THE Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour may welcome the world to Mount Panorama, Bathurst, but there’s no doubt it is as Australian as a barbie, boardies and backyard cricket.
So for the benefit of those traveling to our great country for the race this year, or for those who will be up through all-hours of the night watching the live steam, here’s a few things that make this race and this place so uniquely ‘Aussie’.
It is the only race in the world where the drivers briefing contains numerous mentions and warnings about kangaroos on the circuit, and where Kangaroos have influenced the outcome of a race.
Mount Panorama is a prime example all of Australia’s weather climates in one place: from the incredible heat of the Simpson Desert to the tropical rain of Queensland’s far North and the snow of, well, the Snowy Mountains.
Most of these weather patterns can, and have been, experienced in your average Bathurst 12 hour race. Sometimes they have occurred at the same time at different parts of the circuit and as many will attest that is absolutely not a joke.
The Seven Network pioneered the use of beaming live on-board pictures from race cars at Bathurst in 1979, technology designed and developed in Australia and now utilised around the world in every form of Motorsport possible. It will continue at Bathurst this year – still on the Networks of Seven.
The Top of the Mountain has a remarkable history, especially for the Bathurst 1000 classic each October. We’ll let you use a search engine to dig up the wildest stories, but here’s one example: When officials imposed a limit on the amount of alcohol fans could bring to the circuit, the inventive Aussie fans tried to circumvent the rule by paying a visit to Bathurst several weeks before the race, burying their Beer under the ground before recovering it during the race week!
Australia is a very old country, but a very young nation. The Blue Mountains – the dividing range that separates the Sydney metro region with Bathurst – were only first crossed by European settlers in 1814. Established the same year, Bathurst is Australia’s oldest inland settlement and celebrated its bicentenary in 2015.
By comparison, other major worldwide events in 1814 included Norway declaring independence, the Napoleonic Wars reaching their conclusion, the war of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States ending and the Congress of Vienna formally dissolving the Holy Roman Empire, amongst cleaning up some of Napoleon’s other issues. Also in 1814, Adolphe Sax – the inventor of the Saxaphone – was born.
Meanwhile, a small parcel of flat land near a river 200km inland from Sydney would have to wait for more than 100 years before someone looked at a range of hills North of the city and said ‘Hmm…’.
Speaking of old, Indigenous Australians of the Wiradjuri people have lived in these lands for more than 40,000 years.
The Wiradjuri people are the people of the three rivers – the Wambool (Macquarie), the Calare/Kalari (Lachlan) and the Murrumbidgee. The Bathurst Regional Council Local Government Area encompasses part of the land of the Wiradjuri people. The local Wiradjuri Elders promote the cultural heritage and customs within the Bathurst area.
The Elders provide community consultation and uphold the traditional values and customs for the benefit of the Bathurst and surrounding communities.
Ben Chifley, a war-time prime minister during World War Two, was born in Bathurst. Chifley is also famous for unveiling the first ever Holden – the 48-215 – when it was launched in 1948.
Don’t think Bathurst is a town that loves motorsport? The city’s FM radio station is called B-ROCK FM. There is an argument that the ‘B’ stands for Bathurst but lets not kid ourselves – we all know it’s a nod to the greatest ever at Mount Panorama: Peter Perfect himself.
Local ‘Gum’ (Eucalyptus) trees are numerous around Mount Panorama. However, the iconic trees have influenced the outcome of the race before: in 2010 it was stopped when a tree toppled across the circuit at Forrest’s Elbow after hours of torrential rain.
Local State Emergency Services and the Bathurst Council got out the chainsaws, removed the obstacle and got the race underway again after just over an hour of red flag delays. Meanwhile, campers at the next major Bathurst event had no shortage of firewood.
Mount Panorama is, of course, a public road and has more than 20 residences on it, as well as a car club (Bathurst Light Car Club), a winery, the National Motor racing museum and the Rydges Mount Panorama resort hotel.
In another ‘only in Australia’ scenario, it seems motorsport actually adds to property values: Lot 505, Conrod Straight was recently sold to a pair of motorsport enthusiasts for about $2.7 million. When it was last sold – in the early 1990s – it went for just over $200k. Tell that to people who complain about having a race track near by!
The record race distance for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour is 1,845km. If you drove West from Sydney for that distance, you would end up at the South Australian outback town of Minnipa (pop. 253).
At posted limits and driving non-stop, that trip would take just over 19 hours and you would pass through only the border of New South Wales and South Australia to get there.
For reference, to travel the same distance due-West from New York would see you pass through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and just about reach Des Moines, in Iowa, before stopping.
If you’re in Europe, heading East from London you would cross the English Channel, pass through France, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and end up not far from the Ukraine border, in far-Eastern Poland.