The annual Brocktober gathering, and the tale of Ron Dickson’s ‘racecam’ in the ‘73 Great Race.
At Bathurst in 1979, Peter Williamson famously debuted the concept of ‘Racecam’, when footage from a camera mounted inside his Toyota Celica was beamed into the live television broadcast. It was an Australian invention and a world- rst – it was such a big deal that it made international headlines!
But it was not the rst time motion pictures were recorded from a camera mounted in a car during the Great Race.
Six years prior to Willo’s pioneering effort, Ron Dickson’s Monaro carried a camera during the race, footage from which was used in the edited highlights lm package of the ’73 HardieFerodo 1000 that was put together post-race.
As Dickson recalls, he was approached by Artransa Park Studios, a private lm studio, with a request to install a camera in his car for the race.
“They convinced Channel 7, I think, that they could develop a modi ed camera and put it in a car and lm it,” Dickson says. “They contacted me – I don’t know why they chose me but they did. Artransa mounted it in the car, and Seven supplied the lm.”
Dickson crew member Doug Noble remembers it well.
“We had a big lm camera mounted inside the car,” he says. “It was incredible – we went through scrutineering I think the rst day, and on the Saturday the scrutineer was in the back of the car looking for something and then he’s hit his head on the camera. He said, ‘what’s this?’ – because it was a huge camera, I don’t know how you could have missed it but we’d been there three days and they hadn’t even noticed it.
“I said to him, ‘it looks like a camera to me’. ‘A camera in the car?!’ he says. I mean, it was all bolted down securely, and there were no rules about cameras, because no one had cameras…”
Doug remembers that it only had four or ve minutes’ worth of lm, which meant the footage it captured was only from the rst couple of laps.
“Because it only had a few minutes of lm, we had to start the camera when we were ordered off the grid. So we lost a minute of lming before the race even started!