Kings of the Mountain: the greatest Bathurst moments.
Kings of the Mountain: the greatest Bathurst moments.

Holden’s 15 most iconic Bathurst moments

The 2020 Bathurst 1000 marked the end of an era for the famous Holden Lion.

Forty years on from the Holden Commodore's first win in the Great Race, the official factory Holden team will be farewelled from the Supercars championship and Mount Panorama.

While Commodores will still feature in the series next year - ahead of a switch to the new Gen3 cars in 2022 - there will no longer be an official Holden team with the brand being killed off at the end of the year.

After an emotional final campaign at the mountain, we revisit Holden's top 15 moments at Mount Panorama.

1968

HOLDEN'S FIRST WIN (Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland, Holden HK Monaro)

Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland claimed Holden's first win at Mount Panorama in their HK Monaro.

The pair upstaged the factory Holden and Ford teams in the then 500 mile race to ignite the traditional rivalry between the two manufacturers at Bathurst.

 

Peter Brock punts the Torana in the wet at Bathurst in 1972. Motor racing. Picture: AUTOPIX
Peter Brock punts the Torana in the wet at Bathurst in 1972. Motor racing. Picture: AUTOPIX

 

1972

BROCK'S FIRST WIN (Peter Brock, Holden LJ Torana)

And a legend was born. In a wild rain affected race, pole sitter Allan Moffat spun his Phase III Falcon on the top of the mountain and handed the lead to a young Holden charger named Peter Brock. Piloting an XU1 LJ Torana for the Holden Dealer Team, Brock held off John French's Falcon to start the greatest winning record Bathurst has ever seen. It was the start of a match made in revhead heaven - Peter Brock and Holden, the perfect pair. It would also start a stunning era for the Torana, the first off the model's five wins.

 

1975

FIRST WIN IN BATHURST 1000 (Peter Brock and Brian Sampson, LH Torana)

Strapping down in an SLR/5000, Brock powered his Torana to Holden's first double distance win in a landmark day for the manufacturer. Bashed by Ford in the LJ when the race went from 500km to 1000km in 1973, Brock was leading by six laps in 1974 when the all new SLR/5000 suffered a failure to hand Ford another win. But there were no slip ups in 1975 when Brock lead home a quartet of SLR-5000s to usher in a new era for Holden.

 

The famous Torana A9X, wearing Brock's equally famous 05, sprints to victory at Bathurst in 1979.
The famous Torana A9X, wearing Brock's equally famous 05, sprints to victory at Bathurst in 1979.

 

1979

TORANA FAREWELL (Peter Brock and Jim Richards, Holden LX Torana)

Brock racked up his fourth win to give the Torana a fitting farewell, dominating the race to win by a record six laps. Piloting the A9X for the third year after switching from the SLR-5000, Brock went back-to-back to extend both Holden's legend and his. The Torana left with a formidable record having won five races in its nine years. Brock was at the wheel for four.

 

Peter Brock passes the damaged Gemini of Geoff Wade and Gary Rowe to win the 1980 Bathurst 1000.
Peter Brock passes the damaged Gemini of Geoff Wade and Gary Rowe to win the 1980 Bathurst 1000.

 

1980

FIRST COMMODORE WIN (Peter Brock and Jim Richards, Holden VC Commodore)

A new era was ushered in when Brock and Richards drove a car called a Commodore to a win on debut. With big shoes to fill after the Torana went back-to-back to end a 10-year reign in triumph, Brock and Richards mastered the new model to make it three in a row for Holden. It was the first of the Commodore's 26 Bathurst wins in a race also famous for Ford's Dick Johnson's race-ending tangle with a rock.

 

Peter Brock in his Holden Commodore winning 1987 Bathurst 1000 race.
Peter Brock in his Holden Commodore winning 1987 Bathurst 1000 race.

 

1987

BROCK'S LAST WIN (Peter Brock, Peter McLeod, David Parsons, VL Commodore)

For Bev Brock, it was Peter Brock's standout victory at Mount Panorama. It was Brock's ninth - and last - win at Bathurst that came amid a falling out with Holden, mid-race car switch and winners' disqualification.

After his #05 Commodore broke down after 34 laps, Brock and Parsons moved to the second #10 Commodore as was permitted through cross-entry rules at the time.

At race end, Brock had third behind the two dominant Ford Sierras, but after protests and a lengthy appeals process the final results wouldn't be made official until six months later.

Brock was crowned the Bathurst champion after the first and second-placed Sierras were disqualified for running illegal wheel arches.

Bev Brock said it was his greatest Bathurst win for overcoming the odds.

"Peter always got greater pleasure from having to really work to win a race rather than being able to cruise to a finish," Bev Brock said. "And in that sense the 1997 win was against all odds because I've got to tell you that was our most difficult year.

"There were enormous obstacles put in his path and to have that victory and that success … it was remarkable. I don't think anyone can understand what we had gone through to achieve that result, so for me against all odds that was the (best Bathurst) result."

