The Great Race
The 1000 km touring car race held at Bathurst, 200 kms west of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, is an annual event, usually taking place in early October. The Mount Panorama circuit is 6.213 kms in length and has an unprecedented change in elevation, creating phenomenally exciting racing over 161 gruelling laps. It is considered by John to be extremely demanding and is one of his favourite tracks in the world. Traditionally part of the Australian V8 Supercar calendar for the traditional Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons, the "Great Race" has been run for later formulas, Super Tourers on a couple of occasions and for a brief time in the 80's, allowed Japanese and European super saloons such as the Ford Sierra Cosworth and the spectacular Nissan Skyline to run alongside the V8s.
There has been a
500 mile or 1000 Km race at Bathurst each year since 1963. Since 1973 it has
predominantly been run for cars complying to the regulations for
the Australian Touring Car Championship.
John has been competing at Bathurst since 1993, firstly in Holden Commodores and occasionally Holden/Vauxhall Vectras with mixed results, notably a fifth place with Derek Warwick in 1998. Cleland's best Bathurst achievements are currently topped with a second place finish with team mate Brad Jones onboard the Ozemail Racing Ford Falcon AU in 2001. No mean feat after qualifying 22nd.
In 2003, Johnís Bathurst run ended in spectacular style after colliding with the wounded Commodore of Peter Brock's team mate, Jason Plato, bringing Brock and Cleland's visit to The Mountain to a premature end...YouTube link to the video here
Copyright : Dave Willetts 2000 - 2018