Bathurst: Memorable Moments

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Falcon XC Cobra
Bathurst 1960
Torana L34

The moments that always make the race worth watching...

Timo Makinen's Barrell Roll

1967 - The Makinen Roll
(click to view)

The Makinen Roll

One of the most spectacular barrell-roll's came in 1967, when Timo Makinen lost control in Forest's Elbow behind Latis Manticas, as a Skyline and a Hillman Imp go around.

This roll made Makinen's lap only 35 seconds slower than the average he had been maintaining.

Carnage on the Crest

Never had the Mount seen so much horsepower, nor so much carnage. Mike Savva's GTHO bolted from the fifth row of the starting grid, pulled left and stormed up the grass (which immediately caused a change in the rules for the next year).

It was all Ford going up the hill, although just out of "The Cutting" Allan Moffat's red works Falcon pulled off the circuit into a small parking area with gearbox problems.

He would never have realised at the time what this mechanical problem had saved him from. As the first 10 cars erupted over Skyline and started their tightrope act down through the Esses with cold brake pads and full tanks of fuel.

At the top of Skyline Savva in the Wollongong GTHO was on the left and Bill Brown in the red Alto Ford started through him on the inside. Savva never saw him and moved across on his line.

In flicking the big Falcon right, Brown put two wheels up the bank and rolled. Behind him there was a gap of 100 metres, mainly because the Petrelli car had been spraying oil from its unbedded rings and the cars behind had backed off. Those cars made it past but as the frantic marshalls waved yellow flags Class E Alfas led an enormous river of arguing cars over the brow.

John French arrived at the upside down Falcon and slammed the brakes on. Just as he began to move past Brown he was hit from behind and flipped, and the sickening sound of twisting metal soon ensued with car's piling into each other.

When the dust settled, a quarter of the field had been wiped out. The retirements included Brown (Falcon), French (Alfa), Thomson (Alfa), Prisk (Mini), Cant (Capri), Hindmarsh (Cooper S), Cole (Fiat 125), Mander (Cooper S), Forbes (Fiat 125), Haehnle (Mazda R100), Stewart (Toyota 1600), Dickson (Cortina), Savva (GTHO) & Tholstrup (Datsun 1600).

Lightning Can Strike Twice

On lap 43 of the 1970 Great Race, Bill Brown would again survive a horrific crash. Driving the Newell entered GTHO, a tyre blow-out would see the car roll over along the timber sleeper fence on the outside of the circuit, ripping itself open like a sardine can, and finally coming to rest upside down.

It wasn't just Bill Brown that brushed with death that day, a course marshall also coming perilously close to meeting his maker. Also see: 1970 Bathurst Race Program

1972 Colin Bond

1972 - Take Care in the Wet

Take Care in the Wet

This was the first Bathurst enduro to have ever been run in the rain, and Colin Bond started the race on hand cut Dunlops. On his second lap, in between Reid and McPhillamy Park, Bond had his only serious accident in many years of racing.

His Torana aquaplaned across a huge puddle, he bounced off the bank, and rolled it down a small slope off the edge of the circuit. The HDT had lost its prime car. Also see: 1972 Bathurst Race Program

1973 Doug Chivas

1973 - The Chivas Shuffle

The Chivas Shuffle

Doug Chivas in Peter Brock's LJ Torana XU-1 under team orders tried to get maximum laps to save a pit stop and maintain their superiority over the second placed thirstier Falcon GT of Allan Moffat & Pete Geoghegan.

While leading the car ran out of fuel and Chivas tried to clutch start it at Murray's Corner to get the car to the pits. The car lost momentum and he leapt from the car and struggled to push it uphill to the pit lane.

Urged on by his pit crew, who were unable to help until he reached the pit lane, and a huge television audience Chivas managed to make it. But they had lost the lead to Moffat and finished second. Also see: 1973 Bathurst Race Program

Allan Moffat's Ford XC One Two

Allan Moffat
re-established his dominance in 1977, winning his second consecutive ATCC title that year (the third of his career) and of course there was the crushing 1-2 victory of both Moffat and team-mate Colin Bond at Bathurst.

