To­day’s is the only Great Race

Weekend Herald - - MOTORSPORT -

that de­scended on the place just a week ago, in­clud­ing the 56,000 there on race day alone — ap­par­ently close to the largest in the his­tory of the Bathurst event — do not nec­es­sar­ily agree.

As so of­ten seems to be the case at this unique track — a great big chal­lenge of a track of­fi­cially named the Mount Panorama Cir­cuit — the race had al­most ev­ery el­e­ment needed to make a great race.

Rain be­fore the start, the first to fall in the area for more than two months, ap­par­ently, a wet/ dry race, the big names fal­ter­ing, crashes and cars go­ing off track at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals then fi­nally, and bril­liantly, the un­der­dogs com­ing through.

Add the new, young breed of driv­ers mix­ing it up with the es­tab­lished or­der — a bonus be­ing that one of them was a Kiwi, Richie Stan­away, who drove ar­guably the best stint of any driver in the race — and what more could one ask for?

To get an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of just how treach­er­ous a place “The Moun­tain” can be, I was taken on a lap, al­beit in a minibus. I saw that — as at many tracks — the images you see on TV give lit­tle clue as to how steep the track is, how close the walls are, how tight the turns are and the pre­ci­sion needed to nav­i­gate all of this, lap af­ter lap af­ter lap, with ex­tremely lim­ited vi­sion.

It’s driv­ing a car on the edge of bal­ance, with tyres on the edge of ad­he­sion, like a bal­le­rina’s pointe shoes.

The rac­ing was ex­cit­ing enough and the event was an as­sault on the senses. And then you have the many hun­dreds of campers in the var­i­ous tent cities sur­round­ing the track. Those at the top of the moun­tain al­most have their own sub­di­vi­sions, and the spec­ta­tor banks full of peo­ple brav­ing the aw­ful con­di­tions that dom­i­nated the first part of the race.

It will take me some time to re­mem­ber all of what I wit­nessed.

I get tired of the moan­ers telling all who would lis­ten that the TV view­er­ship is down, the rac­ing is bor­ing, the rules are wrong and all man­ner of com­plaints about the se­ries.

If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. And don’t pon­tif­i­cate to the many, many fans who still love it. Sim­ple, re­ally. Su­per­cars is not the big­gest thing in Aus­tralasian mo­tor sport by ac­ci­dent, but be­cause it still ap­peals to the fans. TOP: David Reynolds driv­ing at Bathurst. LEFT: Scott McLaugh­lin ( in wet con­di­tions) at Mount Panorama

From what I heard while walk­ing among and talk­ing to those fans at the week­end, there is no lack of en­thu­si­asm.

Un­for­tu­nately, as with many sin­gle- seat for­mu­lae and other in­ter­na­tional race se­ries, bud­gets and costs in this mod­ern rac­ing age dic­tate that the cars are as sim­i­lar as pos­si­ble, al­most iden­ti­cal.

The up­side is that it nor­mally brings about closer rac­ing.

If peo­ple want to see many dif­fer­ent makes rac­ing to­gether, then head for club or his­toric rac­ing and revel in “the good old days”.

To­day’s rac­ing will be­come “the good old days” in the years to come for young fans. And it is those young peo­ple that must be at­tracted to the sport — any sport in fact — for it to pros­per.

Peo­ple can moan, com­plain, crit­i­cise, pick holes and den­i­grate Su­per­cars all they like. It is a right of free speech and I am sure it gives them, and their fol­low­ers, great suc­cour.

In­stead of com­plain­ing, how about try­ing to sug­gest a vi­able al­ter­na­tive?

The “Great Race” at Bathurst was a bucket list event for me and it ex­ceeded all my ex­pec­ta­tions.

What Su­per­cars of­fers now is the best we are go­ing to get.

I can­not wait to see the se­ries in ac­tion once again at Pukekohe in early Novem­ber.

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