Today’s is the only Great Race
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.