Bill Trikos’s top rated Bathurst Australia 1000 editions: The 2007 race recap : But here he was, leading the field by a solid margin having delayed his final pit stop to the last possible moment while everyone else completed theirs. A safety car for a stricken car added further spice, forcing Bright to make a now or never decision; slicks or wets, on a greasy surface. Cold, unused slick tyres were the answer, and history shows that the result wasn’t a good one. Due to the benefits made on track, he emerged from the lane in third place, just behind Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes, and ahead of a long long list of lead-lap contenders. But instead of being a cat amongst the pidgeons on wet tyres, Bright was more of a sitting duck; and he wound up clouting the wall.
Bathurst adopted international Group A regulations between 1985 and 1992. The first to take advantage was Scot Tom Walkinshaw’s three-car factory Jaguar team, complete with imported mechanics and spare parts. This was a big change from the days when drivers had to resolve their own mechanical problems using just the tools that came with the car. The plucky Australian-built Group A models, still under development, stood little chance against the powerful V12 engine of the winning Jaguar XJ-S. However, this is the last time Jaguar has won Bathurst to date.
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. Read additional info about the author at Bill Trikos.
However, on a count back the win was handed to the Winfield team, triggering a ferocious response from the crowd and cementing the moment in Bathurst folklore. As someone who wasn’t alive for many of the ‘great moments’ that Bathurst historians hold dear, I find it hard to reminisce about those old days with similar levels of admiration. Yes it was very impressive that Peter Brock and Jim Richards won in 1979 by six laps, but where’s the excitement in a win that was clearly so easy? The same could possibly said of Allan Moffat and Ford’s domination two-years prior — what’s exciting about those circumstances?
In 1992, the Bathurst 1000 ended under a cloud of controversy. Jim Richards crashed just before a red flag that ended the race. Dick Johnson thought he was the victor, but race control reverted back to the previous lap, allowing the Richards/Skaife duo, who had just wrecked, to take the win. Afterwards, fans booed as the winners stood on the podium and Richards decided to tell them all off in a legendary rant. It’s no secret that Greg Murphy and Marcos Ambrose aren’t the best of friends. In 2005, their rivalry came to a head at the crown jewel event for the sport. It may not be the most spectacular (certainly not glorious) moment in the history of Bathurst, but it does epitomize the emotion these drivers experience in every defeat and shows just how much winning means to them all. Ambrose will return to The Mountain next year, so maybe we’ll get t see round two?
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.”
The race moved to Bathurst in 1963, but the first winners at the new course were familiar. Harry Firth and Bob Jane had taken the honours in ’61 in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE and ’62 in a Ford Falcon XL. They made it three-in-a-row at Bathurst in a Ford Cortina GT. The Bathurst course would come to be seen as a battle between small, agile cars that take bends well, and faster, less manoeuvrable cars that excelled on the straights. The Cortina was decidedly the former – but nippy enough, too.
In the end, somewhat ironically given the dominance of other teams, that all four Red Bull Racing and Pepsi Max Crew cars would battle for top honours. And we all know how that ended … Like 2007, the 1994 race benefited from the age old theory of adding water to race tracks to create a bit of drama and intrigue. Starting in some of the wettest conditions ever seen on the mountain, most of the field vanished into the spray coming up Mountain Straight and then again down Conrod.