Home' Supercar Xtra : Oct Nov 2014 Issue 83 Contents 62
But Lowndes reveals another twist to the tale.
“What I didn’t know then and only found out later
in life was that John was in the same predicament,”
Lowndes says. “From what he told me he was about
half-a -lap away from yielding from when I did.
“When I ceased the attack and just had to bring the
car home, about another half a lap he got the same
alarm and he was thankful that I had stopped so he
had enough breathing space to bring it home.”
In the end Johnson/Bowe won by 5.7 seconds,
with Jones/Lowndes six seconds ahead of 1993
winners Larry Perkins and Gregg Hansford in the
Castrol Commodore, who shaded Tony Longhurst and
Charlie O’Brien in a Perkins Engineering customer
car backed by B&H. Win Percy and Russell Ingall
(Coke Commodore) and Bond and Anders Olofsson
(Winfield Commodore) completed the top six. And
they were all on the lead lap, something unheralded
and eulogised at the time.
Nowadays, the racing is closer than anyone could
have imagined then; winning margins are measured in
tenths and there are less cars on the grid but almost all
finish, with 19 cars on the lead lap the last four years.
“I think it is the most magnificent formula you have
ever seen in your life,” said Johnson as the sun set on
that momentous October day. And he was right.
And that’s one last and perhaps most important
trend that Bathurst 1994 pointed to; the decision was
right to abandon international Group A and go it alone
with Australian-developed regulations for a category
based on Holden and Fords built and sold locally and
powered by V8 engines.
“I certainly think that is when the brand got trac-
tion,” Cattach says. “It signalled it was all coming
together after a pretty modest start when we were
struggling to get enough cars on the grid and so on
and so forth.
“This whole concept of this tribal support for the V8s
seemed to be working. The closeness of the racing gave
us enormous confidence to keep pushing.”
In subsequent years virtually all aspects of category’s
commercial and administrative structure changed and
mostly for the better. Those mentioned in this story
are a microcosm of that success: Johnson has been
joined as V8 team owner by Jones and his brother
Kim. Brad is also on the V8 Supercars board. The Stone
brothers have only recently completed a successful
championship-winning stint as owners, Bowe raced in
the category into his 50s and Lowndes probably will
Now the category has have evolved so Volvo, Nissan
and Mercedes-AMG are represented on the grid.
Meanwhile, youth is embraced and a new generation of
kids led by the fabulous four of the 2012 Development
Series – Scott McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert, Scott Pye
and Nick Percat – are gradually taking over the grid.
“I am hoping there is some young bastard that will
do to Lowndes what he did to Bowey,” says Stone of
Bathursts to come. “It would be good. It would show
that it’s always onwards and upwards.”
ABove: some of the varied
machines that formed
Class b in 1994, including,
from left to right, BMW
318i, mercedes 190e,
hyundai Lantra, Peugeot
405 and toyota Corolla.
The final battle between Bowe and Lowndes
was the culmination of tragic, tumultuous and
tense week for the category we would come to
know as V8 Supercars.
The tragedy came early when privateer Don
Watson fatally crashed his Commodore VP at
the Chase on Thursday, a section re-designed
after Mike Burgmann’s 1986 fatal accident.
The tumult revolved around the technical
legality of the front suspension towers of Brock
and Tomas Mezera’s new HRT Commodore,
which after modifications eventually would be
allowed to race even though many rivals were
unhappy about it.
If #05 had won, it was expected that a
flurry of protests would have been fired in to
CAMS, which was still then in charge of the
category’s technical rules and legality. HRT,
in turn, was apparently ready to fire protests
straight back at its rivals.
It’s worth pointing out that in those days the
cars weren’t as technically identical as they
are now; different platforms, different front
suspensions and much else... the debate
about aero remains familiar! It wasn’t until
the Project Blueprint rule that the cars began
to truly merge.
Brock was already unpopular with his fellow
drivers as he was on a $100,000 bonus to win
his 10th Bathurst. Instead of collecting a size-
able cheque, he collected the wall and brought
out the safety car that would allow Lowndes to
close up on Bowe for their final battle.
It was also the final Bathurst to include
a Class B for two-litre cars before they were
outlawed and went into Super Touring.
The tension was unending on race day.
Monosoonal rain doused the circuit. The open-
ing two hours of the race were in conditions
that varied from bad to appalling.
But it would also act as a stage for some
of Australia’s finest motor racing talents as
Mark Skaife, Glenn Seton, Brock, Larry Perkins,
Alan Jones, Bowe and Brad Jones all showed
off their skills.
Later Perkins would rhapsodise the experi-
ence: “That’s how you’ve got to drive when
you go to Europe. You’ve got to get on to a
“I pressed-on on a limit I haven’t been at for
a long time.
“The carrot to go quick was the world’s best
track and the most treacherous conditions
triumPh & tragedY tragedy strikes with the fatal accident for
don watson in thursday practice.
wet & wiLd
Scan to watch the damp
opening stint of the race
and one of the best displays
of wet-weather driving.
V8X83 p58-62 Bathurst 1994.indd 62
5/9/14 3:46:11 PM
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