It’s time for Australia’s Great Race, the Repco Bathurst 1000, which will conclude a 12-round Repco Supercars Championship for 2021.
Unusually, it’s the second visit Bathurst for Supercars this year having started its season with the Repco Mount Panorama 500 in February.
This though is the Holy Grail, a race steeped in history that stretches all the way back to 1963.
Since 2006 drivers have competed for the Peter Brock Trophy, named in honour of the nine-time Bathurst race winner who still holds the record for most victories.
Two drivers are seven-time winners, Jim Richards (who co-drove with Brock for three of their wins) and Brock’s protégé Craig Lowndes, who again takes aim at number eight this year.
Other Bathurst legends include six-time winners Larry Perkins and Mark Skaife, five-timer Steven Richards, four-timers Allan Moffat, Greg Murphy, Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander, and Dick Johnson (three wins).
But the Great Race isn’t all about who wins and often the tales of defeat are just as memorable as those of victory.
Ahead of the mammoth six-day Repco Bathurst 1000 from November 30-December 5, let’s take a look back at 10 unforgettable Mountain moments.
1963 – After three years at Phillip Island, the Armstrong 500 moved to Bathurst, creating the legend that we know today as the Repco Bathurst 1000.
That first race at Mount Panorama was won by a Ford Cortina GT driven by Bob Jane and Harry Firth, who had also taken out the previous year’s Phillip Island encounter aboard a Falcon.
1972 – By this stage the race had become a full-blown war between Ford and Holden, led by the wily Allan Moffat and young hot shot Peter Brock respectively.
In 1972 Brock broke through for his first win, guiding the nimble, six-cylinder Torana XU-1 to victory solo across a 500-mile contest that started in abysmal conditions.
1977 – Moffat’s finest hour on the Mountain was his fourth and final win, where he led home a one-two finish for his Moffat Ford Dealers Team.
The winning Moffat/Jacky Ickx entry struggled with brake problems late in the race and won thanks to some formation flying from teammate Colin Bond (sharing with Alan Hamilton) on the final lap.
1980 – Ford’s next big Bathurst hero was Dick Johnson, who burst onto the scene by leading the 1980 race before crashing into a rock that had found its way onto the circuit.
Fans and the Ford Motor Company pledged money to support the battling Queenslander in the wake of the unusual incident, putting him on a path that netted Bathurst wins in 1981, 1989 and 1994.
1987 – The world came to Bathurst in 1987 thanks to the international Group A touring car formula and the introduction of the new World Touring Car Championship.
It was a race dominated by a pair of Ford Sierras from Swiss team Eggenberger Motorsport but, when they were disqualified for illegal wheel arches, Brock was elevated to an against-the-odds ninth victory.
1992 – The Group A era included another major controversy five years later, as Jim Richards and Mark Skaife took the Nissan GT-R to a second straight win, despite crashing out!
Richards had come a cropper amid a heavy downpour that resulted in the race being red-flagged, and they won under rules that wound the clock back to the end of the previous lap.
1995 – Larry Perkins stamped his authority on Bathurst in the early days of the V8 era, taking his own Castrol Commodores to victory in 1993, ’95 and ’97.
The 1995 win was his most remarkable, recovering from a lap down due to a first-lap puncture to steal the win when Glenn Seton’s Ford broke down just nine laps from home.
2003 – Arguably the most iconic moment in the race’s modern era occurred on a Saturday, as Greg Murphy recorded a blistering 2:06.8594s lap in the Top 10 Shootout.
It put the Kmart Commodore on pole position by over a second, and Murphy combined with Rick Kelly to win the race the following day.
2006 – If Murphy’s lap was the ultimate Bathurst elation, then Craig Lowndes’ effort to score victory in 2006 just weeks after his mentor Brock’s tragic death was the epitome of emotion.
Lowndes wiped away tears as he stepped from Brock’s 1972 winning Torana during a morning parade lap before joining with co-driver Jamie Whincup to record a fairytale triumph.
2014 – For many it’s the ultimate Great Race. For Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris, it was a miraculous victory at the end of a rollercoaster day that included a lengthy red flag stoppage to repair the circuit.
Able to use to the break to repair damage to their Pepsi Max Ford after an early crash from Morris, Mostert recovered to snatch victory from Jamie Whincup on the final lap when the Red Bull Holden ran out of fuel.