Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst (September 30th)
Created in the sixties and converted to 1,000 kilometre duration in 1973, Australia’s annual touring car race has developed into the highlight of their motor sporting year. This year’s event went, for the second year in succession, to the immaculately presented and driven Marlboro-backed Holden Dealer Team Torana of Peter Brock and expatriate New Zealander Jim Richards.
This year the GM-manufactured Torana 5-litres were too good for the remaining privately run Ford Falcons, whose 5.8-litre V8s are not sufficient compensation for extra body weight and lack of recent development.
Peter Williamson’s Toyota Celica twin cam broke the monotony at ninth, while Derek Bell’s ride in an Alfetta GTV produced tenth overall, second in class.
The well publicised Mark Thatcher led his class (the smallest) until the distributor drive sheared after two of the six hours plus that the race occupied. Best British performance came, as usual in this type of event, from Solihull’s John Fitzpatrick. Sharing the obsolete Alan Moffat Falcon, Fitzpatrick was up to second overall when the V8 smokily expired with 56 minutes of racing left.
More about this colourful event, watched by millions. of TV viewers over a 9 our period, next month.