Fans of V8 supercars rank the Bathurst 1000 as the utmost of races in Australian motorsports. The Bathurst 1000 draws crowds from fields afar for this spectacular racing event. There are many more knowledgeable people on the actual cars of the Bathurst 1000 than I, but when looking at some mens presents the other day with names such as Hardie Ferodo 500 emblazoned on them, I decided it was time to explore further the history behind such names and the heros behind them.
Significance and History of the Name:
Beginning at Phillip Island as the 1960 Armstrong 500, the 500 mile race, while comparing which makes had the best combinations of speed, ability, and dependability, also held an opportunity for Armstrong to advertise its products, particularly its shock absorbers.
After only three years of use, the track at Phillip Island was worn down and not suitable for racing, so in 1963 the race was moved to the Mount Panorama track in Bathurst, NSW. (for those who may be interested, the Mount Panorama track is aptly named due to the incredible view overlooking the fields around it!) Over the years the race has changed names due to sponsorships, most recently being termed the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, but the legendary merchandise of mens presents still has names such as Hardie Ferodo 500 and Armstrong 500 emblazoned on it.
Cars of the Bathurst 1000:
In the beginnings, the 1960 Armstrong 500 was specifically for only Australian made cars, whereas now it has branched out and included cars such as Nissan, Ford, and the BMW. Holden and Ford still hold the significant titles, and the Big Bangers have gone down in history.
Famous Names of the Bathurst 1000:
While Holden ranks for the highest number of wins for the car make, there are some drivers’ names that have gone down in history as legends of the Bathurst race. Names such as Peter Brock, Bob Jane, and Jim Richards have become household names amongst car racing fans. Why is this so? Peter Brock rightfully earned the title King of the Mountain due to his nine victories, and winners of the Bathurst 1000 now receive the Peter Brock Trophy in honour of this legend. Bob Jane, most commonly known to the general people for his national tyre company, won four successive races, giving him an excellent foundation for his entrepreneurial endeavours in starting his automotive businesses. And Jim Richards? Well, since his beginnings in 1978 until the present day, he still holds the record for the most starts in the race – 35. He has also won the race 7 on seven occasions. Though not as highly ranking as the first three drivers named, Allan Moffat deserves a mention. A Canadian-born man, Moffat is Ford’s most successful driver in the race and in 1977 won his fourth Bathurst 1000.
While this only barely touches on the significance of the Bathurst 1000 in the world of motor sports, I have attempted to give an overview of one of the greatest races in Australian motorsports and explore the significance of some of those legendary titles I saw on various mens presents – the titles that will be remembered down through the years of motor racing.