Bathurst to see legends tackle the mountain

BATHURST LEGENDS TO TACKLE THE MOUNTAIN AGAIN Bathurst Legends Bob Morris, Allan Grice and Bob Holden are three of the first drivers to confirm their spot on the start line at this year's WPS Bathurst International Motor Festival as a part of...

BATHURST LEGENDS TO TACKLE THE MOUNTAIN AGAIN

Bathurst Legends Bob Morris, Allan Grice and Bob Holden are three of the first drivers to confirm their spot on the start line at this year's WPS Bathurst International Motor Festival as a part of the Legends Race.

Morris started his career in club races in a Ford Cortina and went on to race a Toyota in 1968 and 69 before joining Peter Brock in the Holden Dealer Team in 1970.

After competing in a Factory backed Phase 3 GT Falcon in 1971 Morris returned to a Holden in a 350 Monaro with much success.

He is arguably one of the country's greatest privateers and loved beating the more powerful factory backed teams. Morris and his XU1 Torana were legendary in the 1970s under the sponsorship of Ron Hodgson.

Morris' greatest moment was at Bathurst in 1976 in one of the most emotional victories of all time. He and co-driver John Fitzpatrick nursed their struggling car through the last few corners to claim their maiden Bathurst crown. This winning car is currently on display at the National Motor Racing Museum.

In 1978 Morris finished runner-up in the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) aboard an A9X Holden Torana before taking out the championship in 1979. He also finished second in the great race in 1981.

During his final year of competition in 1984 Morris successfully campaigning a Mazda Rx-7, winning the final five races of his career (one in the ATCC and four in the Amaroo Series).

The 57 year-old has wasted no time in accepting his invitation to be a part of the Legends Race at Mount Panorama this Easter as a part of the WPS Bathurst International Motor Festival.

"Winning the race outright was everybody's dream and a very special moment in my career," said Morris.

"I haven't competed at Bathurst for over 20 years so to go back there and race against some of the Legends of Australian motorsport this Easter should be very enjoyable."

Making his debut at Mount Panorama in the 1968 running of the Hardie-Ferodo 500, Grice teamed with Bill Tuckey in a 124S Fiat. Throughout his career the now 63 year-old won Australia's great race on two occasions and finished on the podium a further five times during his career that included 20 consecutive starts in the Bathurst 1000.

Grice's victory at the Bathurst 1000 in 1986 with Graham Bailey aboard the Chickadee Commodore was one of the biggest wins for a privateer. The winning car is currently on display at the National Motor Racing Museum.

In addition to his success in the great race Grice was a part of the team which led the majority of the inaugural 24-hour race around Mt Panorama and has also won the 12-hour production race.

Grice's success wasn't limited to Australian shores. He was one of the country's most traveled drivers throughout his illustrious career competing in numerous endurance events across America and Europe. The highlight of his overseas foray was a sixth place in the prestigious LeMans 24-hour race.

"Bathurst is one of the finest circuits in the world, it doesn't matter what car you race, it is an amazing feeling. I'm looking forward to the race at Easter," said Grice.

"The highlight of my career at Bathurst was my first win in the Chickadee Commodore, it is not often that a genuine privateer team beats the factory and that day we certainly showed them how it was done."

Although retiring from full-time competition over ten years ago, Grice remains a familiar face behind the wheel in the Yokohama Ute Championship.

Holden was one of the stars of Australian motorsport during the 1950's and 1960's contesting more races on a smaller budget than almost anyone in the world.

Holden began his career in a Peugeot 203 in 1956 before campaigning a home built open wheeler Lynx Peugeot which he raced successfully for a period of time.

After racing an FE Holden he changed marques to successfully campaign a Ford Escort for several years. His most successful stint at Bathurst was during the mid 60's when he claimed the 1966 running of the great race in a Mini Cooper S and backed this result up with a second place the following year. In the same year he won the Great Race Holden also took out the Total Oil International Rally.

Holden's best finish in the Australian Touring Car Championship was runner-up to Dick Johnson in 1982.

All three iconic figures, Morris, Grice and Holden, will be in action as a part of the Legends race in cars from the Yokohama Ute Series at the WPS Bathurst International Festival. Several other Legends of Australian motor sport will be announced over the coming weeks.

The WPS Bathurst International Motor Festival will be held on April 13-16 at the famous Mount Panorama circuit. Promoted and managed by a joint venture between the Bathurst Regional Council (BRC) and Global Entertainment Team Pty Ltd (GET) the event has gained inspiration from the world renowned Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival in the UK.

The on-track action for the weekend will include car club parade laps, Historic Touring Car racing, Aussie Racing Cars, Team Australia demonstration laps, GT Championship Cars as well as several manufacturer sessions.

There will also be nostalgia sessions where race and road cars from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s will cut laps of the famous 6.213km Bathurst circuit.

Tickets are on sale through www.ticketek.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Dick Johnson , Bob Holden