Bathurst 1000 fever started its slow boil for the October 7 eruption in Sydney yesterday with the official launch of the run up to the great race.
Last year's winner David Reynolds was on hand with former tin-top great Colin Bond where both showcased the Peter Brock trophy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Holden's first win on the Mountain.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer also announced that there will be three new inductees into Legends Lane at the event to join the inaugural 14 cohort from last year of Allan Moffat, Bond, Dick Johnson, Jim Richards, Fred Gibson, Bob Morris, John Harvey, Kevin Bartlett, John Bowe, Allan Grice, John Goss, Larry Perkins, Bob Jane and Peter Brock.
Holden's first win came in 1968 with the privateer Holden Monaro of the late Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland, who famously completed a single lap to satisfy the co-driver regulations. Bond backed-up Holden's Bathurst success the following year in 1969 with Tony Roberts in the Monaro – the first triumph for the Holden Dealer Team.
The Monaro of Bond's era was parked next to the Reynold's Erebus Commodore and Bond told the Herald with a chuckle, "One of those went $500,000 recently and I reckon that's more than yours [to Reynolds] will be worth later on."
He went on to chat about what is was like racing a stock standard car back in the day and what they had to cope with. "It was amazing how we used to drive these cars around the track as the steering wheel was about half an inch thick and you slid all around the seat.
"I think back about how we ever managed to drive those things but we didn't know any better, and everyone was in the same sort of machinery.
"What you had to do in those days was nurse the car around as they were a standard motor car. [I sat in the one at the launch and the only modification it had was a rev counter on the centre console under the dash with the red line at about 2300rpm. The rest of the car was as it would have rolled off the production including the radio in the dash.]," he said.
The one thing Bond and Reynolds had in common is that it took a while for their respective wins to sink in. To win that one race is probably the hardest thing to do and is something to be savored for a lifetime.
"I actually still don't believe I've won," said Reynolds whose co-driver was Luke Youlden. "It just feels different. When I look at the Bathurst winners, they're all legends and they've got heaps of accolades in the sport and I just don't feel like I'm that person yet. It's weird.
"Bathurst is notoriously hard to win and the hardest race of the year. The whole week takes it out of you. It's nuts. Basically, it's a sprint race the whole day."
Reynolds went on to say, that for the defence of his Bathurst title he has the same car, same team, same co-driver, same strategy and same mind set so things should go okay. However, that race has broken more hearts than entire championships put together. There are just so many variables on that mountain that no one has any control over that you need to have Lady Luck riding shotgun with you.
"Hopefully we are professional enough and skilled enough to get on top of any anomaly that might arise. There are so many variables that week, but we were lucky last year because the car rolled out of the truck with a lot of pace.
"Generally, if you start with a fast car you can generally stay at the top. The best luck you can have at Bathurst is no luck. You don't want good luck [having to rely on it] and you don't want bad luck.
"If you've got a fast car, do all your pit stops right and are up the front for the last stint you're in with a chance," said Reynolds.
As Supercars CEO Sean Seamer was on hand, the Herald decided to ask him on the back of the great success of the night race at Sydney Motorsport Park, if there was any consideration for repeat a night race at the November round of the championship at Pukekohe. There has been the odd rumour being floated that the category might just be thinking about it.
"I haven't heard anything about that. That's a new one for me," said Seamer. "We're really happy how Sydney went and will look at potential other venues for either twilight or night races. But we're not going to be converting every track we go to being under lights.
"Pukekohe has the challenge of its proximity to residential dwellings, so that would be a very trick venue to do anything like that at."