Geoff Harrod – the man synonymous with champion sprinter of the late ’70s Bowetzel – has passed away after a short battle with cancer, aged 69.
Popular among his peers, Geoff was based in Keysborough and in his mid-20s when he purchased Bowetzel (Dec ’74 Second Stage x Princess Diro) as a pup at the ‘Dandenong auction’ in 1975 for $250.
Bowetzel – affectionately known as “Chaser” – was renowned for his great railing ability and strong finish, but the highlight of his stellar career was victory in the 1977 National Sprint Championship (558m) at the Gabba in Brisbane. He exited from Box 1 and clocked 32.70sec.
Prior to the national final, Bowetzel also won his Victorian state heat, and then the state final – winning by 5.5L in an outstanding 30.12sec at Olympic Park.
At the time, legendary greyhound racing journalist Dick Prendergast rated Bowetzel as “unquestionably the best sprinter in Victoria”.
Geoff knocked back offers of more than $10,000 for Bowetzel during his career.
And personally, Geoff’s passing evokes fond memories of Bowetzel.
At the time, I was just a teenager regularly making a Monday night train vigil to the Olympic Park greyhounds in Richmond – and more than four decades later I vividly recall Bowetzel’s brilliance.
“He was a humble man who loved the simple life,” his daughter, Lee, said.
“Dad didn’t want a funeral service. Instead, there will be a family celebration of his life.”
Lee added that her father retreated from the sport after Bowetzel.
“He contemplated getting another greyhound but never did. I think he just thought he wouldn’t get another Bowetzel.”
Born in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, England, Geoff Harrod emigrated to Australia as a three-year-old.
In his formative working days, Geoff held a role with the navy as an underwater weapons expert. Later, he worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne for 40 years as an infrastructure technician.
Geoff, who lived the latter part of his life in Mornington, leaves behind his partner Narelle, daughter Lee and stepson Warren.