Skaife’s insights into that 'wild' Bathurst podium

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 27/08/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

Mark Skaife has provided an insight into what it was like to be atop the Bathurst podium in 1992 as fans hurled beer cans at he and fellow winning driver Jim Richards.

Skaife and Richards had just won the Great Race for a second straight year aboard the Nissan Skyline dubbed ‘Godzilla’ – and only after red flags were shown as torrential rain caused a flurry of drivers including Richards to crash in succession.

With the race cut short, Skaife and Richards were soon enough determined to be the victors courtesy of being the leaders on countback.  

“We were all sort of bemused, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Skaife recalled as part of the Thirsty for a Good Story video series.

“By the time that Jimmy got down to the pit area, it would have been three or four minutes later, we were told by a marshal who had come into our pit area and said, ‘you guys have won the race’.

“We just went mad, everybody was jumping around like maniacs because winning Australia’s biggest race is a pretty big deal.

“We knew the crowd probably wasn’t going to be overly in love with a Nissan win, especially a controversial Nissan win.

“We could hear the animosity… everyone was blueing.”

Richards is known for infamously calling the crowd that day ‘a pack of arseholes’ but it’s perhaps less known that he was actually responsible for calming a fired-up Skaife before the podium ceremony.

“I walked over to the bar and I said to the gentleman behind the bar, ‘could you please just pass me some beers?’” said Skaife, pictured above with Richards in 1989.

“Jimmy walks over to me and says, ‘what are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m going to throw a few back’.

“I was serious, because I could hear cans being chucked at the wall – and he went, ‘na mate, calm down, put those back’.

“It wouldn’t have been two minutes later that Richo has called the crowd a pack of arseholes and the joint just went mental.

“There were beer cans coming at us, we were ducking stuff.

“One of the funniest things was that the managing director of Nissan in the day, a guy called Leon Daphne… he and his beautiful wife Kerry were parked at the back of the crowd. Kerry got her Nissan umbrella and started whacking blokes!

“Fortunately for Richo, 10 years later Jimmy and I were able to win in 2002 in a Holden and he called them a pack of wonderful people, so he was able to make amends 10 years on.

“But that 1992 podium was one of the ones that when we do have a beer these days, we have a laugh and a joke but at the time it was pretty wild.”

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