Bathurst just won’t be the same without the old rivalry
My first memory of car racing is from 1969, when Colin Bond won the Bathurst 500 in a Holden Monaro.
In those days, you were a Ford man or you were a Holden man.
At the time, mum and dad had just sold our EK Holden for a Valiant Station Wagon.
I stayed loyal to The General and cheered for whoever drove a Holden.
We bought a Holden Premier in 1973 and then a LH Torana in 1975.
I learnt to drive in the LH Torana, with it’s 202 straight six engine.
Since 1967, there’s only been three years when a Ford or Holden has not won Bathurst.
Holden fans cheered a young Craig Lowndes, then booed him when he defected to Ford.
When Fords were Fords and Holdens were Holdens.
Ah, those were the days.
The passion of the fans was incredible.
So what happens to that passion now that vehicles are no longer manufactured in Australia.
The thunder of the V8s as they roar up mountain straight will be just as loud.
The flames from the unburnt fuel will be just as bright as the cars head down through the dipper.
The excitement will still build as they go through Forrest Elbow and into Conrod Straight and hit top speed.
The crowd will still cheer as the drivers navigate the Chase and finally Murray’s Corner as the head up Pit Straight.
They will still hit almost impossible speeds as they hurtle around the Mount Panorama circuit, seemingly defying the laws of physics, and thousands of Aussies will still cheer them on.
But to me, once it’s no longer Holden versus Ford, the race will never be quite the same.
And remember, there is no such thing as too much sport.