KINGS OF THE MOUNTAIN
Yes, Australia’s Great Race is famous because of the devastatingly challenging topography of the mountain-hugging course itself, but ultimately it is the characters who have made the Bathurst 1000 what it is today. Here, in a superbly illustrated and put-together coffee-table effort, Gordon Lomas gives each and every “king of the mountain” his due credit – via personal interviews, or tributes to departed heroes by their heyday peers. Lomas’s focus on the personality of the drivers infuses a real, human element to a sport and event probably known to outsiders more for the grunt of what’s beneath the bonnet of these angry, coughing former touring cars-turned Supercars. From Bob Holden, to Jim Richards, to Mark Winterbottom, to the next-gen of Chaz Mostert and his young, exciting ilk, all the characters are here. But getting back to the mountain, perhaps it is the lure of Mt Panorama that brings out the larrikinism and desperation of the chase after all. This reviewer particularly liked reading about Win Percy’s decision to move from England to Australia specifically to plunder Bathurst. And about how the public’s reaction a rock destroying Dick Johnson’s “boxy XD Falcon” in 1980 eventually led to Dicky giving away his Shell servo in inner Brisbane to establish his own full-professional racing team. Characters at every turn in this gem.