104 Sacred Sites
Mark Skaife/Todd Kelly
The third instalment in our series on racetracks which hosted some of the greatest muscle car stoushes. We check out what remains of Catalina Park. Theme song: ‘Don’t Tear It Down’ by Spy vs Spy.
#2 Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VZ Chassis – HRT 050
Debuted in late 2004 at Symmons Plains by HRT and driven by Mark Skaife as a VY Commodore, HRT 050 was updated to VZ specification in 2005 and stayed as Skaife’s #2 car for the entire season, including victory at Bathurst with Kelly (on the Mildura driver’s 26th birthday no less!) and a second place in the Sandown 500.
It started 2006 as the #22 car of Todd Kelly before a new chassis was completed for Kelly in time for Queensland Raceway and this car became a spare.
Jim Richards and Ryan Briscoe drove it in the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst (with Briscoe stunning all by topping qualifying at the former and Richards crashing out at the latter – his last-ever Bathurst 1000 start) before it was repaired and used by Kelly to win on the Gold Coast overall and then claim a race win in the inaugural round in Bahrain.
It was also the same car Kelly was driving when innocently involved in the championshipdeciding contact between brother Rick and Craig Lowndes at the season finale at Phillip Island.
It was then sold to NRW Holdings in Western Australia – sponsors of Mark McNally in the Fujitsu Series – and was intended to be used as a ride-car based in Perth, though it was wheeled back into action for a few rounds late in the 2008 Development Series.
It was involved in a crash in the opening round of the 2009 DVS at Adelaide and had its last race appearance at Winton that year.
From there it remained in storage in Western Australia before DVS team owner Ben Eggleston finally secured it in early 2013 and commenced a restoration project to return it to its 2005 Bathurstwinning condition – including securing the engine it used to claim Mountain victory.
“The car was in a container in a Perth, we checked all of the bits and pieces, had the transport ready to go, put it on the train and sent it back to Melbourne,” he says.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy it. It’s an important part of HRT’s history and that of Australian motorsport. Not only for the Bathurst win with Skaife and Kelly, but also the fact it was Jim Richards’ last Bathurst 1000 car and was also run by Todd full-time and Ryan Briscoe, who did great things in it too.
“In partnership with our event company, Marque Management, there will be various events where the car will feature, which is very rare,” says Eggleston.
“For corporate sponsors or partners of our Dunlop Series or GT cars it’s a huge benefit as well. It’s a big carrot if you are an enthusiast.
“I have a massive love for it. John Silverthorne from NRW was good enough to let this car go. He knew in our talks that one of the conditions of sale was that it was going to be brought back to its former glory.
“We can’t wait to have it finished and take him for a ride.”