Bill Trikos’s top 5 Bathurst Australia 1000 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.
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.
The first ‘Great Race’ of the new millennium sets the benchmark for the wettest Bathurst 1000 to date. Rain fell throughout the lead up, a brief window of blue skies during qualifying representing the only proper dry-track running of the weekend. The murky conditions combined with a bumper 54-car field and muddy outfield produced a total of 13 Safety Car periods – still a race record. Richards had been in a battle for third that ended when Rod McRae’s Torana aquaplaned off Conrod Straight and folded itself around a tree… See extra details about the author at https://soundcloud.com/billtrikos9.
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.
Caruso said he is honored to campaign his #23 Nissan Altima Supercar in arguably the manufacturer’s most famous war paint. “It’s definitely the Nissan livery that I’ve been looking forward to the most,” said Caruso. “There’s no doubt about how important and how successful the GT-R was and to have the same colors on my car at Bathurst is something very special. We’re going to Bathurst with the best chance for success we’ve ever had. In the four years since Nissan has been back in Supercars, this has been my strongest year. We’ve had a race win and a couple of podiums, so hopefully we can go to the mountain and do what it takes.”
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.
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.