What red blooded Australian boy/man wouldn’t want to race around Mount Panorama given half the chance? Everyone is a budding Brock or Dick Johnson once you get on the track.
It’s not actually a race track, well it is when the racing is on, but for most of the year it is just a normal road through farmland with houses dotted along the way, on the outskirts of Bathurst. The speed limit is 60km per hour all the way around and a local told me the police often come out on patrol just to make sure the thrill of driving the circuit doesn’t translate to a heavy foot on the accelerator pedal.
I had been around the circuit once before with a couple of mates back in the late ‘70’s. I was in the back seat of the Ford Cortina and doing 80kmph then was pretty exhilarating.
This time I was in control of the wheel. From a standing start it took me a while to get to Hell Corner and up Mountain Straight. I did get into 4th gear momentarily before I had to drop back to 3rd and eventually 2nd as I climbed the mountain. A couple of cars “lapped” me going up but I was enjoying the ride even if Rhonda wasn’t.
There is a new boardwalk up along Brocks Skyline which I walked along. Such a magnificent view down over the track and over Bathurst and beyond. After returning to Rhonda I drove to the start of The Esses for a photo opportunity before heading down through The Esses, The Dipper and around Forrest Elbow into Conrad Straight before breaking heavily into Caltex Chase, up through the gears to brake again at Murray’s Corner and then crossing the finishing line to the tumultuous cheering of the crowd.
Ok so I didn’t set any lap records, well maybe for the slowest ever lap but I had great fun going around the circuit and it really is a must do if you go to Bathurst.
The International Motor Museum is just as you exit and it was worth attending to look at a number of cars that have raced over the years and tributes to two of the all time favourites in Peter Brock and Dick Johnson. The Holden v Ford rivalry lives on.
Photos from the museum can been seen on the post Dubbo to Bathurst.