October 08, 2006
Horse 637 - Henry Beats the General
Every year in October the nation stops to watch one of the biggest motorsport events in the world, the running of the Bathurst 1000. Some 7 hours after they begin and 1000km later, competitors will have charged around a tourist drive 161 times in the usually sleepy town of Bathurst in the NSW goldfields.
With the passing of 9 times winner Peter Brock this year's event started out emotionally but as soon as the green light came on at 10am the gloves went on and sentiment was blown out the exhaust pipe.
Holden's favourite son Mark Skaife lasted only a few hundred yards with a slipping clutch before he was smacked from behind and with him, the red menace's fortunes went to shash - by about lunchtime their second car was also kaput. By the end of the day, it emerged that the town was not painted red but blue.
The winner Craig Lowndes, dedicated yesterday's Bathurst 1000 victory to his mentor and the man who won more races at Mount Panorama than any other - Peter Brock. He also promised to take care of the inaugural Peter Brock Trophy, likely to spend its first year in Ford's headquarters. He and Jamie Whincup ended Holden's seven-year winning streak as a record number of fans paid tribute to the driver known as the King of the Mountain.
The day was especially challenging for Lowndes, a protege and friend of Brock. They went to the same school in Melbourne and played for the same football team. They stayed in close contact after Lowndes defected from Holden to Ford. Yesterday was Lowndes's second Bathurst win. His first was 10 years ago with Holden, when Brock was still part of the Holden Racing Team.
Lowndes increased his lead at the toop of the championship which means that if all keeps on going his way, it won't be 888 on the door next year but for the first time in 10 years, the number 1 plate will again be fixed to his car.