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Opinion

Supercars Bathurst 1000 talking points

Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth celebrate their 2021 Bathurst title. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
5th December, 2021
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Despite once again being interrupted by the ongoing global pandemic, another season of the Supercars championship has been run and done, culminating in the Great Race at Mount Panorama.

The Bathurst 1000 finale once again delivered throughout the whole weekend, with the usual highs, lows and spectacular entertainment to please the hordes of fans trackside and viewers from home.

From a mighty performance from a legendary team, to local wildlife making its presence felt and the farewelling of the GOAT, here are the talking points from the 2021 Bathurst 1000.

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Mostert and Holdsworth win the Bathurst 1000
From an epic lap for pole position in the top-ten shootout to commanding the 161-lap endurance thriller, Chaz Mostert returned to the top step of the Bathurst podium with a second 1000-kilometre victory and a first for former full-time driver Lee Holdsworth.

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The pair were quick since the outset of the weekend, with Holdsworth topping both co-driver sessions in the build up to the top-ten shootout. Starting the race, Holdsworth was displaced heading into Hell Corner by Tony D’Alberto in the Shell V-Power Mustang.

The 38-year-old Holdsworth then wrestled back the lead of the race early and took charge in the co-driver stints, against the likes of D’Alberto and the fierce Garth Tander. The Appliances Online Commodore had the pace advantage throughout the entire race, no matter if it was on new or worn tyres.

Even the mid-race delamination scare when Mostert was in the car didn’t faze the now two-time Bathurst 1000 champion, as they fought their way back to the front and fended off another challenge from Shane van Gisbergen.

The dominant win for Mostert ahead of Cameron Waters and James Moffat in the Monster Energy Mustang, as well as the Erebus of Brodie Kostecki and David Russell, was in stark contrast to his 2014 win, when he only assumed the lead of the race on the final lap.

Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth

Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth celebrate their 2021 Bathurst title. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

This was the first race also since 2009’s win for Tander and Will Davison – by the same team, that the pole sitting car has gone on to triumph at the conclusion of the 161 laps.

Holden’s 35th win at Mount Panorama also marked the first victory for the Walkinshaw outfit at Bathurst in a decade.

It was an important win given the trials and tribulations around the Clayton operation, since losing their factory status and then joining international powerhouses in Andretti Autosport and Zak Brown’s United.

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Mostert also moved into third in the championship as a result of the 300 points for the winner of the Bathurst 1000.

It is crucial moving into 2022, where the team will have title aspirations. However this win rewards the hard-working efforts of this outfit in their recovery to the top.

Van Gisbergen and Tander cruelled by tyre failure
The 2021 Supercars champion was in contention for going back-to-back with co-driver Tander right until the end of the race, until with seven laps remaining a tyre failure destroyed that opportunity.

In typical Mount Panorama fashion, Bathurst bites and bites with no discrimination against the best. Earlier in the race it was Mostert who suffered a delaminating tyre, which temporarily put the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver on the back foot.

However, with fresher tyres and a will to claim another Bathurst victory to complement his title win, van Gisbergen pushed too hard at the end to fall out of the top ten to be ultimately classified in 18th.

An unfortunate finish given the rich form again by not only van Gisbergen, but co-driver Tander during the middle portion of the race, to stay within range of Holdsworth in the Appliances Online Commodore.

Farewelling the GOAT
Over 500 races, 124 victories and a record seven championships, the numbers don’t lie when dubbing Jamie Whincup as the greatest of all time in the history of the Australian touring car championship.

Jamie Whincup

(Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

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The end of another 161 laps at Mount Panorama, a location where the 38-year-old has won four Bathurst 1000s, sees Whincup conclude his career as a primary driver in Supercars before transitioning into the role of team owner.

A polarising figure in Supercars, Whincup went on to forge a dominant career with the then fresh-to-the-scene Triple Eight organisation following an underwhelming debut for Garry Rogers Motorsport.

Whincup won two championships for Ford, before Triple Eight started their longstanding alliance with Holden in 2010. Whincup went on to win an unprecedented four consecutive titles between 2011 and 2014 in dominant fashion.

It was the utter dominance that often left fans bittersweet with Whincup and that itself unfortunately is tragic in that the seven-time champion doesn’t receive that appreciation that his achievements deserve.

These achievements put Whincup in the pantheon of motorsport greats, such as Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi on two wheels.

The GOAT then added a record seventh title in 2017, following a titanic battle between him and young gun Scott McLaughlin, who lost the title in the final race.

Supporting and sharing some great battles with his teammate van Gisbergen in 2021 also saw Whincup assist Triple Eight in securing their tenth team’s title. The Victorian has been a part of all of them.

