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Bathurst 1000: Beers, kangaroos… some things will never change


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For more than 55 years, the Bathurst 1000 has mixed V8 muscle, high-speed crashes and plenty of testosterone-fuelled anger.

This Sunday will mark the first time there will be no Australian-made Holdens or Fords at Mount Panorama, as beer-drinking spectators camp around the mountain.

Mustangs will be replacing the Ford Falcon while the Holden Commodores will come from Rüsselsheim in Germany instead of Adelaide in South Australia.

The traditional Holden versus Ford rivalry on the racetrack in the Central West of New South Wales will also have another competitor, as four Nissan Altimas take on 16 Commodores and six Mustangs.

And while things will be different this year, some things never change – from cars dodging kangaroos to track legends getting stuck into the beer and champagne-soaked crowd. 

For 55 years, the Bathurst 1000 has mixed V8 muscle, high-speed crashes and plenty of testosterone-fuelled anger (pictured is a Ford Falcon on fire in 2011 with driver David Besnard still in the car) 

Some things never change, however, from cars dodging kangaroos to track legends getting stuck into the beer and champagne-soaked crowd

Some things never change, however, from cars dodging kangaroos to track legends getting stuck into the beer and champagne-soaked crowd 

All Those Crashes

Bathurst is a race where it’s an achievement just to complete, let alone to win. 

Almost every year there are a wide variety of spectacular crashes that destroy cars and sometimes lives, such as Don Watson who fatally crashed out on the infamous Chase when he came off the track driving more than 250 kilometres an hour.

Countless kangaroos have shocked drivers as they hop over the track as cars are doing in excess of 300 kilometres an hour.

In 2010 Fabian Coulthard came off The Chase at 280kph and dug the front of his Holden into the dirt which saw it flip six times as the car landed with almost no body panels remaining

In 2010 Fabian Coulthard came off The Chase at 280kph and dug the front of his Holden into the dirt which saw it flip six times as the car landed with almost no body panels remaining

Dick Johnson’s infamous hit when he rounded a blind corner into a dislodged rock destroyed his chances at victory and showed just how unpredictable Bathurst could be. 

In 2010 Fabian Coulthard came off The Chase at 280kph and dug the front of his Holden into the dirt which saw it flip six times as the car landed with almost no body panels remaining.

Bill Brown famously rolled his Falcon GT-HO onto the guard rail after a tire exploded in 1971.

The racer was pinned between the weak roof and fuel that was seeping out of the car as he calmly instructed those smoking cigarettes to keep their distance.

Brown survived, but the crash serves as a brutal reminder of how important safety technology is in modern race cars.  

In 2006 a highly controversial one slap per-person per-day rule was introduced and saw fans coming up with high ingenious ways to bypass security and police

In 2006 a highly controversial one slap per-person per-day rule was introduced and saw fans coming up with high ingenious ways to bypass security and police

Alcohol Limit Controversy

While not everyone turns up to Bathurst weekend for the motor racing – everyone is there to have a good time.

In 2006 a highly controversial one slab per-person per-day rule was introduced and saw fans coming up with high ingenious ways to bypass security and police.

From burying their booze months in advance to shamelessly bringing a 50 litre steel drum past police, party goers have not been shy about their love for a drink over the infamous weekend.

Rules will be just as strict in 2019 as people are forced to select which wine, spirit or slab of their favourite beer to bring along.

It is well known that not everyone turns up to Bathurst weekend for the motor racing but everyone wants to have a good time

It is well known that not everyone turns up to Bathurst weekend for the motor racing but everyone wants to have a good time 

Jim Richards

The New Zealand-born winner of seven Bathurst titles received a frosty reception from the crowd when he won another title in 1992, back when it was known as the Tooheys 1000 – after its beer sponsor.

Unlike the usual victors, Jim Richards had triumphed in a Japanese Nissan Skyline.

It was also a particularly rainy Sunday afternoon.

This saw his R32-series GTR hit the wall, turning his turbo coupe into a damaged three-wheel machine.

