The later Great Race: Bathurst 1000s in November

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/07/2021
  • By James Pavey, Pics by AN1 Images

Friday's news of a revised 2021 Repco Supercars Championship calendar featured confirmation of a November Great Race.

The Repco Bathurst 1000, the sole enduro of the 2021 season, will be held across November 4-7.

The 2021 season will resume at Winton in October, followed by the ninth round at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue.

This year's Bathurst 1000, which will be the 64th running of the Great Race, will be the 10th round of the season, followed by events in Sydney and Surfers Paradise.

The annual trip to Bathurst for the 161-lap epic is traditionally held in October.

This year, however, it has been pushed to November, However, it won't be the first instance of a November Great Race.

The 1998 (November 15), 1999 (November 14) and 2000 (November 19) races were all staged in the 11th month of the year.

The 1998 race was the first held after the organisational split between the Australian Racing Drivers Club and V8 Supercars over the Great Race the previous year.

Bright wins in 1998

Steven Richards, a five-time Bathurst winner, won the 1998 and 1999 races for different teams.

Richards combined with Jason Bright and Stone Brothers Racing to win in 1998. Incredibly, they launched from 15th on the grid.

Bright crashed the #4 PIRTEK Falcon heavily in practice and was only able to record a single flying lap in qualifying because of the extensive repairs.

Bright crossed the line over 10 seconds ahead of 1997 winners Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall, with Jason Bargwanna and Jim Richards third for Garry Rogers Motorsport.

Bright and Richards celebrate in 1998

Bargwanna finished all three November Bathursts on the podium, winning the most recent November Great Race alongside Garth Tander in 2000.

A year earlier, Richards combined with Greg Murphy and Gibson Motorsport to go back-to-back at Mount Panorama.

The 1999 race was the first to be contested for championship points, and there was a lot at stake, with Craig Lowndes holding a 54-point lead over Ingall.

Lowndes claimed his third and final drivers' title after finishing second alongside Cameron McConville, with Ingall and Perkins seventh.

Victory for Richards and Murphy in 1999

Of the three November Bathursts, the 2000 was the most dramatic and memorable, with Tander and Bargwanna spearheading an underdog victory.

For the second year in a row, Bathurst played host to the title decider of which Tander was Mark Skaife's only challenger.

Skaife entered with a 209-point margin and duly won the title, but the day belonged to Tander, Bargwanna and GRM.

Even before the race, there were raised eyebrows after Wayne Gardner took a shock pole position in the Top 10 Shootout aboard his Ford Tickford Racing Falcon AU.

The pole-winning Gardner Falcon leads

Tander qualified 10th, and Bargwanna started the race, which was largely affected by wet weather.

Such was the weather-affected pace of the race, which featured a staggering 13 Safety Cars, it took the winners seven hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds to complete 161 laps.

The average race speed was the slowest since the 1974 Bathurst 1000.

To 2021, it remains the third slowest Bathurst 1000-kilometre ever behind 1974 and the 2014 epic, which was completed in a record seven hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds.

Happy days for Bargwanna and Tander

Lapped traffic also wreaked havoc in the 2000 race, with Skaife and Neil Crompton finding trouble with backmarker Matt Neal at Hell Corner.

Skaife had to finish 17th or better to claim the title, and despite the bingle, finished sixth to record championship No. 3.

SBR driver Tony Longhurst also collided with a lapped competitor at Forrest’s Elbow, with the incident helping Tander into the lead.

Tander added wins in 2009, 2011 and last year alongside current series leader Shane van Gisbergen.

The 2020 race was also the first Bathurst to act as the season finale since 2000, with Tander winning both races.

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