Richard Davison is a member of one of Australia’s most successful racing families and, now in his mid 60s, is still getting results on the board today.
Last weekend he was one of the stars of Australian Formula Ford’s three-race celebration supporting the Bathurst 12 Hours at Mount Panorama, despite being in a car that was 30 years old.
Davison took delivery of his current Van Diemen RF89 – otherwise known as ‘Pammy’ – in November 2015, having driven a RF88 model in that year’s Walter Hayes Trophy. The WHT cameo marked Davison’s return to FF1600, having starred in Australian FFord in the late 1970s.
“I began racing FFords in ’75 and was runner up in the Australian championship in ’78. There is simply no other category in the world that creates this type of close and exciting racing with cars and drivers of all ages,” Davison explained to FF1600website.
“To do this as part of the 50 year celebration of FFord in Australia just made it all the more special.”
After racing in FF1600, Davison moved into Australian Formula 2, winning the 1980 title as a rookie. He stayed there for several years, and after scaling back his own racing interests decided to focus on those of his sons Alex and Will.
The Davison family legacy started with Richard’s father Lex, who shares the record for the most Australian Grand Prix wins with Michael Schumacher and won the inaugural Australian Drivers’ Championship (then run to Formula Libre rules) in a Ferrari 625 Formula 1 car. His wife Diana was also one of Australia’s first female racers.
Both Alex and Will Davison have raced in Supercars, the championship Australia is most famous for, and Will has won the Bathurst 1000 twice. Both brothers (and IndyCar-focused cousin James) can credit the start of their car racing careers to FFord.
Will paid close attention to his father’s achievements over the weekend, and celebrated his achievements on social media.
“Super proud of my dad, he’s just finished off a cracker weekend at Bathurst,” he said.
“Won all three races in his Historic FFord [class] but managed to finish second outright against the young fellas in new machinery. Although I’m not surprised, I still find it really cool. The passion and determination is fiercer then ever, whilst having the time of his life in the meantime. Something in that right?”
Davison was a challenger for overall victory in all three races against opposition with modern kit. This wasn’t a low-key grid either, with the reigning national Formula 4 champion, a Le Mans 24 Hours winner and numerous rising talents in the mix. In the Pre-’90 class he was a step ahead of his opposition too.
“Surreal is probably the best word I could use to sum up my feelings over the weekend,” said Davison Sr.
“The fact that I am the third generation of my family to win at ‘The Mountain’ is quite special to me. My late father Lex won the 1958 Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst, Alex won and wrapped up the 2004 Australian Porsche Carrera Cup title here and Will won the Bathurst 1000 in ’09 and ’17.”
“Competing wheel-to-wheel with the young guns was both unexpected and simply a fantastic experience. Leading two of the last three laps in race two was one of the highlights of my life and a great surprise to me, particularly as this year the Pre-’90 cars were running the hardest compound Avon control tyre.
“I fully expected the modern cars to disappear into the distance. The older cars definitely had a straight-line advantage, with a much narrower frontal area and no sidepods, which at a circuit like Bathurst assisted greatly,” remarked Davison of his success.
“I love my racing and don’t take any of this too seriously. I believe I’m older than the combined ages of the three guys I was running against. There has to be an award for that, doesn’t there!”
Davison and ‘Pammy’ are now regulars at the WHT and Phillip Island’s Classic FFord events, and it probably won’t be long until they’re back on track again.