THE Repco Bathurst 1000 is hard enough to win without having to overcome the fickle finger of fate.
Find out how two of the more unusual ‘Great Race’ curses hit hard in 2022 in the Mount Panorama edition of Stats Insider.
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Rotten luck for retro liveries
A retro-liveried car had not won the Bathurst 1000 prior to this year, and the curse remains intact after the 2022 edition of the race.
Dick Johnson Racing marked its 1000th race with a throwback livery paying tribute to the team’s Shell Helix Ford Falcons of the late 1990s, in particular the colours carried by the team at Bathurst in 1998 when Dick first paired with son Steve.
Neither car was able to break the curse: the #100 Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto car carried damage from the early-race skirmishes throughout the day but recovered to seventh despite a slow brake change, while the #17 Mustang ended its race in the barriers at Griffins Bend on Lap 142.
Will Davison’s late-race crash also ended brother Alex’s 100 percent finishing record in the ‘Great Race’; in a twist of fate, the streak ended at 17 finishes due to a crash by car #17…
The third retro livery in the field, the #22 PremiAir Racing Holden that paid tribute to Wayne Gardner Racing’s 1995 Coca-Cola colours, also endured some late heartbreak.
Chris Pither and Cameron Hill ran as high as 10th during the day before the former copped a mechanical black flag with 20 laps to go for trailing smoke.
The smoke was caused by power steering failure, the #22 lost a total of eight laps in the garage undergoing repairs but made it to the chequered flag in 21st place.
Second place remains the highest finishing position for a retro-liveried car in the Bathurst 1000, achieved by the 1967 race winner throwback on David Reynolds/Dean Canto’s FPR Falcon in 2012 and repeated by the 1971-themed Holden Dealer Team livery on Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander’s Triple Eight Commodore in 2019.
Unlucky eighth strikes again
Eighth place on the grid has still yet to deliver a Bathurst 1000 winner.
The unlucky victims of the ‘eighth place’ curse in 2022 were James Courtney and Zane Goddard, whose race ended with just four laps in the books with the multi-car crash at the Chase.
This year marked the 17th ‘Great Race’ for Courtney, whose best finish remains his second place alongside David Besnard in the 2007 event.
Courtney has the most Bathurst 1000 starts of any full-time driver on the 2022 grid that has yet to win the race.
Remarkably, Courtney has now started the race from eighth on the grid in three out of the past five years; he was out of the race early in 2018 but came home 10th in 2020 – perhaps courtesy of some birthday luck from co-driver Broc Feeney.
Worst early attrition in almost 40 years
The early race carnage put four cars out of the Bathurst 1000 before Lap 5 had been completed.
Thomas Randle and Zak Best’s #55 Tickford Racing Mustang was somehow the only retiree following the Lap 1 chaos up Mountain Straight, while #5 Courtney/Goddard were joined on the sidelines by #8 Andre Heimgartner/Dale Wood and #26 David Reynolds/Matt Campbell following the Lap 5 incident at the Chase.
It represents the most cars to have retired from the ‘Great Race’ prior to completing five laps in 36 years.
The first retiree from the 1986 James Hardie 1000 made it as far as Murray’s Corner, the #14 Mercedes-Benz 190E of Andrew Miedecke and Jörg van Ommen ending up in the armco with the German ace at the wheel.
International stars Roberto Ravaglia and Dieter Quester were out after two laps when a tangle with John Goss ended with their stunningly liveried BMW 635CSi in the wall on the run up to the Cutting.
Potential class-winners John Smith and Drew Price were the next to fall when their works Toyota Corolla blew its engine at the end of the third lap, while the privateer Holden of Tony Kavich and Ralph Radburn did the same on the run up Mountain Straight on Lap 5.
New benchmark for wildcards
Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser reset the mark for the best finish by a wildcard entry in the Bathurst 1000 since their introduction in 2009.
The #888 Holden’s eighth-place finish pips the old record, set in 2013 by another Triple Eight wildcard entry.
On that occasion, Mattias Ekström and Andy Priaulx drove their Xbox-backed #10 Holden to 10th place, while the international combination also led the race for a total of 17 laps.
The Triple Eight wildcard also found the front of the race this year, Fraser heading the field for three laps in the early stages.
You just can’t keep them away from each other…
Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters completed an unusual feat when they stepped onto the Mount Panorama podium on Sunday.
By finishing second and third respectively, both Mostert and Waters have both finished on the podium of the last three editions of the Bathurst 1000.
It’s not unusual for a driver to claim three successive podiums; think of the hat-tricks of victories by Peter Brock (twice), Jim Richards, Larry Perkins, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup as a start.
But it is unusual for two drivers to achieve podium hat-tricks without being paired in the same car on any of the three occasions!
The most notable instance was during Lowndes and Whincup’s run of wins from 2006 to 2008 – James Courtney was on the podium with them all three times!
Mostert and Waters were set to tackle the 2015 race as a pairing until the former’s crash in qualifying, and the latter’s elevation to the ‘main game’ in 2016 meant they never got to share a car at Bathurst in their time as Tickford teammates prior to Mostert’s departure at the end of 2019.
Triple Eight joins Holden legends on nine wins
The win for Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander marks the ninth victory for Triple Eight Race Engineering in the Bathurst 1000.
While that matches the tally of Peter Brock’s victories as a driver, it also equals the record for the most ‘Great Race’ wins by a team.
The Holden Dealer Team notched up nine wins across its existence including Brock’s ninth and final triumph in 1987 under the HDT Racing banner.
It also marks Triple Eight’s second victory with Jamie Whincup as a team co-owner and its first with Whincup as the boss.
Although starting on the back foot with a three-place grid penalty that dropped it to seventh for the start, the #97 Holden took 44 laps to hit the lead and remained there for all but nine laps across the rest of the race.
Van Gisbergen and Tander’s final tally of 110 laps in the lead represents the most laps led by the winning car since 2003, when Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly led 120 laps on their way to victory.