By the mid-point of the race, Moffat and Bond led by over six laps from the rest of the field, however the drama would unfold as Moffat's car encountered brake problems and had to slow, allowing Bond to catch up and be in position to snatch victory.

Obviously on orders from the team, Bond held position along side Moffat for much of the last lap, the pairs formation down Conrod Straight one of the most enduring Bathurst images of all time. The pair finished the race side-by-side, Bond allowing Moffat to stay barely in front. This moment is remembered as one of the most famous in Australian motor sport history, and still regarded by many as Ford's finest hour. Also see: 1977 Bathurst Race Program

1980 Dick Johnson

1980 - The Rock
(click to view)

The Rock

This is arguably the most talked about incident in Bathurst history. It propelled the then relatively unknown Dick Johnson into the national spotlight when, while talking live on national television, he broke down as he recalled the incident.

You can see from the image how perilously close the track marshalls came to serious injury. Also see: 1980 Bathurst Race Program

1981 Bob Morris

1981 - Who Has Right of Way?

Who Has Right of Way?

Christine Gibson in the King George Tavern XD Falcon (at right) arrives at McPhillamy Park to lap David Seldon's Gemini. He moves to the right to allow her up the inside but as she moves left the second placed XD Falcon of Bob Morris/John Fitzpatrick is occupying the part of the track she needs.

The two cars touch and spear off into the wall causing a multiple pile up which halted the race at 120 laps. Also see: 1981 Bathurst Race Program

1982 Kevin Bartlett

1982 - The Camaro Flip
(click to view)

The Camaro Flip

The much televised accident of the Kevin Bartlett/Colin Bond Camaro at Reid Park after 27 laps. Bartlett emerged from the wreck virtually unhurt.

He had taken pole position two years in a row in the Chev (1980 & 81) and this was an inglorious exit from Bathurst for the big car. Also see: 1982 Bathurst Race Program

1983 Dick Johnson

1983 - Hardies Heroes
(click to view)

Hardies Heroes

The horrifying aftermath of Dick Johnson's monumental crash during Hardies Heroes on the Saturday. Johnson emerged from the left hand side door remembering nothing about the crash, or the wild ride into it, or being picked up by Brock.

The car was rebuilt overnight by TAFE using a second car Johnson's sponsor, Ross Palmer acquired (buying a third to replace to the team the car he had bought), and in that year the TAFE organisation at Bathurst finally came to be recognised fully for their tireless efforts and seemingly magical skills. Johnson would joke later that the warm up lap of the race would be used to dry the paint which wasn't far wrong.

The accident occured when Johnson ran slightly wide out of Forrest Elbow in an attempt to beat Brock's pole time. The tyres at the end of wall were set in concrete (?) and the impact was enough to break the steering arm of the Falcon. Also see: 1983 Bathurst Race Program

1984 Pile Up

1984 - The Great Start Line Pile-Up

The Great Start Line Pile-Up

The start line accident, when Tesoriero in the Camaro hit the immobile Jaguar of Tom Walkinshaw and slewed into the path of the Williamson's Supra. The accident completely blocked the track on Pit Straight to cause only the 2nd restart of The Great Race.

Amazingly there were three other incidents on that first abortive lap. Walkinshaw had earlier told Terry Finnigan, who was directly behind on the grid, to be careful at the start because he was using a different clutch in the Jag and wasn't sure how quickly it would take off.

In fact when he dropped the clutch the centre of the clutch was torn right out and he moved nowhere. Also see: 1984 Bathurst Race Program

The Year of the Chickadee

Bathurst always offers plenty of thrills and spills, and there are only a handful of "great" drivers able to avoid the carnage on the track and turmoil in the pits to put in consistentantly fast laps all day long.

In 1986 Alan Grice and Graeme Bailey put in one such performance, memorable for the unbelievable quality of driving on display for the entire day. As you watched the race, you thought "nobody could be this good". They were.

