Allan Moffat, John Goss and Fred Gibson are the latest Australian motorsport stars to be confirmed for this weekend’s 4Guys Autobarn Legends of Bathurst event at Hampton Downs.
Between them, they’ve won seven Bathurst 1000 titles and they’ll be joined at Hampton Downs by other winners of the Great Race including Jim Richards, John Bowe, and Steven Richards. As well as autograph signing sessions, some of the drivers will also be racing in the Legends of Bathurst Invitational and Archibalds Historic Touring Cars, two of the feature categories at the festival.
“I’m very humbled by the title ‘Legend of Bathurst’,” says Moffat. “It’s a nice recognition for a job which I loved doing. I feel very spoilt to go to these events and catch up with old teammates and competitors in a relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere. It’s very different to when I was racing when I was very tuned in to try and get the best result.”
Moffat and his long-time friend and rival (and later co-driver) Peter Brock are the only drivers to have won The Great Race at Bathurst in both its 500-mile and 1000-kilometre formats. In fact, Moffatt and his co-driver Ian Geoghegan have the distinction of being the first winners of the Bathurst race following its conversion from a 500-mile event to 1000 kilometres in 1973.
One of Moffat’s favourite Bathurst memories is his 1977 win with Belgian Jacky Ickx in the #1 Moffat Ford Dealers XC Falcon, closely followed across the finish line by his teammates Colin Bond and Alan Hamilton.
“It’s such a tough race and to get one car over the finish line first is a great accomplishment,” says Moffat. “To get a second just behind it was amazing. It takes good preparation, good teamwork, and good drivers to pull off a finish like that. It still brings a little tear to my eye now because it was such a great moment in my life.
Fred Gibson first raced at Bathurst in 1965 and won the Great Race in 1967.
“It’s such an iconic circuit,” says Gibson. “When I first went there, there was no safety. There were trees beside the track and wire fences and the like. It’s really evolved over the years and people all over the world want to race at Bathurst now. It’s unique. It’s a road circuit and there are not many circuits left like that.”
In just his second Bathurst start Gibson claimed second place in the 1966 Gallaher 500. The following year Gibson scored his first major win in a V8 Falcon GT after battling for most of the race with the Alfa Romeo 1600 GTVs.
Gibson retired from driving after 1983 and took over as the Nissan team boss at the end of 1984. Jim Richards and Mark Skaife won the 1991 and 1992 Bathurst 1000s for Nissan. Gibson Motorsport switched to Holden Commodores in 1993 and won the 1999 Bathurst 1000 with Steven Richards and Greg Murphy.
“Bathurst has a great history and we need to do more to celebrate it,” says Gibson. “I’m delighted to come over to Hampton Downs this weekend and catch up with guys like Jim Richards. Jim is a gentleman and a very competitive driver. He also helped a lot of younger drivers including Mark Skaife become champions.”
The car that Richards drove in his first Bathurst start will be on display at Hampton Downs this weekend. The Coppins Richards Torana L34 took a podium at the Bathurst 1000 in 1974 and despite a love-affair with this event, no Kiwi team, before or since, has managed to replicate this achievement.
Rod Coppins and Richards qualified the car an impressive eighth and when the heavens opened, Richards was brilliant – one of the quickest on the track – and so his reputation as a master of wet weather driving began. At the end of a long, hard day the little team from New Zealand crossed the line in third place. This was the first of many Bathurst starts for Jim Richards. His tally of Bathurst wins is second only to the legendary Peter Brock, yet it all started for him with this car.
Two-time Bathurst 1000 winner John Goss will be reunited with the 1971 XY Falcon HO Phase III at Hampton Downs. John raced the Falcon at Bathurst in 1971 where he placed 6th and he will put the fully restored car through a few exhibition laps around Hampton Downs this weekend.
Goss and Kevin Bartlett won the 1974 Bathurst 1000 in a Ford XA Falcon GT Hardtop, in a race marred by driving rain. To celebrate the victory, Ford Australia released a limited edition XB Falcon Hardtop in 1975 called the John Goss Special. Eleven years later, Goss teamed up with German co-driver Armin Hahne to steer Tom Walkinshaw's Jaguar XJS to victory for his second win in the Great Race.
The other categories at the Legends of Bathurst festival include ENZED Central Muscle Cars, Historic Formula Ford, and Formula Libre. The Car Club Cruise will allow members of local car clubs to have a chance to drive on Hampton Downs International circuit while there will also be a massive Show ‘n’ Shine exhibition.
The Legends on Stage dinner on Saturday evening at Hampton Downs Pavilion promises to be another highlight of the weekend. Revisit some classic moments from Bathurst on the big screen and hear Jim Richards, Steve Richards, John Bowe and Paul Radisich talk about their favourite Mt Panorama memories.
Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.co.nz