On this day: The final win for an all-time great

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/09/2021
  • By James Pavey, Main Pic by AN1 Images

Larry Perkins achieved a great deal more than most in Australian motorsport, headlined by six Bathurst wins.

From Monaco to Mount Panorama, Le Mans to Lakeside, Supercars Hall of Famer Perkins enjoyed a remarkable career.

It was on September 19, 1999, that Perkins claimed his final championship race victory.

The venue? Queensland Raceway? The distance? 500 kilometres. His co-driver? A bloke he was quite familiar with.

The years leading to Perkins’ victory alongside Russell Ingall in the Ipswich enduro had featured some of the legendary driver’s best moments.

The start of the historic 1997 Great Race

Having carved out a strong career of his own, Perkins achieved extraordinary success with his own team.

Bathurst wins with Ingall in 1995 and 1997, following a 1993 victory alongside the late Gregg Hansford, solidified Perkins as an all-time great.

The ATCC/Supercars history books have Perkins as the winner of just eight championship race wins, and finished an equal career-best fourth overall in 1998.

Coming into 1999, and Perkins and Ingall were buoyed by a 1998 Sandown win having defeated the might of the Holden Racing Team and Dick Johnson Racing.

Ingall had won sprints in Darwin and Ipswich and had pushed Craig Lowndes all the way to the title.

Perkins and Ingall won the 1998 Sandown 500

Perkins, meanwhile, had managed just five top 10 finishes in 16 starts to the Queensland enduro.

Queensland Raceway form counted for much for Ingall and Perkins, the former having won a sprint in the venue’s championship debut earlier in the year.

Ingall made an aggressive start from sixth of a whopping 42-car grid.

The #4 Stone Brothers Racing Falcon of Jason Bright and Craig Baird had paced the field all weekend, and Bright led away.

Ingall was fifth in the queue when Bright fell into the clutches of Paul Radisich, who claimed the lead on lap 9.

Jason Bargwanna cleared Bright, but Mark Skaife couldn’t do the same, making contact and spinning into the Turn 4 infield.

Ingall took the lead from Bargwanna after a Safety Car at quarter-race distance, and after a solid middle stanza by Perkins, the #11 Castrol Commodore regained the lead following the stops on lap 118.

By that stage, Lowndes - who led the standings by just 22 points - was sixth, and would retain his lead after finishing third.

Bargwanna and Garth Tander would finish second ahead of Lowndes, who benefited from a dramatic late off for Greg Murphy, who would get the last laugh with a Bathurst win just weeks later.

However, the day belonged to Ingall and Perkins, who at 49, had risen to the pinnacle for the final time.

Ingall's final win came at Oran Park in 2005

“One down, one more to go,” said Perkins, with an eye on a seventh Bathurst win.

It wouldn’t eventuate, Ingall and Perkins seventh and last of the lead lap runners in Bathurst as Lowndes clinched the title with second.

Perkins had again established himself as an endurance expert, and retired from full-time racing at the end of 2002.

His 38th and final top three finish came at Pukekohe in 2002.

He returned for the Sandown and Bathurst enduros in 2003, and called it a day after finishing fourth alongside Steven Richards in the Great Race.

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