Lots of nostalgia as V8 Supercars return to Surfers Paradise for a championship round. The crowd is expected to be hanging from the rafters when the V8 Supercars race for the championship points on the streets of Surfers Paradise at the Honda...
Lots of nostalgia as V8 Supercars return to Surfers Paradise for a championship round.
The crowd is expected to be hanging from the rafters when the V8 Supercars race for the championship points on the streets of Surfers Paradise at the Honda Indy 300 next month just the way it was the last time points were up from grabs in Australia's holiday capital.
The V8 Supecars have been a part of the Honda Indy 300 program since 1994, but this year will be the first time teams have competed for Championship points on the Gold Coast since1987 at the old Surfers Paradise Raceway at Carrara.
On May 31 of that year a record crowd jammed the old raceway to watch local hero Dick Johnson compete from pole position in his Ford Sierra in round six of the Shell Ultra Series for "Group A" touring cars.
Unfortunately for Johnson, and the crowd, his Sierra failed to complete a lap before blowing a turbo charger in a race which had been postponed a week because of flooding.
When the V8 Supercars return to Surfers Paradise on October 24-27 for the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge, they will share the spotlight with the Champ Cars of the FedEx Championship Series and this time it will be Dick's son Steve who will be racing for championship points in a Ford.
It will be the 11th round of a 13-round championship, which is now considered the most competitive "tin top" series in the world.
The Gold Coast round will include stars such as Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose, Jason Bright, Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, David Besnard, Russell Ingall, Paul Radisich and Garth Tander.
"We did not know it was going to be the last time at the raceway in ^Ì87, but the writing was on the wall," said Johnson. "I guess you don't know how much you will miss something until it's no longer there. "I think we blew about five turbos that weekend and it was even more disappointing when we realised that would be our last race there. "It's pretty amazing that we will be back racing in Surfers Paradise for points all these years later at such a totally different venue."
With Johnson out on lap one, Jim Richards took control of the race in his BMW M3 and raced away to back up his win at Queensland's Lakeside Raceway just six weeks earlier.
Richards slotted into second place behind Larry Perkins's VK Commodore in the opening lap, but grabbed the lead soon into lap two and was never headed in the 46-lap race.
In the end he led Andrew Miedecke (Ford Sierra) Tony Longhurst (BMW M3), Glenn Seton (Nissan Skyline), George Fury (Nissan Skyline) and Perkins over the line.
Miedecke was later excluded from the results because of an illegal turbo charger and given a four-week suspension.
While the race was the last "Group A" championship event for Surfers Paradise, it was the first race for Holden's new VL Commodore, which Peter Brock campaigned unsuccessfully into 11th place because of excessive tyre wear.
The only drivers to start that day who are still part of Australia's leading category include Gold Coaster Longhurst, six-time Bathurst winner Perkins, Ford driver Seton and Albury-based competitor Brad Jones.
Jones now runs a high-profile two-car Ford team with OzEmail sponsorship a little different to the Mitsubishi Starion he campaigned back in 1987.
At the end of round six Richards led the championship with 135 points from Seton (117), Fury (82), Longhurst (81), Perkins (79) and (Johnson 54). Richards went on to claim the second of four national championships (1985,87,90,91).
Richards now drives a Porsche in the Nations Cup Championship and will team-up with the Holden Racing Team in this month's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 at Queensland Raceway and then the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13.
Richards' son Steve, already a two-time Bathurst winner, will compete on the streets of Surfers Paradise with Perkins' Castrol Holden team next month.
2002 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER 8 ROUNDS
1: Mark Skaife (Holden) 1775
2: Jason Bright (Holden) 1096
3: Greg Murphy (Holden) 1002
4: Todd Kelly (Holden) 946
5: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 941
6: Steve Richards (Holden) 791
7: Craig Lowndes (Ford) 722
8: Garth Tander (Holden) 643
9: David Besnard (Ford) 619
10: Russell Ingall (Holden) 556
-Honda Indy 300