Driving legend Moffat in the race of his life
Motorsport legend Allan Moffat is facing the toughest final laps of all, as he battles the debilitating effects of dementia at the age of 79.
The lauded driver has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and has recently been moved into a special care facility in Melbourne.
Former touring car teammates and circuit rivals have rallied around the four-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 and four-time Australian Touring Car Championship winner, with Larry Perkins and Fred Gibson heading his support crew.
News of Moffat's battle was revealed as Perkins leads a Supreme Court action on the racing great's behalf, to ensure his will reflects his final wishes.
Moffat is still making regular public appearances and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame last year, but there are times when the feisty former racer is only a shadow of his once-towering presence in the motorsport world.
"He is in the biggest race of his life. But he is enjoying it," Perkins told the Sunday Herald Sun. "He is aware that he has dementia. And he is trying to rise to the occasion."
While Moffat battles his day-to-day demons, which began more than three years ago with the first diagnosis of his health problems, he has also become the focus of a tug-of-love over his future and his assets.
Legal proceedings have begun to decide who is responsible for Moffat, with his estranged partner Susan McCure on one side and his elder son Andrew on the other alongside Perkins, Gibson, and Moffat's day-to-day minder, Phil Grant.
In documents filed to Melbourne's Supreme Court this month, Perkins - as Moffat's administrator - has asked that a will be made that "reflects what the intentions of Allan George Moffat would be likely to be, or what his intentions might reasonably be expected to be, if he had testamentary capacity."
Despite the legal moves, his friends and family would dearly like to avoid the messiness that turned the final years of his long-time race rival, Bob Jane, into a soap opera.
While Perkins is working to protect his race mate, he wants people to know that Moffat is doing well.
"He is going downhill but he loves the home where he is now. He is still getting out and about," Perkins said.
"Yes, he is in the toughest race of his life. But we've got the best medical team looking after him.
"We're doing everything we can. He is going downhill. But he doesn't have a care in the world."
News of his declining health becomes public in the 50th year since the Canadian-born ace started his climb to the top of touring car racing. Known as "Mr Ford" with much of his success coming at the wheel of V8 Mustangs, his signature car was a red 1969 model that became famous as the "Coca-Cola Mustang".
In honour of its 50th anniversary, Melbourne-based Ford performance workshop Tickford has just announced - with Moffat's enthusiastic blessing - a limited edition of 100 replicas, all tuned-up current-model red Mustangs.