This is the third edition of the Mountain Memories series for Supercars.com. Kicking off the countdown to this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000, we celebrate the long-held tradition of camping at the Great Race and hear the untold stories of Mount Panorama.
This year's event will be held across October 6-9. Tickets can be purchased here.
Josie and Alan Hansen have camped at Bathurst since 2007, their sites are 77 and 78 in Section C of The Chase Campground.
My husband has been to Bathurst before and had always wanted to go and camp there.
That year, we said to some really old friends of ours that we were going to go to the Bathurst 1000, and asked if they would like to come.
They said yes, and we booked our first site.
Our sites were down the back of when The Chase first expanded, and we had to walk for miles to get to the track, but we had a wonderful time.
It was just fabulous. For the boys in particular, because they had been wanting to go for years and years.
The four of us went together every year for many years.
For the two guys, it was a place that they had always wanted to go to, and they never thought they'd get there.
The experience of driving into Bathurst for the first time and seeing the Mount Panorama sign on that hill was just amazing. It really was amazing.
Finding the perfect vantage spot to watch the Great Race is at the top of every camper's to-do list, but for Josie, it’s become a well-planned tradition.
We have only missed a couple of years since we began in 2007 due to sickness and the COVID years of course.
We always sit at The Chase to watch the race, and it’s my job on a Sunday morning to get our spot.
I'm up at 3:30 in the morning before the race, to line up to get into The Chase viewing area, and to get our prime positions on the fence line.
After The Chase campground became licensed, you have to get your tickets checked to make sure you’re not taking your own alcohol in.
You have to line up at the gate where the security check is until they open the gates to let everyone in.
The first year they did that, I set my alarm for four o'clock, and I woke up at three.
All I could hear was people walking around, and I got out of bed.
Alan (left) and Josie (right) from their "perfect spot" at The Chase
I was like "oh my god", there were people going everywhere, with their chairs, going down to line up.
So now that’s my ritual. I do that on Sunday morning.
I wake up, I make a cup of coffee and I get all our chairs up to The Chase gate.
We sit there and it's a great morning, everyone's having a laugh.
The gates usually open around 6:30am.
Then we're at the track all day, my husband will come up, and I'll go back to the van, and I pack snacks and drinks in our bag and take it up.
Then I stroll back at lunchtime and make us some lunch wraps and things like that, and restock the water bottles, so we are there all day.
The Hansen family has camped at The Chase for nearly 15 years
Like many Bathurst camping devotees, the Hansen’s camping setup has evolved over the years.
In 2007 we had a very old camper trailer.
We had that for many years, and then we bought ourselves a new camper trailer.
Then we had it converted to a hardtop.
When we first went to Bathurst, we had this little square box and everyone used to look at us and say, "where did you get that from?"
Now we have a caravan, and we live on the road permanently too, and we do Bathurst in luxury.
We always used to travel five or six months of the year for the last 10 years.
Then two years ago, we sold up and have been on the road full-time for two years.
Proving you don’t have to be a diehard fan to enjoy Supercars’ biggest weekend of the year, Josie admits she was hooked by more than just the racing.
I don't know a lot about the drivers.
I'm not into any particular teams or drivers or anything.
I just enjoy the overall race, but when we first went, I had no idea.
We go into the campground on a Tuesday when the campground opens, so we are basically there nearly the week, and we leave the following Monday.
From the first time I went, I just liked the atmosphere.
I like the camaraderie at the campground.
We have a great couple that we camp beside us and have been camped beside us for many, many years.
It’s also the friendly banter, and the atmosphere, I really enjoy it.
My husband has his flags up and people see them as they walk through The Chase.
He follows Holden, so you have the Ford guys come past and say "Go Ford" or the Holden guys come by and cheer, it’s that atmosphere we love, and everyone is in good spirits.
The Hansen's little slice of luxury at Mount Panorama
Camped at the fastest right-hand bend in Australian motorsport, The Chase has provided a great location for some unique camping setups.
At The Chase, you have the guys who build a massive bar, and they mount the TV in the bar.
You've got people that have their big spit roasts.
You walk around and all you can smell on Sunday is this beautiful roast.
The kids are riding around too.
Some of them are very entrepreneurial children.
We have kids who collect the cans and the beer bottles.
There are a few places where campers come to put their empty cans and bottles, for the kids, to create a mountain of beer cans and bottles.
The kids come around, usually with their dads driving the car, to put the cans and bottles in the trailer.
The kids take them in and cash them in.
For Josie, sharing the Bathurst experience with family and friends is just as important as the Great Race itself.
It's always seeing the reaction on my husband's and my friend’s faces.
This year it will be our daughter and her husband’s second time coming with us.
Another set of friends is also coming who have never been before.
Then our daughter and son-in-law tell us they are bringing friends too.
There were four of us, now there are 10 of us.
We love it, we love watching people having a good time and really enjoying the atmosphere.
Tickets for the Repco Bathurst 1000 are available on Supercars.com and Ticketek.