1993

ORDER RESTORED (Larry Perkins and Gregg Hansford, Holden VP Commodore)

The Larry Perkins and Gregg Hansford pairing put the Lion back on top at Mount Panorama after two years of dominance from the Nissan Skyline.

Mark Skaife and Jim Richards had steered the car they nicknamed "Godzilla" to victory in 1991 and 1992, overshadowing the traditional Holden v Ford rivalry.

But Perkins and Hansford restored order at the mountain for the Holden faithful to claim the race win ahead of Skaife and Richards combination (now in a Holden) in a podium clean sweep for the Lion.

 

Larry Perkins in his Castrol car at Bathurst in 1995.
Larry Perkins in his Castrol car at Bathurst in 1995.

 

1995

LEAPING LARRY (Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall, Holden VR Commodore)

Larry Perkins teamed with Russell Ingall to complete a famous last-to-first victory at Mount Panorama.

After starting the race from third on the grid, Perkins' Commodore dropped to last on the first lap after damaging a tyre in a first-turn collision.

The pair's Holden was forced to pit to replace the tyre before the started the charge back through the field.

With 20 laps to go, the pair were back inside the top-five before Perkins secured his fifth - of six - Bathurst win.

"This is the best (of those wins) … to come from behind, I'm absolutely rapt," Perkins said of his victory after the race.

 

Mark Skaife and Jim Richards were untouchable in 2002.
Mark Skaife and Jim Richards were untouchable in 2002.

 

2002

SKAIFE'S DOUBLE ACT (Mark Skaife and Jim Richards, Holden VX Commodore)

Mark Skaife became a four-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 when he teamed with his former race-winning partner Jim Richards to conquer Mount Panorama again.

Skaife and Richards had combined to claim consecutive victories in the Great Race in 1991 and 1992 in the Nissan Skyline dubbed "Godzilla".

It was after the 1992 race Richards had famously told the booing predominantly Ford and Holden crowd "you're a pack of assholes" after the controversial Nissan win.

But this time he was celebrated by the Holden faithful after teaming with Skaife to claim his seventh - and final - Bathurst crown.

The victory gave Skaife back-to-back Bathurst titles after he teamed with Tony Longhurst to win in 2001.

Skaife and Richards claimed the 2002 race win ahead of Richard's son, Steve, also racing in a Holden alongside Russell Ingall.

 

Greg Murphy on his way to taking pole position in top 10 shootout in 2003. Picture: Cameron Tandy.
Greg Murphy on his way to taking pole position in top 10 shootout in 2003. Picture: Cameron Tandy.


 

2003

LAP OF THE GODS (Greg Murphy, Holden VY Commodore)

Before DJR Team Penske star Scott McLaughlin set Bathurst alight with a monumental top-10 shootout lap in 2017, New Zealand driver Greg Murphy's blistering qualifying lap of Mount Panorama had been held on a pedestal at the famous track.

Dubbed the 'Lap of the Gods', Murphy became the first driver in history to complete the mountain circuit in under 2min 07sec after slashing a whole second off the previous qualifying lap record.

Murphy went on to claim his third Bathurst 1000 crown alongside a fresh-faced Rick Kelly in the race, the first of back-to-back wins for the pair.

But Murphy felt he could have gone faster.

"I can't believe that, I don't think I breathed the whole thing," Murphy said immediately after his stunning lap.

"I thought I had stuffed it, I made a balls-up out of the … dipper I actually hooked first instead of third so I cost myself a couple of tenths.

"I just can't believe it … there was more in it, I stuffed up."

 

 

Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife celebrate Bathurst glory in 2010.
Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife celebrate Bathurst glory in 2010.


 

2010

SUPER STINT (Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife, VE Commodore)

The Bathurst 1000 is a physically and mentally gruelling enough race as it is, let alone having to back-up for multiple stints in the car.

That's what happened to Craig Lowndes in 2010 after his driving partner Mark Skaife popped a rib mid-race.

Lowndes was forced to do a triple stint in the car after Skaife's injury, but emerged with one of his famous victories at the mountain.

"I had to do almost 80 laps consecutively because Skaife had popped a rib out. He couldn't breath, he couldn't do anything," Lowndes later recalled.

"To win the race in those circumstances was incredible."

 

Garth Tander pips rival Craig Lowndes to win the Bathurst 1000 in 2011 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, NSW.
Garth Tander pips rival Craig Lowndes to win the Bathurst 1000 in 2011 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, NSW.

 

2011

MASTER AND APPRENTICE (Garth Tander and Nick Percat, VE Commodore)

Garth Tander joined an elite group as a three-time winner of the Great Race when he teamed with rookie Nick Percat to win in a thrilling Holden v Holden duel.

