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Monday, May 27, 2024


NOT all iconic Bathurst moments are wins or losses.

An array of other Mountain memories are woven just as deeply into the fabric of Great Race history, often thanks to the magic of television.

Glenn Seton’s epic drive on slick tyres amid a rain shower in the notoriously unruly Nissan Skyline DR30 during the 1987 James Hardie 1000 is one such moment.

The famous in-car footage received a huge reception when we shared it on the V8 Sleuth Facebook page recently, over 34 years after the fact.

SHOP: Get the full 1987 James Hardie 1000 on DVD in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop

Even after all these years and all he achieved during his career, it’s a moment that Seton himself often gets asked about by fans.

Seton was placed third in the race during the dramatic moments in question, having overtaken factory BMW driver Johnny Cecotto in the laps before the rain started to fall 110 laps into the 161 lap race.

The Peter Jackson Nissan was chasing the two Eggenberger Ford Sierras and, with the showers predicted to come and go, Seton remained on slicks until he handed over to co-driver John Bowe on lap 119.

Writing in his book, Seto: The Official Racing History of Glenn Seton, the man himself explained that his driving appears a lot more dramatic now than it felt at the time.

“Looking back now it was crazy, but at the time it helped that I was getting towards the end of a stint when the rain arrived, so I had hot tyres and was in a rhythm,” wrote Seton.

“In that situation, when rain slowly starts to come down in different parts of the track, you can adapt to it easier than coming out of pit lane on wets onto a wet track.

“Your confidence is a little bit scarred when you drive out of the pits in that situation, but I’d already done 20 laps in the dry and we were ripping along at a good pace.

“Only once did I think I was going to crash. It got away from me down Conrod Straight; I had two wheels on the dirt to driver’s left, trying to coax it back onto the road.”

Seton’s wild slides had the Seven commentators uttering a series of ‘oohs and ahhs’, while the Nissan team, including Glenn’s engine-building father Bo and boss Fred Gibson, also watched on in amazement.

“Dad later told me that Fred had been on the radio telling me to slow down, but for whatever reason I never heard it. Radio reception was notoriously bad at Bathurst,” Seton added.

“At the time, I was surprised to be passing all these Europeans in Sierras and BMWs across the top of the Mountain like they were dawdling.

“I was thinking ‘get on with it guys, come on’.”

A lack of downforce made the DR30 a nervous car, even in dry conditions. Pic: an1images.com / Dale Rodgers

Unfortunately for Seton, Bathurst 1987 was ultimately a win that got away.

Bowe and Peter Brock were among those to pits for wets when heavy rain hit with just under 30 laps remaining.

Cecotto and a range of others crashed at the top of the Mountain as the pit stops were unfolding, which brought out the Safety Car and, under the 1987 rules, closed pit exit.

Brock was able to rejoin before the exit was closed, while Bowe, Nissan teammate George Fury and others were stuck and dropped a lap.

When the two Eggenberger Fords were eventually disqualified for wheel arch irregularities, Brock and co-drivers David Parsons and Peter McLeod inherited victory, with Seton/Bowe second.

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