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Ripping Yarns: The dangers of Bathurst

V8 SLEUTH is celebrating the festive season with a series of great racing tales from the Motorsport News archives.

Today’s story was told by Bob Morris for the 400th edition of MN in 2010.

I remember the time Toyota offered me the drive at Bathurst in one of their Corollas (1968).

I was only very young, and Bill Buckle flew me down to Melbourne to try out the car.

We go to the track and I drive the car, and they seem happy with me, so I flew back to Sydney feeling pretty sure they’re going to give me the drive.

The car didn’t have a roll cage in it. I was a bit concerned about that, because those little cars back then were like tissue paper structurally.

As a driver I was always very safety conscious; I always tried to make sure I had the proper safety equipment in my cars, so I asked them whether or not they were going to put a roll cage in it for Bathurst.

It was only later I found out that I almost didn’t get the drive because I’d asked for a roll bar – I think they must have thought I was a bit soft!

An emotional Bob Morris won Bathurst in 1976. Pic: Supplied

I did get the drive, and that was my first Bathurst. It was an experience.

The Corolla had about 60 horsepower, which was nothing compared to the 300 or more the Monaros and Falcons had. The speed differential was enormous.

You’d come out of a corner and onto a straight, and then try to get over to one side of the track so you’d be out of the way as the bigger cars flew past.

But they would be coming up on you so quickly that it was hard just to find a gap to get across – it was almost like trying a cross a busy road on foot!

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