My personal motor racing odyssey 2017 continued at a track brand new to me.

After the wonderful Formula 1 GP of Singapore, a trip I would recommend to anyone, the delights of a warm and pleasant English summer and a club event or two and then the brutal heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur for the so called 'Finale' F1GP, my journey took a turn to the south, homeward bound, but with a few days stop for the 2017 Bathurst 1000.

I am a virgin of Bathurst and all it's delights.

It was dry there, very dry indeed with the surrounding area looking like Canterbury at summer's end. A situation that was to change dramatically before the weekend was out.


Second impressions, and others may not share this impression, is that it is a very well-organised event and a very big place to have a motor race.

Bathurst, like the Supercars championship itself has plenty of armchair critics with most of the comments being centred around "it was better in the old days".

That's as maybe but like the arguments about who was the best ever Formula 1 driver, any opinions put forward are purely those of the person spouting them. Fangio was the best ever driver some say. Was he? Perhaps, but I never saw him drive in his heyday so how can I, or any other who can only read about his exploits, say that as fact? It is an opinion, pure and simple.

Likewise with 'The Great Race' 2017 version.

I have seen endless footage of 'the old days' with Minis racing against Toranas, Falcons and what have you, and all very interesting it was but my experience of this amazing circuit was with the current crop of Supercars, admittedly virtually a 'one make' series with the cars representing different manufacturers by virtue of the name only.

Frankly I think the series is great.

It regularly brings about some exceptionally close racing and race wins by the tiniest of margins and that surely, is what motorsport entertainment is all about.

The standard of engineering is high and the margins are as close as in any form of racing, the cars sound like real racing cars should, they look like real racing sedans, they are fast and the skill level required to drive them on the ragged edge is of the highest order yet still there are some who think the series is a farce.

Clearly the two hundred thousand plus crowd that descended on the place just a week ago, including the fifty six thousand there on race day alone and 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 over 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 to all of this a new young breed of drivers now mixing it up with the established order and as a bonus, one of them being a Kiwi in Richie Stanaway who drove arguably the best stint of any driver in the race, so what more could one ask from a motor race.

To get an appreciation of just how treacherous a place 'The Mountain' can be, I was fortunate to be taken on a lap, albeit in a minibus, and 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, driving a car on the very edge of balance with tyres on the very edge of adhesion like ballerinas pointe shoes.

The racing was exciting enough and the event was an assault on the senses but then to look at the many hundreds of campers in the various tent cities that surround the track, those at the top of the mountain almost having 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 then 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 and from what I heard while walking amongst, 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 in fact, but the upside is that it normally brings about closer racing.

If people want to see many different makes racing together then club or historic racing is your destination and then those people can revel in 'the good old days'.

For today's racing will actually 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, in order for it to prosper.

People can moan, complain, criticise, pick holes and denigrate Supercars all they like, it is of course a right of free speech and I am sure it gives them, and their followers, great succour to do so but instead of only complaining try 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 offer now is the best we are going to get and I cannot wait to see the series in action once again at Pukekohe in early November.