Bathurst 1000

G’day,

 

With the 10 anniversary of the Peter Brock trophy this year, and 10 years since the tragic passing of the Australian Touring Cars Championship and V8 Supercars legend, I have dedicated a page to the poems written about the sport, the legend and the apprentice; and all just in time for the Bathurst 1000.

The first is my tribute to the 50th running of Australia’s most iconic race, the Bathurst 1000. Before I start getting emails you should know that the facts and figures in this poem do not include the two super tourer races of the late 90’s. It is the reason Jim Richards is not credited with 7 wins. So buckle up and enjoy…

 

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The Race of Motoring Dreams

——

Let me tell a story

Of tranquil little place

A place that every year

Holds a legendary race

A race that’s built up legend

Of men and their machine

A race that only 19 men

Have more than 1 win gleaned

—–

It started out 500 mile

Way back in 63

When cars were all stock standard

Reliability the key

A time when drivers had a flat

They’d stop beside the track

Pull out the jack and spare

And get themselves back on track

—–

These were the days before V8’s

Ever thundered round

Unlike the race we see today

Where V8’s shake the ground

It was late into the sixties

Before they took their place

Since then only 6 times

Has a V8 been displaced

—–

Cars from here down under

And many from abroad

Came every year to try and notch

A win up on the board

Many tried and failed

Though deserving they may have been

Many cars and drivers

Laboured years without a win

—–

This race has proven torture

And shattered many dreams

Who could forget in 95

Glenn Seton’s shattered dream

But here’s a driver worthy

To be in this group’s elite

The fact he ne’er saw victory

Testament of the feat

—–

So what’s that say bout Brocky?

With 9 wins on the board

This mountain’s king a legend

Who will always be adored

Then Perkins, Richards, Skaife

Have 6 wins in the bag

The king of the mountain’s protégé

Craig Lowndes has 5 to brag

—–

Moffat, Murphy 4

Johnson, Tander, Whincup 3

This next group they have 2 apiece

Bowe, Firth and Rick Kelly

Ingall, Grice and Goss

Steve Richards, Jane and Longhurst

Make up this mountains honour roll

Who’ve quenched that victory thirst

—–

Yet 30 other men have come

And clawed a victory

49 in as many years

I love the irony

Will 50 years bring 50 names?

Status quo or 51?

By day’s end we will know

Once the fun and games are done

—–

Will this year bring us dominance?

Like Brock Richards 79

Or the drama of Bob Morris

When Fitzpatrick crossed the line

Or a statement Moffat Ickx made

When they led Fords 1 2

Or the dogfight Tander Percat won

In last year’s massive blue

—–

Will we see a last to first

Like Perkins Ingall 95

Or Percy Grice against the odds

When turbo’s round here thrived

Or will we see more heartache

Like Dick Johnson and the rock

Or a car not up to scratch

Like the year we fare welled Brock

—–

And while we’re talking heart break

To say nothing would be amiss

To mention those who lost their lives

Forever sorely missed

Mike Burghman back in 86

Denny Hulme in 92

Don Watson back in 94

Let’s pray the last who do

—–

So whatever this year brings us

I’ll look back with fondest thought

As an era ends when only

Ford and Holden fought

Next year we welcome new makes

To battle against our best

Here’s hoping that our legends

Will weather this new test

—–

But with rumours that the Falcon

Is soon to be no more

And rumours that the same is coming

For the Commodore

I call on Ford and Holden

To these rumours don’t succumb

So they can keep on fighting here

For fifty years to come

—–

So there it is my story

Of this tranquil little place

This place that every year

Holds this legendary race

This race that’s brought us legends

Of men and their machines

The great race of a nation

The race of motoring dreams

—–

Written by

Matt Langdon

For The Bush Verse

© Matt Langdon 2012

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The second is a tribute I wrote about the career of Craig Lowndes so far. It was written after he eclipsed both Peter Brock and Mark Skaife for most wins in the ATCC / VASC at Barbegello in Western Australia a few years back. It was edited again after he won his 100th race however hasn’t been edited since his Bathurst 1000 win last year. I look forward to the final edit, many years from now, once Craig retires.