In a battle between the factory Holden Racing Team and Triple Eight Race Engineering, Tander held off defending champion Craig Lowndes (driving with Mark Skaife) to win the race by less than 0.3 of a second.

It was a history-making moment for a young Percat, who won the Great Race on his first attempt, becoming the first rookie winner of the endurance classic in 30 years.

Percat was in awe of Tander's effort in keeping Lowndes at bay in the final laps.

"That guy, I don't know how he's done it, I felt sick the last 10 laps," Percat said.

"I'm not sure how he kept that car that straight for that long, but it's a credit to the guy … that's why he's just won another Bathurst.

"It's an unbelievable day. I had two very lucky moments in the car and I can't thank the mountain enough, it has looked after me today."

 

Jamie Whincup does a burnout to celebrate after he and Paul Dumbrell won the 50th anniversary Bathurst 1000 motor race at Mount Panorama. Pic. Braden Fastier
Jamie Whincup does a burnout to celebrate after he and Paul Dumbrell won the 50th anniversary Bathurst 1000 motor race at Mount Panorama. Pic. Braden Fastier

 

2012

KISS ME, KATE (Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell, Holden VE Commodore)

Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup became a four-time winner of the Great Race when he held off David Reynolds in another tense finish.

While he is a Holden hero, 2012 was the only one of Whincup's four Bathurst titles in a Commodore after his Ford three-peat with Craig Lowndes.

He teamed with Paul Dumbrell - his long-time endurance partner - to seal the last Bathurst win before the series switched to the new generation Car of the Future.

Whincup was such a fan of the Commodore he won the Bathurst crown - and the Supercars championship - in that year, he bought the car he had nicknamed "Kate" from Triple Eight.

"For sure, 2012 was a very special year, not that is was any more or less special than the others with Lowndesy but to cross the line in the 50th anniversary, end of the Vodafone era, end of that current race car before we went to (next generation of cars) it was a really special day for me," Whincup said.

"So special, I brought the race car and now it … it sits at Tailem Bend racetrack for everyone to see, but one day it will be in my garage."

 

 

Luke Youlden and David Reynolds celebrate in 2017. Picture: Getty
Luke Youlden and David Reynolds celebrate in 2017. Picture: Getty

 

2017

DAVID v GOLIATH (David Reynolds and Luke Youlden, Holden VF Commodore)

It was dubbed the "David versus Goliath" victory by Holden great Mark Skaife.

An emotional David Reynolds claimed his maiden Bathurst crown in what he described as a payback to the Erebus Motorsport team after taking him on after he split from then Prodrive Racing at the end of 2015.

In a giant-killing win in a rain-marred race, Reynolds finished almost four seconds ahead of second-placed fellow Holden driver Scott Pye in a victory for the underdog team.

"I was struggling to hold in the tears over the last couple of laps," Reynolds said afterwards.

"I think I owed this to the team.

"I have been close to paying them back with a win, but I think this ticks all the boxes now."

 

Craig Lowndes and Steve Richards complete the Bathurst fairytale in 2018. Photo: Mark Horsburgh
Craig Lowndes and Steve Richards complete the Bathurst fairytale in 2018. Photo: Mark Horsburgh

 

2018

SEVENTH HEAVEN (Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards, Holden ZB Commodore)

Who doesn't love a sporting fairytale? As far as motorsport ones go, this ticked all the boxes. After announcing mid-year the 2018 season would be his last as a full-time Supercars driver, Holden hero Lowndes was the sentimental favourite to claim the Bathurst crown that year.

The undisputed modern-day King of the Mountain, Lowndes combined with Steven Richards to claim his seventh Bathurst title.

In his 25th and final race as a lead driver, Lowndes cemented his status as the mountain's greatest racer since Peter Brock to move to within two wins of his late mentor's benchmark of nine victories in the Great Race. Lowndes' 2018 victory came 22 years after his first triumph on the mountain and at the age of 44.

"It's almost like the '06 (victory) back again I think," Lowndes said, referring to his 2006 triumph (in a Ford) which came just weeks after Brock's death.

"It's a dream come true. You never know what is going to happen when you come here and we got it done."

Top Bathurst moments of the past 50 years. 1979 Peter Brock and Jim Richards
Top Bathurst moments of the past 50 years. 1979 Peter Brock and Jim Richards
Garth Tander (L) celebrates his victory with co driver Nick Percat at the end of the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
Garth Tander (L) celebrates his victory with co driver Nick Percat at the end of the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell celebrate their win in the 2012 Bathurst 1000. Picture: Gregg Porteous
Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell celebrate their win in the 2012 Bathurst 1000. Picture: Gregg Porteous
David Reynolds drives the #9 Erebus Motorsport Penrith Racing Holden Commodore VF during Bathurst 1000 in the wet in 2017. Picture: Getty
David Reynolds drives the #9 Erebus Motorsport Penrith Racing Holden Commodore VF during Bathurst 1000 in the wet in 2017. Picture: Getty

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