So here we were, on possibly the most exciting day of the year. Thursday the 4th of October 2018, the day the Bathurst 1000 event begun. Excitement surrounded us, you could feel it in the air - but as we woke up, we were met with dark and grey skies. The heavens opened.
So our journey began. A four hour drive awaited us- possibly the longest four hours of the year. What made things worse was that there was an accident in Sydney, which added another 20 minutes to our trip. It doesn't sound like much now, but at the time it felt like an eternity. Finally we made it into the Blue Mountains, and we were greeted with layers of fog. It made for an interesting trip, but it didn't hinder us by any means. We knew that once we got to Lithgow that we'd be on the home stretch. The drive from Lithgow to Bathurst didn't take long at all, but the weather robbed us of one of the most exciting moments you can experience as a race fan. The inclement weather meant that we couldn't see the mountain as we drove in, we were just a tiny bit disappointed! But eventually we made it, and so began the best 4 days of the year.
After picking up our tickets, we walked straight into Harris Park and merchandise alley. In my humble opinion, one of the best sounds you can experience as a race fan is the sound of a Supercar's gear change as they go past the Supercheap Auto bridge and merchandise alley. That's when you know that you've made it, you're at the mountain. I scanned my Supercheap Auto card hoping I would win a freebie at the track store, which Supercheap Auto offers every year. I won a car dice. Perfect decoration for the man-cave if you ask me!
We had paddock passes with our tickets, so as we do- we went over into the paddock and behind the pits. As we were walking, a few drivers met our gaze as they walked from the pits towards the transporters and motorhomes- Jack Lebrocq and Dean Canto come to mind, although I think Canto had troubles with his motorhome toilet as he quickly ran to a porta-loo nearby!
So our walk continued, and we ended up behind the Red Bull pits. Every year, Red Bull have a 'Bull Pen' where they let fans into a designated area in their pit bay to watch what goes on behind the scenes. You usually have to buy a certain amount of merchandise or win a raffle, but because it was quiet on Thursday- we were allowed in for free. A little tip for anyone at the mountain on Thursday, hang around the god-damn Red Bull garage! As we entered, #97 was out and about during Practice 3- but #1 didn't move. It became clearer why later, as Whincup said that they were hoping for dry running in the crucial sessions- meaning they were gone if it was wet. A gamble that nearly paid off.
As our time finished up, we decided to head to our campsite at the Bathurst Sports Ground. It was already set up as our friends got to Bathurst on Thursday. Lucky they were, otherwise we would've been soaked!
As the day wound to a close, we sat back and just looked around. After 360-odd days of waiting, we were finally back in Bathurst and it felt sweet. We had a bourbon to celebrate, which turned into a couple of bourbons. Everything felt light after that, but it was a good light. Whatever happened next was tomorrow morning's problem.
Friday at Bathurst is always a massive day. Stay tuned to our next post!