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Lowndes vs Larry! Legends entertain in Bathurst laps

THE sight of Craig Lowndes sliding the 2006 Bathurst 1000-winning Ford Falcon around Mount Panorama highlighted a special demonstration session on Saturday at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

Six cars took to the circuit in the first of two track outings that form part of the Great Race’s 60th anniversary celebrations, each driven by a legendary name.

Lowndes was behind the wheel of the Falcon he drove to an emotional Bathurst victory in 2006, run just weeks after the death of his mentor Peter Brock.

Bathurst winning Commodores from 1993 and 2012 were also on track, driven by their original lead pilots Larry Perkins and Jamie Whincup respectively.

GALLERY: Legendary cars on track at Bathurst 1000

The Johnson, Brock and Richards family dynasties were also represented.

Jett Johnson drove one of his grandfather Dick’s Group A Ford Mustangs, while James Brock steered a 1986 Mobil Commodore once raced by his stepfather Peter.

Steven Richards meanwhile had the honour of steering a Nissan Skyline HR31 in which Jim had set up his victory in the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Pic: Ross Gibb

It was Lowndes, though, who had the attention of the TV cameras, as he strapped into the famous Falcon for the first time since 2006.

“It was fun. It was back to the old H-pattern, getting familiar with that,” Lowndes told V8 Sleuth after his laps.

“Everything in the car, the seatbelts, everything, is what we had in ’06. It was a lot of fun and just good to reminisce and remember what the cars were like.”

Lowndes spent the early part of the demo tucked in behind Perkins’ recently restored Castrol Commodore, before overtaking and pushing on.

Craig Lowndes. Pic: Ross Gibb

“We had a bit of fun,” smiled Lowndes. “Jack (Perkins, who was responsible for the restoration of his father’s Commodore) said that his top gear wasn’t conducive to Conrod.

“Once we had our couple of laps of demonstration, I think we all wanted to have a bit of a crack.”

Perkins meanwhile had recently driven his restored Commodore at Calder, and enjoyed soaking up the Bathurst atmosphere.

“It’s great to be here because I don’t come to the races all the time now,” he said, paying tribute to son Jack’s efforts to restore the car ahead of the 30th anniversary of his famous win.

“To see a tremendous crowd of people here, all the enthusiasts of an industry that I love, it’s great to see and I thank every fan for coming along.”

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