1987 Texaco Sierra

1987 - And The Winner Is?

And The Winner Is?

The only outright winner to be disqualified. The 'works' Texaco Sierra of Soper/Dieudonne, the best looking car in the international field, was alleged to have used illegal fuel to win.

After 6 months in court it was found that both Texaco Sierra's passed the fuel analysis but were found guilty of having wider than permitted wheel arches and Peter Brock was awarded his 9th 'win' being the third place getter.

The bitterness of the race with protest upon protest led to long time "Great Race" sponsor, James Hardie Industries, withdrawing sponsorship from the event.

1992 Last of the Group A's

1992 - The End of the Group A's

The End of the Group A's

The end of another era as turbocharged Group A cars have their last race in Australia. As of next year Australia was to re-embrace the traditional Holden-Ford V8 war.

Note Perkins on the front row in a 5 year old VL Commodore outqualifying the newer VN Commodores and the brand new '93 spec VP Commodores.

The Invincible VL

1992 - The Invincible VL

The Invincible VL

Larry Perkins astounding many at Mt Panorama by outqualifying the newer VN Commodores and the brand new '93 spec VP Commodores in a 5 year old VL Commodore. He was a serious contender for pole position until Dick Johnson pulled out an absolute screamer of a lap in his Ford Sierra RS500.

Note the Benson & Hedges BMW of Tony Longhurst behind. This was the lap where Longhurst used Perkins' car as a tow to record an outstanding qualifying lap time that placed the 4 cylinder car 5th fastest for the Tooheys Top Gun run.

1992 Jim Richards

1992 - 4WD and Slicks Equals No Grip

4WD and Slicks Equals No Grip

This is the 144th lap. Jim Richards in the leading Nissan GT-R arrived at The Cutting with only rain sprinkling. As he turned left he was confronted with a wave of torrential rain and even the might of 4WD (on slicks though) couldn't prevent him from clouting the wall just before Reid Park when the car understeered straight on where the track turns right.

The impact tore the left wheel and suspension apart and as Richards limped back toward the pits he was cheered by the anti Nissan crowd on the hill. Godzilla had been slayed! But as he turned out of Forrest Elbow he was confronted with three cars crashed on the right. He was powerless to stop the Nissan on slicks and his momentum carried him into the wreckage.

The racetrack was deemed unsafe with images of wrecked cars all around the circuit and the race stopped. So with the results wound back to the last completed lap the Nissan had won!

1993 Dick Johnson

1993 - Another Total Destruction

Another Total Destruction

On lap 96 Dick Johnson clashed heavily with the Everlast Commodore as he tried to lap it at Tooheys Turn. Bill O'Brien got out of shape at precisely the wrong time, and the two cars came together in the biggest possible way.

The Commodore was extensively damaged, the Falcon completely destroyed.

1994 Peter Brock

1994 - With a 10th Win In Sight

With a 10th Win In Sight

On his 138th lap Peter Brock, while lying third, lost the car at McPhillamy Park ending the dream of a 10th win in '94. It was extremely unusual to see Brock's car sustain major damage during the race.

Only once before (in 1988, when he collided with a wheel on Conrod Straight) had he retired from the race due to impact damage, although he had made light contact with other cars in 1980, 1981 and 1992.

1994 John Bowe

1994 - The Tortise and the Hare

The Tortise and the Hare

In what was truly a Hollywood Script ending to the 1994 race John Bowe was challenged and passed by a 20 year old rookie, Craig Lowndes.

They both set their respective fastest laps during their contest but a combination of good fortune and experience led to a Johnson & Bowe victory.

1995 Wayne Gardener

1995 - 2nd Row to Lead Miracle

2nd Row to Lead Miracle

Jim Richards (Winfield) blasts off from the 1995 starting grid as Craig Lowndes (Mobil), Larry Perkins (Castrol) and Wayne Gardner (Coca Cola) give chase.

It would in fact be Gardner who would exit Hell Corner in first place, the first driver to do so from the second row of the grid. Perkins and Lowndes would briefly touch sending Perkins tyre flat and setting up his heroic charge from last to first place by race end.

