Legendary Touring Cars Added To Bathurst Display
Published 30 September 2015
TWO more significant Australian touring cars have been added to an impressive roll call of cars and bikes that will be on display at next weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 to celebrate the Bicentenary of the City of Bathurst.
A former JPS Team BMW 635 Group A car now owned by seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Jim Richards and the famous championship-winning Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan Mustang are the latest two cars announced as part of the display.
The BMW is one of only four Group A 635 models raced by the JPS team under the late Frank Gardner’s direction.
It’s probably best remembered for being parked in the Hell Corner sand trap at Bathurst in the 1985 James Hardie 1000 with George Fury at the wheel.
On lap 40 both Fury and teammate Jim Richards found an oil slick left by an expired car and bogged the pair of 635s in the turn one sand trap.
After some furious digging, Richards and co-driver Tony Longhurst went on to finish fourth.
The Crichton/Fury car was also removed from the sand trap but did not finish the race.
Ironically, Jim now owns the very car that dinged him in the door in the sand trap on that day at Mount Panorama 30 years ago!
Current Volvo V8 Supercar racer David Wall has kindly arranged to bring the ex-Ian Geoghegan Mustang to the Mountain for the display too.
Geoghegan won three consecutive Australian Touring Car Championships with this particular Mustang in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
The 1967 ATCC was a one-race event held at Lakeside. Because of component delays the new Mustang had not turned a wheel in anger as late as race morning.
Tyre selection was crucial to Geoghegan winning the 50-lap race, his rubber selection superior to Norm Beechey’s choice to fit soft tyres to his Chevrolet Nova – they failed and put him into the wall.
The 1968 ATCC race held at Warwick Farm should have been a touring car war between Geoghegan and Bob Jane in Mustangs, Beechey in his new Camaro and Alan Hamilton’s Porsche.
However, mechanical failures decimated the field to give Geoghegan and the Mustang their second consecutive title.
The 1969 ATCC was held over five rounds, the most notable of which was held at Bathurst. Geoghegan attacked the race and after only five laps was over a minute in front.
On the last lap he set a new lap record of 2m29.8s in the Mustang, which was a staggering 19 seconds faster than the pole position time he would set for the Hardie-Ferodo 500 later that same year in a Series Production-spec factory Ford GT-HO Falcon.
Over the five years it competed the Geoghegan Mustang started 144 races and claimed an amazing 89 race wins.
It’s an important car in the history of Australian motorsport, both in general, and in terms of racing at the Mountain.
The collective value of the machines on display next week at Bathurst is in excess of $10 million.
The Bicentenary display will be open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of race week at Mount Panorama in Harris Park on the outside of Pit Straight.