Surfers Paradise: Australian legends hit the streets

LEGENDS HIT THE STREETS SURFERS IN THE NIKON SUPERGP Australian motorsport legends and some of the country's most prized and expensive pieces of sporting memorabilia hit the streets of Surfers Paradise today for the first day of racing in the ...

LEGENDS HIT THE STREETS SURFERS IN THE NIKON SUPERGP

Australian motorsport legends and some of the country's most prized and expensive pieces of sporting memorabilia hit the streets of Surfers Paradise today for the first day of racing in the Pirtek Australian Legends category.

Legends Dick Johnson, Jim Richards, Kevin Bartlett and John French, and 'sons of legends' James Brock and Steven Johnson were among the field of drivers who took to the track in the prized cars including Peter Brock's A9X Torana, Glenn and Bo Seton's Ford Capri and Ian "Pete" Geoghegan's Super Falcon.

The Bathurst and championship-winning cars hit near race speeds, thrilling crowds at the world-famous Gold Coast circuit.

Steven Johnson, who drives for his father's team Jim Beam Racing, drove the Greens Tuf XE Falcon in today's session.

"It was a thrill as I must have sat in the car hundreds of times since I was a kid, but today was the first time I have actually taken it out onto a track.

"It is different to my Jim Beam Racing Ford, but it still goes really well. It has good horsepower and brakes. Even though it has massive rear wheels, the actual tyres on the car are pretty old.

"The other unique thing about this racecar was the sheepskin car seat covers! I think I have got half a sheep on my back now."

John French, who raced with Dick Johnson in the crash-shortened 1981 Bathurst 1000, said he was thrilled to be involved in the celebration of Australian motorsport.

"I have to say that when you get a phone call from Dick Johnson and Kevin Bartlett asking to be involved in this event I didn't have to think twice about say yes," French said.

"It was quite interesting and certainly enjoyable. It has been nearly 25 years since I raced competitively and having driven automatic road cars for many years the clutch did feel pretty heavy.

"Certainly when you get back behind the wheel you feel pretty spirited, but the last thing I want to do this weekend is put a scratch on it."

The Pirtek Australian Legends category was created by a task force headed by Queensland Minister for Sport Phil Reeves to help provide a unique motorsport experience after the last-minute withdrawal of the A1GP cars from Europe.

The program has been put in place with the help of well-known Queensland-based car collector David Bowden and his sons Dan and Chris from Bowden's Own Premium Car Care products, who will supply 10 of the 12-car field.

The V8 Supercar program has also been altered and now includes four 150km races over the Saturday and Sunday of the event -- all for vital championship points.

-credit: bammedia

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Series V8SUPERCARS , VINTAGE