Motorsports is one of the most popular spectator sports in Australia. Australia's first recorded motorcycle race was held in 1901 around the Sydney Cricket Ground. In March 1904, the first four-
The most widely watched motorsport today are the V8 Supercars, especially at the Bathurst 1000. Australians have had a long love affair with cars and racing that continues today.
Mount Panorama holds a special place in the minds of motor racing fans and an incredible awareness in people with only a passing interest in the sport. To understand and appreciate this you need to know the history of this internationally acclaimed circuit.
In the 1930's a visionary local politician, the Mayor of Bathurst Alderman Martin Griffin, obtained funding from the State Government for a scenic road to be built on Bald Hill. He always knew that the road was going to be used for motor racing but Depression Era funds weren't easy to come by, so he had to create a ruse. Mount Panorama was first used as an official race track in 1938, holding the "Australian Tourist Trophy for Motorcycles" on Easter Saturday. On Easter Monday the ‘Australian Grand Prix' for Motor Cars was held.
With the beginning of WW2, racing was stopped until 1947 when races recommenced. Further Grand Prix meetings were held in 1952 and 1958.first races were held and except for the war years, have been held ever since. Mount Panorama has been upgraded over the years and had a deviation installed on Con-
"The Great Race" (as we know it) didn't actually originate in Bathurst. Sponsored by Armstrong Shock Absorbers and known as the "Armstrong 500", a car race was held at Phillip Island for the first time in 1960.
This race was over a distance of 500 miles (805 kms) and was intended for production saloon cars, in standard form, that had sold at least 100. No ‘hotted up' cars were allowed. Entry criteria required all cars to be Australian-
The race moved to Bathurst after the track on Phillip Island was badly damaged during the 1962 race, requiring substantial repairs. Held on the long-
"The Armstrong 500" was broadcast by Channel 7 and consisted of 130 laps of the Mount (estimated time of about 8 hours).
The Shell Petrol Company erected a sign with enough canvas to fit out a ‘fair-