David "Skippy" Parsons
17 May 1959 |
|Related to||Graham Parsons (father)|
|ATCC / V8 Supercar|
|Teams||Cadbury Schweppes Racing
Holden Dealer Team
Glenn Seton Racing
|Best finish||7th in 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship|
David John 'Skippy' Parsons (born 17 May 1959 in Devonport, Tasmania), is a retired Australian racing driver, who while never a full-time racing driver, drove for the biggest racing teams in Australia including the Holden Dealer Team, Perkins Engineering, Glenn Seton Racing and Gibson Motorsport.
The son of Tasmanian touring car racer Graham Parsons, David Parsons, a dairy farmer, began emerging onto the national scene racing a Holden VC Commodore in the 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship, making his debut at his home track, Symmons Plains in Tasmania. Embraced as an endurance co-driver by gentleman privateer racer Peter Janson, he showed pace on his way to fourth outright at the 1982 James Hardie 1000, as well as qualifying Janson's Commodore 3rd for the 1983 race.
This, and his performances in his self-funded Commodore in the 1983 ATCC, brought him to the attention of Peter Brock and the Holden Dealer Team, and with the help of Janson he was drafted into the HDT for the 1984 Australian Endurance Championship. Parsons co-drove with John Harvey to a DNF in the Oran Park 250 in Brock's ATCC car, before the pair went on to finish 3rd in the 1984 Castrol 500 at Sandown in the second of the team's new VK Commodore's. From there Harvey/Parsons finished 2nd in the 1984 James Hardie 1000 behind team mates Brock and Larry Perkins, with Parsons following Brock across the finish line in a 1-2 form finish. Late in the James Hardie 1000, Parsons was "let off the leash" by team owner Brock who told him to chase down 1980 Formula One World Champion Allan Jones who was driving Warren Cullen's similar VK Commodore. Parsons responded to the challenge and reduced the gap to the former World Champion from over a minute to under two seconds before Jones was forced to pit with 4 laps remaining for fuel and attention to the cars non-existent rear brakes.
Parsons was retained as a driver for the HDT into 1985, although results were harder to come by as the Commodore initially struggled with engine unreliability in Australia's move to the FIA's Group A rules. The highlight of the year for the Tasmanian dairy farmer was out qualifying team leader Brock at the 1985 James Hardie 1000. Parsons left HDT in 1986 to join Perkins in his new team Perkins Engineering, but was let go in early 1987 with Perkins opting for someone with "more experience" after Parsons had crashed the Commodore in the Wellington 500 (Perkins would select 1967 World Champion Denny Hulme as Parsons replacement with the pair going on to win the Pukekohe 500 a week after Wellington). Parsons rejoined the HDT, now without any official support from Holden following the company's split with Brock in February 1987, and joined Brock and Neville Crichton at the Spa 24 Hours round of the inaugural World Touring Car Championship. The trio failed to finish the race.
Heading into the 1987 James Hardie 1000 the Holden Dealer Team was expected to do little more the make up the numbers against the strength of the factory supported Ford and BMW teams. When the #05 car Parsons shared with Brock experienced a major engine failure in the early running, their effort looked set to be little more than a footnote. First Brock, then Parsons stepped aboard the team's second car, #10 which had been driven to that point of the race by Peter McLeod. Inspired driving on variable surface as rain plagued the second half of the race, good strategy and a lucky break with safety car procedure and the team clawed their way past the BMW M3s as they failed, and the Nissan Skyline turbos and into third position behind the flawless 1-2 finish of the Eggenberger Motorsport Ford Sierra RS500s. During his stint at the wheel, Parsons was credited with #10's fastest race lap in the 1987 1000.
After scrutineering at Bathurst in 1987, there had been rumours about the legality of the Eggenberger built Sierra's, specifically to do with oversized wheel arches. On the Thursday before qualifying an official protest was lodged against the Sierra's, which was held over due to the lack of a road going RS500 in Australia to compare them with. Eventually, after nearly four months, the two Sierras were disqualified for having oversize wheel arches allowing them to fit larger wheels, giving McLeod, Brock and Parsons the race win.
Parsons stayed with the team into 1988 as they transitioned to BMW M3s, although by now in Australia the giant killers of 1987 had become little more than class runners in the face of the all-powerful Sierras. After a year out of racing Parsons returned to Brock's team in 1990, teaming with Andrew Miedecke and Charlie O'Brien to finish 14th, 12 laps down on the winning Holden Racing Team SS Group A Commodore of Allan Grice and Win Percy.
Parsons then went on to join Glenn Seton Racing in 1991 where he became a regular co-driver for the team for the next seven years, continuing to race with the team into the V8 Supercar era. A highlight was winning the 1993 Sandown 500 co-driving a Ford EB Falcon with Geoff Brabham.
Parsons came close to winning his second Bathurst 1000 in 1995 when team boss and co-driver Glenn Seton led the race with just 10 laps to go. However, a dropped valve in the Barry Seton built Ford V8 saw the EF Falcon retire on lap 152, handing the win to Parsons former team mate Larry Perkins. The loss was hard to take as the car had led for most of the race. 1995 was also the 30th anniversary of Bo Seton's only win in 1965. Parsons was actually to drive the team's second car with lead driver Alan Jones, while Allan Grice was entered as Seton's co-driver. However, after early practice times had seen Parsons lap quicker than Grice, Parsons was moved into the lead car with Seton while Grice was moved to partner Jones. Ironically, the Jones/Grice car would finish second behind the Holden Commodore of Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall.
From 1998 onwards Parsons was a hired gun, driving for Gibson Motorsport and Owen Parkinson Racing, including co-drives with the other racing driver named David "Truckie" Parsons. His final Bathurst appearance was alongside Paul Romano in 2000. Since then Parsons has made occasional one-off appearances in various sedan based categories.
|1982||Australian Touring Car Championship||12th||Holden VC Commodore||David Parsons|
|1983||Australian Touring Car Championship||7th||Holden VH Commodore SS||David Parsons|
|1984||Australian Touring Car Championship||17th||Holden VH Commodore SS||Cadbury Schweppes Racing|
|1985||Australian Touring Car Championship||25th||Holden VK Commodore||Holden Dealer Team|
|1987||Australian Touring Car Championship||24th||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||HDT Racing|
|1988||Australian Touring Car Championship||14th||BMW M3||Mobil 1 Racing|
|1992||Australian Touring Car Championship||27th||Ford Sierra RS500||Peter Jackson Racing|
|1999||Shell Championship Series||28th||Holden VS Commodore
Holden VT Commodore
|Owen Parkinson Racing
- Tuckey, Bill, ed. (1987–88). The Great Race (Hornsby: The Berghouse Floyd Tuckey Publishing Group) 7: 277. ISSN 1031-6124.
- Howard, Graham; Wilson, Stewart (1986). "1982: Johnson, back-to-back". Australian Touring Car Championship: 25 fabulous years. Gordon: R&T Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 0-9590378-2-9.
- "James Hardie 1000 Mount Panorama, Bathurst 30th September, 1984". Unique Cars and Parts. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
- Tuckey, Bill, ed. (1987–88). The Great Race (Hornsby: The Berghouse Floyd Tuckey Publishing Group) 7: 263–265. ISSN 1031-6124.
- "Tancredi Wins 2008 Commodore Cup Series". Commodore Cup. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-17.[dead link]
|Winner of the Bathurst 1000
(with Peter Brock & Peter McLeod)