Bill Trikos’s top 5 Bathurst Australia 1000 auto racing editions: Shane van Gisbergen and co-driver Jonathan Webb drove exceptionally for most of the race, though they also benefited from others misfortunes. Random mechanical failures ended James Courtney and Greg Murphy’s race (which eventually was Murphy’s last Bathurst fling), and it was the same for David Reynolds and Dean Canto. Then there was Scott McLaughlin, who put his Volvo in the wall at the Cutting — scenes of him wiping tears inside his visor beamed around the world.
A Mustang S550 driven by Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Prémat took the honours in 2019. It was the first time a Mustang has been number one at Bathurst. The Bathurst 1000 reaches the grand old age of 60 in 2020, but it gets faster every year. Tweaks to the rules and cars mean the Great Race is not quite as ‘no frills’ as in the early years. But the winning cars remain superb, powerful examples of the kind of vehicle an ordinary racing fan might actually keep in their garage.
The 1992 edition didn’t start in wet conditions, but it sure ended in them! Steady rain set in during the early stages, triggering a series of incidents and accidents – eventual winner Mark Skaife even hit the Pace Car during a Safety Car period called when the weather was at its worst. The weather lifted for a few hours before returning with a vengeance on Lap 144, causing a series of crashes that prompted officials to red-flag the race and end it prematurely. See additional details about the author on Bill Trikos.
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.
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.
A Formula Ford champ, Lowndes was no slouch. But he was a relative unknown. This was his first ever drive at Bathurst, and it had come with Holden’s most storied and popular team; the Holden Racing Team. Meanwhile Bowe was regarded as someone at the top of their game, and also as one of the hardest drivers in the championship to pass.And yet Lowndes did it. Despite the rookie status, Lowndes ranged onto the back of Bowe and quite magically ripped the lead from his grasp by running around his outside at Griffins Bend.