1995 Larry Perkins

1995 - A Win Against the Odds

A Win Against the Odds

The moment of impact between a slow starting Lowndes and Perkins. The impact would rip Perkins' tyre valve out, deflating his tyre, and prompting a first lap

He would emerge from the pits just 15 seconds ahead of the leading Winfield Car of Skaife/Richards. With a combination of pace cars and the car failures of Skaife/Richards & Seton/Parsons, Perkins & Russell Ingall would make up the lost ground and challenge for and take the lead by race end.

1995 John Bowe

1995 - A Touch Too Far

A Touch Too Far

After running nose to tail for many laps the inevitable happened on lap 93. With Seton following Bowe into The Cutting Bowe got slightly sideways on the way out, Seton dived for a gap but Bowe's Falcon came back.

Seton tapped Bowe and he barrelled into the wall. The Johnson/Bowe car lost laps in the pits for repairs and would later retire due to the damage.

1995 Glenn Seton

1995 - Perkins on the Charge!

Perkins on the Charge!

This is the moment everyone had been waiting for, Larry Perkins passing a failing Glenn Seton to lead for the first time all day. Perkins had gone from 5th with 20 laps to go to 2nd but that was where his charge seemed to end as Seton responded to the charge and set his fastest lap of the race.

But on the next lap his engine dropped a valve and Perkins passed him just 9 laps from the finish. Seton's car didn't make it around the next lap stopping on the way up to "The Cutting" just 9 laps from home.

It would have been the 30th anniversary of his Dad's win, in car 30, at 30 years of age. He had a choice of taking his Dad's winning car, (Cortina GT500) or $30,000 in prizemoney. It was not to be.

1996 David Parsons

1996 - The Brakes Are Fine, Sort Of...

The Brakes Are Fine, Sort Of...

During Thursday's qualifying session, at the exact moment that Glenn Seton was telling a journalist that the new brake system was working like a champion, David Parsons had the pedal go to the floor at Caltex Chase at 270 km/h.

He looked ahead, saw Garry Willmington's green Falcon at the corner ahead, tilted the wheel to the left and held on for the ride. The car bounded across the grass, launched itself over the tarmac (missing Willmington by millimetres) and touched down on all four wheels just before the bunker.

Periously close to the wall, the car hauled itself to a stop though, just before that happened, Parsons was on the radio to the pits to say that he and the car were both OK

1996 Mark Larkham

1996 - Unlucky Larkham

Unlucky Larkham

Mark Larkham, one of the new drivers in Group A racing, is also one of the unluckiest. Despite his obvious talents Larkham rarely had the opportunity to show them as a succesion of car failures and incidents limited his track time.

During the 1996 race his luck didn't change. His run came to an end after only three laps, when he cannoned off Richards' Commodore and into the wall on Conrod Straight, leaving the Mitre Ten Falcon severly damaged.

1996 Alan Jones

1996 - Jones Is On Fire, Literally!

Jones Is On Fire, Literally!

A dramatic end came for Alan Jones after 25 laps when his Pack Leader car caught fire when a fuel line came adrift. He had been leading at the time, having overtaken Lowndes in the rain.

In fact he was one of only four cars which led the race, and the only one which overtook Lowndes on the track. It was a heartbreaking end for the new team, chasing sponsorship for the next year they had been hoping for a good result.

1996 Greg Murphy

1996 - Year of the Young Guns

Year of the Young Guns

Although there was a suggestion that Mark Skaife had previously been the youngest winner of the Great Race, in fact it was Midge Bosworth, who was 24 when he won in 1965. Amazingly, after Bosworth's record had stood for 31 years, both Lowndes and Murphy were younger at the time of the 1996 race than Bosworth had been in 1965.

Bosworth had been paired with Barry Seton, 28, which had been the only occasion before 1996 when two drivers in their 20s had won the race. Even more astonishing was the fact that Lowndes and Murphy, despite their youth and inexperience, had been touted favourites to win the 1996 event.
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