The Great Race


As a club official who missed out on his annual pilgrimage to “The Mount” for the first time in 13 years, (playing tourist on this side of the Equator) I was rapped to read your report of “The Great Race” (Hardie-Ferodo 1000 1979) on page 1837. You have captured the atmosphere of the race every well though one must camp behind the pits for the week to fully experience said atmosphere, akin to camping behind the pits at Le Mans during their race in June.

Your description of the circuit omitted the most exhilarating section (after Hell Corner lap 1), that is Skyline. Approached at 100+ m.p.h., over the 

top, right 45° and brake hard downhill is an experience many drivers never forget for all that is visible is a 200° panorama of the countryside 600° below and 10 miles out. Many a spectator in bygone years remembers Doug Whiteford, a multi-Australian Grand Prix winner who drover works Datsun 1600s when in his 60’s, skittling, under big V8s over Skyline as the other drivers raced heart in mouth, looking for the invisible road. With a twinkle in his eye. Doug always explained that he had been driving over that hill for 40 years and the road hadn’t moved yet!

Attention must be brought to the caption of the top picture on page 1937. Peter Brock campaigns for the 0.05% (not 0.5%) blood/alcohol limit in Victoria (NSW has a 0.08% limit). The highest alcoholic level that I can recall someone living through was 0.42% (it is generally accepted that one should be dead above 0.35%).

Hoping that your English readers’ education of Bathurst can be completed with aid of my letter.

Tamworth NSW, Mal Elliott