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).
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.
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
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
- 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
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 - The
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 - 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
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
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
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 - And The Winner
And The Winner
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
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.
on the front row in a 5 year old VL Commodore
outqualifying the newer VN Commodores and the
brand new '93 spec VP Commodores.
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 - 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 - 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.
was extensively damaged, the Falcon completely
1994 - With a 10th Win In
With a 10th Win In
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
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 - The Tortise and the
The Tortise and the
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.
both set their respective fastest
laps during their contest but a combination
of good fortune and experience led
to a Johnson & Bowe victory.
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
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 - A Win
Against the Odds
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 - 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.
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 - Perkins
on the Charge!
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.
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 - The
Brakes Are Fine, Sort Of...
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 - 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
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.
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
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.
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.