Road Trip Half the Fun of Bathurst for Kellys

07 Oct 2013
Many teams drive to Mount Panorama, but for the Kelly brothers the journey there is a big part of what makes the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 special.
3 mins by James Pavey

Many teams drive to Mount Panorama from their base, be it Melbourne or Queensland, but for the Kelly brothers the journey there is a huge part of what makes the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 a special event. 

Each year since 2001 Rick and Todd Kelly have found new, unique motor vehicles to make the trip in – and this year, they celebrate the reappearance of Nissan at the Mountain. The manufacturer has rejoined the Championship with four new generation V8 Supercars for 2013, having last won at Bathurst in 1992. 

Starting the road trip this morning, the Jack Daniel's drivers will stop in Tumut tonight before expected arrival at Mount Panorama at 11am tomorrow. 

The journey will see them skim past the Victorian High Country and Great Dividing Range before making their way into Bathurst – and the duo has scoured Nissan headquarters to secure a Nissan Patrol G60, the first motor vehicle to successfully cross the Simpson Desert.

"We're pretty excited about the road trip, we've done it every year and the tradition started back in about 2001 when myself, Todd and Nathan Pretty took a Britz motorhome, nicknamed the Happy Camper, to Bathurst and it was a good journey and a great way to get to Bathurst," Rick said.

"The trip takes just over a day the way we go about it and we turn up very relaxed and ready to attack the week. The Bathurst event is a big one and it does take a toll on you over the week, so it's important to get there rested and in good spirits.

"It's been a good way to do it in the past, so this year we've grabbed an old Nissan G60 Patrol, which has been a bit of fun. I've had it for a few days and it's not the fastest thing, but it certainly can climb over the odd rock and sand dune.

"For us it's something different and it's something we're excited to drive to Bathurst in.”

Todd shared his younger brother’s enthusiasm.


“It would actually be great to have that car in our fleet to burn around the farm in Mildura!" he said.  

“But it should be a fun trip to Bathurst this year and you certainly won't miss us on the road."

Bathurst and PIRTEK Enduro Cup co-drivers David Russell (#7) and Karl Reindler (#15) share the journey, though they are riding in a brand new Nissan Patrol V8, which shares the same VK56 V8 engine as the Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima V8 Supercar.

Results at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 – the first of the three enduros counting towards the inaugural cup – mean Kelly/Russell are sitting 11th and Kelly/Reindler 16th in the hunt .

For the brothers – both former Bathurst winners – this is the first year they will compete in a vehicle other than a Holden Commodore. 

Interestingly, Reindler has a 100 per cent finishing record at the Bathurst 1000, his best result 11th in 2009, paired with Jason Bright. 

Tickets are still available for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, or click here for the TV schedule.

Practice begins for the V8 Supercars on Thursday.

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