A few weeks ago we saw the first modern iteration of the Bathurst 6 Hour race for Production Touring Cars. The first one ever, was in October 1962 and was for production touring and sports cars. History reports that brothers Leo and Ian Geoghegan won in a Daimler SP250. This time around, it was Nathan Morcomb and Chaz Mostert in a BMW 335.
As a race it was interesting, as long-distance races tend to be. There’s someone coming back from a drama, there’s someone going faster than everyone thinks is wise. There’s someone too stubborn to admit they should park the car and save themselves the trouble.
But for me, it felt like the Bathurst 1000 of the days of yore, when you could build a half-decent car in your shed and have a crack at a top-ten. When privateer teams, on the bones of their arse, could still be there, despite having no chance (and knowing it, but just needing to Be In It.)
You see, these days the Bathurst 1000 and 12 Hour are mostly about works teams and other teams that are very well-funded. And that’s mostly a good thing, but it takes away the stories. It takes away the spirit, the need to just have a go. This year this spirit was exemplified by Luke Searle’s team. They’d been fast in practice, but co-driver Barry Graham got sick and had to withdraw so Luke enlisted Paul Morris (let’s face it, a bloody good bench player). Then, in Saturday morning’s final practice session their only engine blew itself to bits.