Bathurst 2004 Run Report by Pat Gagal
An event a long time in the making with our initial deposits for the camp sites made back in February this year. Due to peoples different work commitments we had different departure times with Lawrie, Trevor, and Andrew departing on Monday for Bathurst, Pat, Sam, Gerry and Hewie on Thursday, Peter, Maree and Steve on the Friday, and Marty on the Saturday.
When we arrived, Lawrie, Trev and Andrew had the campsite fairly well sorted out, and all we had to do was to set up our accommodation. The six sites fitted us all very comfortably leaving adequate space for the cars and a large area to sit, eat and be merry.
The event coincided with a Torana Show down at the showground, which included entry to the track, so we all entered the show as well, so the first stop was the Showground to pick up our tickets. We were greeted by a truck full of L34's both ex-race cars and street cars.
Friday was largely uneventful, and we spent the day cleaning, polishing, and touching up the cars in preparation for the show and parade lap on Saturday. The highlight of the day was watching the 1978 05 A9X with Peter Brock duelling an SS Commodore. Brock stepping it out on the chase, which we have on video, both before and after the chase. We'll post the video footage when we stick the bits together.
Friday night, we went to the showground for the official show welcome, mind you half of us missed it due to talking to different peeps outside. Harry Firth, Colin Bond, Gary Rogers, Leo Geoghan, and Peter Brock were all in attendance. Harry Firth got on the microphone later in the night, and was still talking when we left, answering peoples questions and reminiscing about the Torana.
We had to be at the track at 6:45am in preparation for the parade lap at 7:30am on Saturday morning. Before that we had to wash the dust and dew from the previous night from the cars. To allow an additional hour sleeping time, Pat awoke at 3:00am and prepared bacon and eggs for breakfast, allowing us to roll down to the car wash at 5:30am. We assembled at the designated spot outside the motor museum, and did our blat. It was chaotic as they tried to get 100 Toranas on the track in the shortest possible time.
We have video footage of the parade lap from Gerry (Pat's video camera) and Lawrie's car of the parade lap, which will follow later. Somehow, Pat managed to get onto the track. Highlights were Lawrie's brakes smoking by the end of one lap, and top speeds down Conrod in the vicinity of 180 km/h.
We returned to the campground to avoid the traffic jam of 100 Toranas trundling back to the track, including the racecars that had special permission to drive on the road from the RTA.
The guys returned to the showground, and set up the display. Laurie did a good job, setting up a DVD display of the Torana Trilogy with permission from Chevron Publishing. Crowds were light, one assumes due to what was occurring on the Mountain. Meanwhile, Pat's Torana back at the track enjoyed a good following, with many an onlooker photographing the car (news travels fast!).
Race day came around, and despite awaking at 5:30am to get a good spot, the track was already heavily populated with spectators for the day. Pat couldn't resist but do his own parade lap at 7:50am up and down mountain and pit straights before the gates closed at 8:00am (video footage will follow). At night, they closed the tunnel under Conrod Straight, our day time access, and opened the gates via the main straight for access, awesome.
We took up our various posies for the start of the race, before wandering back at various times to watch the telecast on the TV at our campsite. Trevor, Lawrie and Gerry went at lunchtime for the photo shoot at the showground. Our campsite was only 2 rows up from the tarred road from the track to the scrutineering area, so we went down there at the finish of the race to high five the drivers returning from the track. The track was open about 2-3 hours after the race, so after picking up some pizzas for dinner, Pat and Sam did another lap of the circuit, mind you at this time there were people still walking down on the circuit, so it was a pretty restrained, but nevertheless interesting lap around the track.
Sunday night we were all pretty bushed, so we settled down for a quiet one before heading off the next day.
The trip home was great. Trevor took us from Blaney to Wyangla Dam then onto Boorowa to avoid the post race traffic jams in Cowra. What a fantastic country road, the Toranas loved it. Thanks for the great drive home Trev, it was better than the track, also a big thankyou for organizing the camp sites for us.
© Copyright 2004 Canberra Torana Club.