The fourth for Whincup and his long-time co-driver Craig Lowndes at the end of this Bathurst 1000 may also see the end of their successful endurance racing partnership, unless a wildcard is organised for the pair.

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Australian wildlife on show
It wouldn’t be an endurance race at Mount Panorama without appearances from the local wildlife and 2021’s Great Race delivered.

With 56 laps to go, a safety car was deployed, not for any incident on track, but to assist in an echidna in crossing the circuit on the run up to the Cutting and to safety. The endangered species was spotted in the middle of the track and drivers did well to avoid the critter.

The safety car neutralised the field and allowed safe crossing for the echidna, in what was a very Aussie way to interrupt a motor race. Earlier in the 161-lap affair there was an albino marsupial spotted also, with many debating whether it was a kangaroo or a wallaby.

The No.11 Objective Racing Mclaren 650S tackles the mountain at the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour

(Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

As entertaining it was to have some wildlife on show, the restart following the echidna crossing did see some hair-raising moments at the front of the field. With 51 laps to go, race leader van Gisbergen orchestrated a move to allow teammate Whincup to pass polesitter Mostert at the Cutting.

The move left the Appliances Online Commodore exposed to a rampart Kostecki behind, as well as Waters in the Monster Energy Mustang. Given the multiple occasions Mostert and Waters have come a cropper at Bathurst alone, watching them jostle for position across the top of the hill did leave one’s heart in the mouth.

Further safety cars were seen in subsequent laps, as Jayden Odeja became unstuck at the Esses in one of the Matt Stone Commodores. Then later it was teammate Jake Kostecki in the other Matt Stone car who was sent into the outside wall of Forrest’s Elbow.

As always, late safety car appearances spiced up the conclusion to this year’s Bathurst 1000 and even if it was triggered initially by some endangered wildlife – it is just part and parcel of what makes this Great Race truly a unique challenge.

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Magnificent Mostert breaks pole record
Having enjoyed fast lap times across the practice session between he and co-driver Holdsworth, Mostert fired a warning shot during the top-ten shootout with a scintillating time.

A 2:03.373 was recorded as the eighth lap of the Saturday afternoon shootout, faster than the ultimate time set by 2019 Bathurst 1000 winner in Scott McLaughlin during the fifth practice session of that weekend.

Chaz Mostert.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Brodie Kostecki’s lap midway through the Shootout yielded a 2:03.773, which given the boisterous reaction in the Erebus garage was thought to have been good enough for pole, following van Gisbergen’s effort.

Enter Waters in the Monster Energy Mustang, who scraped his way to eclipsing that figure from Kostecki, despite a scrappy middle sector and appearing out of shape at Forrest’s Elbow.

Mostert then followed with the unthinkable, weaving together one of the finest qualifying laps seen at the fabled Mount Panorama in the Australian touring car championship.

De Pasquale’s lap proceeding the 29-year-old was quick in the middle sector across the top of the hill, however was 0.28 seconds adrift of the Appliances Online Commodore to join Mostert on the front row.

A great build up to the 1000-kilometre finale for Mostert, after having commenced the weekend inauspiciously with a crash in the TCR Australia category in which he also wrapped up the championship.

Sliding doors fortunes at Erebus
The young duo of Kostecki and Brown impressed during the quartet of Sydney Motorsport Park events, in which the latter broke through for a maiden win. They also were shaping to be contenders for the Bathurst 1000.

Brown was fastest during the Friday qualifying session, claiming provision pole position to enter the top-ten shootout, as well as Kostecki also buying a ticket into his first ahead of the Great Race.

The pair both qualified fourth and fifth respectively during the shootout, though both Erebus Commodores were found to have been underweight and in breach of the regulations, resulting in a disqualification.

“After thorough inspection it was found that although the overall car weight were by the book, doors on both Erebus Holdens were underweight,” a statement from Erebus Motorsport read.

“It is a small overnight and honest mistake by the crew who have worked tirelessly for six weeks to ensure they represented the team, its partners and their fans well.”

The honest mistake sadly meant that the pair would start ninth and tenth, but there was further pain for the Shaw and Partners Commodore shared by Brown and Jack Perkins, when on Lap 30 a power steering issue saw smoke billowing from the rear of that car.

A dejected Perkins parked the Commodore in the Erebus garage, as the crew set about rectifying the issue. Later they were able return to circulation, albeit five laps off the leading cars.

However Kostecki, along with journeyman co-driver David Russell, raced themselves into contention and benefitted from van Gisbergen’s tyre failure at the end to complete the podium, behind winners Mostert and Holdsworth, and Waters and Moffat. It was their first trip to the Mount Panorama rostrum.

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