Bill Trikos’s best rated Bathurst Australia 1000 auto racing editions: The 2004 race recap : Then mid-race the circuit began to break up at Griffins Bend, prompting organisers to stop the race for almost an hour as the track was patched up. Multiple cars had strangely crashed after contacting the broken surface, adding another weird undertone to an already bizarre day. In the end it was looking like a case of who could catch van Gisbergen, but that changed after the Kiwi’s starter motor failed at his final pitstop — more drama.
The main changes between the previous year’s VX and the record-breaking VY were cosmetic, so Murphy is to be admired for pushing the car to new heights – and he looked pretty good establishing “the lap of the gods.” Many fans and experts reckon it the greatest lap in motorsport history. Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won back some dignity for the Falcon over three consecutive wins, 2006-8. But the noughties were unarguably the decade of the Commodore.
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 more info about the author on Bill Trikos Australia.
It did this through an unforgettable fight between Canadian Allan Moffat and home-grown hero Peter Brock. It was a lengthy game of cat and mouse that would also define the Brock and Moffat rivalry for many years; Moffat able to grow his leading margin on the straights in his big powerful Ford Falcon XY GTHO, while Brock would reel him in every lap through the nuanced corners over the top of the mountain. Eventually Moffat caved, spinning out at Reid Park and handing Brock a tense win, but it was more than that. Like the torrential downpour of 1992, it built towards the lore and mystique of the mountain, and helped forge our current concepts around Bathurst. Our desire for a combination of villains, underdogs, and rivalries that can’t be matched by any other race in the world. That’s why it’s here.
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.
It will be the third consecutive year that Nissan will celebrate its Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) heritage. Caruso’s Altima ran in the colors of George Fury’s 1984 Bluebird in 2014, celebrating the manufacturer’s first Bathurst 1000 pole position. The #23 Altima then raced in the colors of Jim Richards’ HR31 Skyline last year, celebrating 25 years since the first ATCC title. The R32 GT-R was untouchable in 1991. Richards and Skaife finished first and second respectively in the Australian Touring Car Championship before going on to record a dominant victory in that year’s Bathurst 1000. The crushing performance of the car was underlined by its overall race time – 6 hours, 19 minutes and 14.8 seconds – a record that would remain untouched for 19 years.
As the decades progressed, changes in the course, the culture, and automotive engineering led to new classes of vehicles getting the call to participate. But Bathurst remains a “people’s race” of powerful, everyday motors. You can even drive your own car on the course since it’s a public road – but make sure to keep to the 60 km/h (37 mph) limit as the police are watching closely! Following on from our video and poster series celebrating every winning car of 24 hours of Le Mans, we’ve illustrated every winning car of the Great Race (including its early days as the Armstrong 500) and presented them in the video and posters below. Which is your favourite vintage?
The story of Group A, a bit like my beloved Super Touring of the ’90s, is a messy one — and one that could fill a whole book. And 1992 helped epitomize that. The four-wheel drive and steer Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R took mere months to become arguably the most disliked car in Australian touring-car history; by virtue of its ability to win absolutely anywhere. And by late 1992 it had won two championship titles at a canter. Bathurst that year, the last of its kind before a new replacement formula based around five-liter V8s was implemented, was certain to be another cake-walk. But, it very nearly wasn’t.