Jim Richards (right) the New Zealand-born winner of seven Bathurst titles received a frosty reception from the crowd when he won another title in 1992 with a young Mark Skaife (left). Richards called the crowd a 'pack of a***holes' when they booed him

Jim Richards (right) the New Zealand-born winner of seven Bathurst titles received a frosty reception from the crowd when he won another title in 1992 with a young Mark Skaife (left). Richards called the crowd a ‘pack of a***holes’ when they booed him 

He wasn’t the only driver to have crashed as it poured during his 145th lap.

The race was red flagged and wound back a lap to allow Richards and a young Mark Skaife to come first.

They beat Dick Johnson and John Bowe in a Ford Sierra, angering the crowd.

The Kiwi champion gave them his unvarnished opinion.

Top Bathurst Winners

Peter Brock – nine times

Jim Richards –  seven times

Larry Perkins and Mark Skaife – six times

Craig Lowndes – five times

Bob Jane, Harry Firth, Allan Moffat and Grey Murphy – four times

Dick Johnson and Jamie Whincup – three times 

‘I’m just really stunned for words, I can’t believe the reception,’ he said.

‘I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. 

‘I’ll keep racing but I tell you what this is going to remain with me for a long time. 

‘You’re a pack of a***holes.’

A year earlier, Richards and Skaife had made history as the first, and to date only, Bathurst 1000 victors to have won in a Nissan.

They were also the last winners to be sponsored by a cigarette company – in their case, Winfield.    

Peter Brock famously drove his A9X Torana six whole laps ahead of the competition in 1979 and despite his lead he pushed on and broke the Mt. Panorama lap record on the final lap

Peter Brock famously drove his A9X Torana six whole laps ahead of the competition in 1979 and despite his lead he pushed on and broke the Mt. Panorama lap record on the final lap

Peter Brock

The vegan Holden legend who won nine Bathurst titles during the 1970s and 1980s is synonymous with Australian touring car racing.

Peter Brock, who died during a crash in 2006, triumphed on the mountain four times in a Torana and took line honours on another five occasions in a Commodore.

Brock’s record has never been beaten and it earned him the title of ‘King of the Mountain’ and turned him into an Australian hero.

The racing legend famously drove his A9X Torana six whole laps ahead of the competition in 1979 and despite his lead he pushed on and broke the Mt. Panorama lap record on the final lap – setting the crowd on fire.

Dick Johnson

The beloved Ford man that established the legend team now known as DJR Team Penske is often remembered for the race that he didn’t win.

Johnson had gotten himself into serious debt to build a competitive car and not long into the race the underdog held a 40 second lead.

As he made his way up the mountain Johnson rounded a blind corner when a truck had been sent out onto the track to collect a football size rock that a fan has dislodged or thrown from the hill.

With no where else to go but into the back of the truck Johnson chose the rock -completely destroying his car and potentially his career.

After a shattered Johnson broken down on TV, Australians were soon opening their hearts and wallets to raise money for the racer to complete his dream.

Ford Australia matched every dollar donated to Johnson and he went on to win the championship and Bathurst the following year in a classic story of an underdog winning the fight.

In 2018 the highly talent David Reynolds was running in first place with the end is sight when a vicious leg cramp left him unable to finish the race

In 2018 the highly talent David Reynolds was running in first place with the end is sight when a vicious leg cramp left him unable to finish the race

David Reynolds

A more modern tragedy took place in 2018, when the highly talented David Reynolds was running in first place with the end is sight when his race suddenly started to fall apart.

A vicious cramp crept through his breaking leg but with Craig Lowndes close behind, Reynolds did not want to throw away their winning position by taking the time to switch drivers.

The leg crap led to further mistakes and a shocked crowd watched as he was slowly overtaken by Lowndes simply because Reynolds was not able to supply enough of the 100 plus kilos of pressure to the brake pedal required.

Reynolds was seen limping back to the pits, beyond devastated he wasn’t able to complete a back-to-back Bathurst win.  

The leg crap led to further mistakes and a shocked crowd watched as he was slowly overtaken by Lowndes simply because Reynolds was not able to supply enough of the 100 plus kilos of pressure to the brake pedal required

The leg crap led to further mistakes and a shocked crowd watched as he was slowly overtaken by Lowndes simply because Reynolds was not able to supply enough of the 100 plus kilos of pressure to the brake pedal required

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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