more have benefitted from his skills.”

The funeral for Australian engineering legend Peter Molloy will be held at Greenway Chapel, 406 Avoca Drive, Green Point NSW at 12pm Thursday, October 17.

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