Home' Supercar Xtra : Dec 2015 Jan 2016 Issue 90 Contents 46
THE HISTORY OF AUSSIE
TOURING CARS ON TV
Australian touring cars on TV didn’t just come
into being as the full-series, single-channel
barrage of the senses we know today. For a long
time viewers were faced with an unstructured,
disparate offering from competing networks that
had their own ties with different events.
The Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island was
broadcast live in Melbourne by GTV-9 in 1960.
It’s claimed to be the first televised motorsport
event in Australia, though the speedway
activities Raymond says Channel Seven was
embarking on in 1959 cast doubt on that.
ATN7 Sydney was part of the consortium that
organised the first Bathurst in 1963 (along
with the ARDC and Bathurst City Council) and
broadcast that landmark race in October using
just four cameras. Initially, only segments of the
race were shown during Sunday programming...
and initially only in Sydney.
But rapidly growing interest in the event saw
Seven continually increase its commitment.
Soon the race was being televised across the
nation and largely in its entirety, though still
with an hour break for the network’s Sunday
By 1969 IBM was providing live racing scoring.
By 1971 there were 14 cameras to catch
the action. By 1973 the race telecast was in
something resembling its current all-day, non-
stop form. By 1975 viewers were experiencing
it in colour.
In 1977 helicopters arrived to spice up the
vision; 1978 saw the birth of Saturday’s made-
for-TV Hardies Heroes Shootout; and 1979 the
arrival of the landmark Racecam in-car camera.
As Seven established itself as the Bathurst
telecaster, on the other side of the commercial/
public divide, the ABC was doing a less
innovative, less flashy but equally fundamental
job of developing coverage of touring cars.
It broadcast the Tasman Series meetings at
Warwick Farm during the late 1960s and early
1970s, which typically included both series-
production and improved-production events,
as well as rounds of the South Pacific Touring
Car Series. It was the chief broadcaster of the
Sandown 500 until well into the 1990s and the
other, non-Bathurst rounds of the Australian
Endurance Championship during the early to
mid-1980s (Oran Park, Adelaide International
Raceway, Surfers Paradise).
The ABC was also fundamental in taking the
ATCC to a wider viewing audience. In 1983 it
covered most of the rounds of the championship
and in 1984 became the first Australian network
to broadcast the series in its entirety.
Not for long, though. In 1985 Seven, which
had expanded its touring-car presence through
the 1970s and 1980s with broadcasts of Amaroo
Park’s long-running Amscar touring-car series,
swept in to take over the whole ATCC/Bathurst
kit and kaboodle. But not the Sandown 500,
which remained mostly aloof from Seven’s
attentions until well into the 1990s. And when
it did finally find a permanent place alongside
other events, it was under the Network Ten
By then, Seven’s run as Australia’s prime
touring-car broadcaster had come to an end and
Ten had taken over from 1997. But the sport’s
infamous management/promotional split meant
Seven retained the ‘traditional’ Bathurst 1000
TV rights and scheduling in 1997 and 1998. It
would run those races for Super Touring cars.
It was a moot point because Seven’s 1000
ultimately fizzled out and Ten/AVESCO’s
Bathurst alternative took over as the one and
only ‘big one’. By now every significant race was
not just being shown but on the single network.
The transition from mix-and-match broadcasts
to integrated coverage was complete.
Since then swapsies for the broadcast rights
have kept coming: Seven grabbed the rights off
Ten in 2007 only to lose them back to its chief
motorsport-broadcasting rival from 2015 under
the current Fox Sports/Ten deal.
the manufacturers we’ve gone to, for you to test their
cars and evaluate their chances, every one of them has
said, by all means, Allan Moffat, yes!”
Passing the baton to Neil Crompton...
The person I got the most pleasure out of directing and
pushing forward was Neil Crompton. We brought him
to Seven and gave him every opportunity to do what he
wanted to do. Initially it was as a commentator and a
fella who followed every aspect of business going up and
down, and then he wanted to become involved in driving
one, and that was fine, we went along with all of that.
He’s really blossomed; we’re great mates even today.
The secret to a great motorsport telecast...
There’s a story to be told; you’ve got to tell the story
properly. You’ve got to have all the players there, you
have the circuit there, you have an enthusiastic crowd
You’ve got to make sure they’re all interested in one
thing, one, from the driver’s point of view, is winning,
there can only be one winner.
Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes now, you often
have one person doing a lot of the winning, but the spec-
tators have got to be a major part of it. Their reaction to
things is pivotal in giving you a product with rapturous
applause or they don’t like it, it’s one or the other.
What you get through the camera from the race
track should be matched by the reaction of the specta-
tor at home watching on TV.
ABOVE: N C
Mark Skaife) cut his teeth at Seven under Raymond’s leadership.
Touring against one another at Bathurst in 1997 and 1998.
V8X90 p42-45 Mike Raymond.indd 46
13/11/2015 11:38 am
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