Sunday, October 7, 2012


In the 60s, 70s and the 80s I used to love watching the Bathurst endurance race, it was something that Dad liked to watch and, well, I guess it's genetic!

First it was the Hardie-Ferodo 500, then the James Hardie 1000 ( I'm know that sometimes there were other sponsors, however I can't remember those titles in the name of the races).

The Hardie-Ferodo 500 was a great race because any of the cars could be bought by Joe Ordinary and driven on the road.
The Armstrong 500, which became the Hardie Ferodo 500/1000 and later the Bathurst 1000, was first held on 20 November 1960 at Phillip Island in Victoria over 500-mile (800 km) to determine which car had the best combination of speed, performance and reliability. It was also a tool for Armstrong to promote its products such as shock absorbers. Entry was limited to standard, unmodified production saloons built or assembled in Australia. The race was won by Frank Coad and John Roxburgh in a Vauxhall Cresta, the only Vauxhall in a field of 45 cars.
What I loved about the race was the competition, yes, there were different categories for cars in the race, but that's what made it so interesting. I could watch every type of car from Minis to the larger cars made by Holden and Ford, and it was exciting because of the competition within the categories and also between the categories.

In 1986 I was at Bathurst for the race. It was fantastic, the atmosphere was brilliant and I had a great weekend with friends.

These days I don't bother much with the Bathurst race. Since it's become a two-horse race between Holden and Ford it's just not that interesting any more. Times have changed and drivers still need to have their skills, but these days the cars are made for the race and I just don't find it as riveting as it was before all the specialisation of the cars.

I think F1 is suffering from a similar ague.


Skeeter said...

The race was won by Frank Coad and John Roxburgh in a Vauxhall Cresta ...
This says more for Coad and Roxburgh than it does of the Vauxhall, which was not renowned for its speed, performance or reliability. 1950s Vauxhalls typically accelerated from 0-100 km/hr in around 23 seconds.
However, this Vauxhall Vagabond appealed to some young blokes, mainly because it was one the few convertibles you could buy in Australia at the time.
No way I could afford new car so I had to make do with a 1940 Buick.

1735099 said...

Next year the V8 series will include Nissan and Mercedes as well as Holden and Ford. Essentially the cars (called COTF*) will be identical except for engines. They will have different looking bodies mounted on a generic frame. Whether or not this adds to the competition remains to be seen. It won't make much difference to the spectacle, which on this challenging circuit is what makes it unique.
* Cars of the future

kae said...

Hi Skeeter.
I think the cars in the race had a bit more, um, TLC than your average car even in those days.

Hi, yes, the track is the challenge at Mt Panorama, but the cars used to be a challenge, too and that's what made it so interesting. Of course, the drivers had to be good as well, and they still do to take any advantage that presents itself, but chasing the same cars around the track isn't entertaining. There are no thrills any more.

P'raps I'm just getting old.

kc said...

If this repeats, I'm going ot go take a nap.

NASCAR's done the same in the states. I lost interest shortly after Dale Earnhart died. I suppose I should be thankful for the safety improvements that are then used, but the name of the thing should be changed - there is very little that is a "stock car" on any speedway in the world!