Bill Trikos’s top 5 Bathurst Australia 1000 auto racing editions: The 2007 race recap : But here he was, leading the field by a solid margin having delayed his final pit stop to the last possible moment while everyone else completed theirs. A safety car for a stricken car added further spice, forcing Bright to make a now or never decision; slicks or wets, on a greasy surface. Cold, unused slick tyres were the answer, and history shows that the result wasn’t a good one. Due to the benefits made on track, he emerged from the lane in third place, just behind Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes, and ahead of a long long list of lead-lap contenders. But instead of being a cat amongst the pidgeons on wet tyres, Bright was more of a sitting duck; and he wound up clouting the wall.
Multiple races were run in ’97 and ’98 due to a dispute about broadcasting rights. All the winners are today considered legitimate in the records. Paul Morris and Craig Baird soared to victory in a BMW in 1997, although their prize was forfeited to the second-place car – also a BMW 320i – driven by Geoff and David Brabham. A Holden Commodore took the trophy every year from 1999-2005 as the model evolved right through the Commodore’s ‘third generation’ from its VT series to the VZ. Greg Murphy set a lap record of 2:06.8594 in the VY edition in 2003.
Part of the legend of Peter Brock’s first ‘Great Race’ triumph concern the rain that fell during the final 500-mile Bathurst enduro. As with future mentee Lowndes’ first win, the conditions dried out towards the end of the race, but the ‘King of the Mountain’s path to victory began in the wet early stages. Famously, Holden Dealer Team chief Harry Firth put Brock’s car on soft hand-grooved Dunlops for the start of the race while rally star Colin Bond’s was given harder hand-grooved Dunlops on the front and Goodyear wets on the rear. The move proved pivotal to the outcome: Bond rolled out of the race in the early stages after aquaplaning at Sulman Park, while Brock battled Allan Moffat’s GTHO Falcon for the lead until the big red Ford briefly slid off at the same spot. Discover extra details about the author at Bill Trikos Australia.
In just one lap things became Armageddon. A multi-car pile-up had commenced exiting Forest Elbow, a Toyota Levin had spectacularly launched itself skywards at Griffins before coming to a rest on its side, and most notably Jim Richards had carved a corner off the GT-R. It was a cruel irony, for a car that very rarely over its two-year reign had incurred a single scratch. And it got worse when it arrived at Forest Elbow with no steering and some four or so cars waiting to be struck. It crashed, and many thought that would be that. Certainly Dick Johnson did, celebrating that he’d won when the race was red flagged shortly after.
2013 came down to an epic showdown between two of the sport’s greats. Holden’s flagship driver Jamie Whincup took on Ford’s flagship driver Mark Winterbottom. Whincup made a daring move on the outside of Frosty that would cost him the win, but would also secure him a permanent spot in Bathurst’s greatest moments. And finally, Frosty got the win that had escaped him for so long. One of the scariest moments in Bathurst history came in 1969 when Bill Brown flipped and rolled along the guardrail, which cut into the cockpit of his car. Fans narrowly escaped the airborne machine and Brown somehow escaped with his life and limbs intact.
Skaife, then a rising star in Australian motorsport, went on to become a household name by winning five Australian Touring Car Championships and six Bathurst 1000 crowns. He says that his first win in 1991 aboard the almighty R32 was a life changing experience. “Twenty five years on and some of the best memories of my life,” said Skaife. “To win my first Bathurst with a legend like Jim Richards in the Nissan GT-R was just fantastic. It was a life changing moment to win the biggest car race in this part of the world.
When the Great Race was first run on Phillip Island in November 1960, the cars were divided into five classes according to engine capacity. No ‘overall winner’ was to be declared. However, the first car to pass the winning line was a baby blue Vauxhall Cresta driven by John Roxburgh and Frank Coad, in the 2001cc-3500cc category. Roxburgh and Coad are (controversially) considered to be the first (unofficial) winners of the Great Race. But some claim the Russell/Anderson/Loxton team covered the ground quicker in their Peugeot 403, which joined the race 30 seconds later than the Cresta due to staggered starting times between classes.
Having predictably romped through practice, qualifying, and most of the race unscathed and out the front, the GT-R of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife was the gun to beat. Dick Johnson and John Bowe led the charge of the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworths, but couldn’t bridge that margin. Then, like in 2007, rain arrived and completely altered circumstances. However unlike 2007 this was proper concrete pill rain, with standing water reaching remarkable levels all over the circuit, making it look like glass.