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The Champion Craig Lowndes

—–

When a master such as Peter Brock

Who sadly, long since gone

Takes someone underneath his wing

His legacy lives on

It lives on in his apprentice

Who stands tall in his own right

Those lessons and that guidance

Severed him well in every fight

—–

This apprentice made the big time

At Sandown ’94

Took 5th with Brad Jones on debut

In his Holden Commodore

At Bathurst he took second

Even led a lap or two

All-in-all were great results

For someone on debut

—–

He took pole at Bathurst

In nineteen ninty five

Not bad when you consider

He didn’t have a fulltime drive

In nineteen ninty six

He burst fulltime on the scene

And laid down a foundation

Since Brock we haven’t seen

—–

He became the youngest driver

To win a championship

22 his rookie year

This sport was in his grip

Then he took the triple crown

His name now etched in stone

The second driver ever

To ascend this throne

—–

In nineteen ninty seven

He went abroad for open wheels

Ninty eight came back

On this sport he put his seal

The championship he took again

Two crowns from just two starts

But the crown he won in ’99

Is what set him apart

—–

Although they’re not consecutive

It’s still a triple crown

Three from three a record

That I doubt will be knocked down

To do this as a rookie

Gives weight to this stat

Even Peter Brock

Can’t say that he did that

—–

Those that know this sport

Know how big that statement is

The kid became a champion

And claimed the sport as his

But it wasn’t just his exploits

Or skill out on the track

His integrity and character

Always had his back

—–

This showed back two thousand one

When he switched to Ford

Deep down by his Holden fans

He was still adored

Although success was limited

And cars weren’t up to scratch

He always had a smile

And attitude to match

—–

Then back two thousand six

The news that rocked us all

His mate and mentor Peter Brock

Saw his last curtain call

Although not in a Holden

It was fitting none the less

The Peter Brock trophy

He won while in distress

—–

And even far fitting

He won three Bathurst’s in a row

A feat achieved by Peter Brock

So many years ago

Since that tearful day

Another record to his name

Eclipsing Brock and Skaife

For most wins in the main game

—–

June twenty, twenty fifteen

He wrote history once again

Race two up in Darwin

“Nother milestone to his reign

Race eight hundred eighty eight

Driving Red Bull’s triple eight

The day before his birthday

A hundred wins for this sports great

—–

With Roland Dane as mentor

And many years before he’s done

He could eclipse Brock’s Bathurst wins

And Whincup’s championship run

With his future still ahead of him

One thing’s very clear

When he retires, a nation

Will stop and shed a tear

—–

At 41, what he’s achieved,

His head he should hold high

Three championships, five Sandown’s

And five Bathurst’s make this pie

Through it all charisma

Integrity and grace

Have been the strength that always

Kept that smile upon his face

—–

It really does speak volumes

When the greats compare to you

Abilities and talents

Of the rookies coming through

The Barry Sheene medalion

Three times they were deserved

When you’ve become the benchmark

Quite well your sport you’ve served

—–

This apprentice that I speak of

Who we remember as “The Kid”

A champion now in his own right

An immortal may I bid

Like Brock he’ll be remembered

For more than just his crowns

The apprentice now the master

The champion Craig Lowndes

—–

Written by

Matt Langdon

06/05/2013

Edited 22/06/2015

© Matt Langdon 2015

For The Bush Verse

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Last but not least, and hopefully not the last in this series, is my tribute to the late, great, Peter Brock. RIP Brocky…

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The Legend Peter Brock

—–

Once in every lifetime

A legend will be born

A champion of all they do

Who’s death a nation mourns

They rise to any challenge

And conquer all they do

In failure they see lessons

And are always smiling through

—–

One such man down under

In a field you’d not expect

Showed the meaning of champion

And earned a nations respect

The poster boy for Holden

Tin tops one true king

A humble man, more in love

With his hobby than his bling

—–

So fervent was his passion

He built his first race car

The Austin with the Holden donk

Became a shining star

This humble combination

Of man and his machine

Took over a hundred wins

And set his lifetime scene

—–

See Harry Firth, the silver fox

Had taken note of him

And put him in a factory drive

And went out on a limb

His risk was proven fruitful

3rd at Bathurst on debut

And his first Bathurst crown

Came in 1972

—–

But a brief split from the factory

Proved his pedigree

As a privateer, in ’75

Again saw victory

In 1979,

He raised the bar again

The final lap, lap record smashed

A champion amongst men

—–

But ’78 to ’84

He stamped his authority

Two hat tricks not yet beaten

And I doubt will ever be

But that was just precursor

To his final crown

Three years on a win

That will always be renown

—–

The odds were stacked against him

When 05 gave up the ghost

And he had to use his backup

Number 10 became the host

Conditions were atrocious

Fortune favoured the brave

But his final fight, was against,

A team who’d misbehaved

—–

The Texaco Sierra’s

Had cheated for a win

After months and months of fighting

He was given that ninth grin

But true to form, t’was not enough

He tried for number ten

But when he had retired

He’d not altered history’s pen

—–

But that is only part

Of his career success

And the records that he holds something

I feel I must address

Nine Bathurst wins, with two hat tricks

And poles, well he bagged seven

Nine Sandown wins, with seven straight

And front row starts, eleven

—–

Fifty seven poles

In the A T double C

Thirty seven round wins

Shared by Skaife and he

A hundred odd podiums

From 200 plus starts

Twenty two wins from pole

With a hundred front row starts

—–

Every second race

A podium he achieved

A stat that’s simply staggering

And frankly hard to believe

For twenty five incredible years

He made the best look lame

He silenced every critic

A legend he became

—–

His exploits in the tin tops

Are but part of who he was

There were other forms of motorsport

Abroard and here in Oz

But his family was his treasure

Not fame or accolade

And friendly to a stranger

His dues were always paid

—–

There’s been no other sportsman

Who’s retirement, front page news

And many tears were shed

For what this sport was about to lose

Honesty, integrity

Humility with a smile

He touched the lives of many

And stayed successful all the while

—–

He could go from signing autographs

And be charming to a tee

To a ferocious take no prisoner type

Who’d claw through you and me

It was as if his race car

Had some magic switch

Out he was a gentleman

In, as mean as a witch

—–

But even when he raced

A gentleman through and through

He would rather lose

Is winning meant a dirty coup

But that’s why drivers loved him

T’was no malice when he’d race

Behind those snarling eyes

Was his ever smiling face

—–

September eight, two thousand six

The news that rocked this land

The legend met his final fate

With racing wheel in hand

His passing was untimely

Too young for him to go

But his memories live in you and me

Despite life’s savage blow

—–

So let me just say thank you

For the years you gave us all

The thrills and spills and memories

The way you could enthral

Your humility was humbling

Your passing was a shock

Forever mourned, forever missed

The legend, Peter Brock

—–

Written by

Matt Langdon

15/04/2013

© Matt Langdon 2013

For The Bush Verse