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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.

In 1997 that tradition continued with the V8 Supercars contesting the Primus 1000 Classic but for the first time there was another race at Mount Panorama, with the Super Touring Car class for 2 litre four door saloons contesting their own race, the AMP 1000 with John competing in his re-liveried BTCC Vectra with co-pilot James Kaye. In 1998 there were again, two races with the AMP 1000 in October for Super Tourers and the FAI 1000 moving to an irregular slot in November for V8 Supercars. In 1999 there was no endurance race on the October long week end but the V8 race, the FAI 1000 again took place in November. For the last time in 2000 the FAI 1000 took place in November for V8s but in 2001 the race returned to its traditional slot in early October.

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

 You can see John's results in V8 Supercars here, check out the News section for recent events. 2004 images here.






Copyright : Dave Willetts 2000 - 2018