Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Thunder on the Mountain

What an awesome experience, last weekend Dad and I jumped into his trusty Falcon and headed down to Bathurst NSW, for the Super Cheap 1000.

I have been a die hard fan of Motorsport for as long as I can remember. And I don't think I've missed a Bathurst 1000 in my entire life. But I have always only ever watched it on TV. So this year, with Dad and I becoming more and more involved in motorsport chaplaincy we thought that this year we'd experience it in person.

I must admit I didn't know how I felt about breaking the TV tradition even if it did mean I would actually be track-side. The buzz of being there quickly won me over though, and I had a fantastic weekend.

If you caught any of the 4 day telecast on TV you would know one thing about this years race - it was incredibly cold weather!!!!!!!!! We froze our sweet little Queensland bottoms off all weekend.

The racing was incredible, Saturday we spent the day tripping around the track, checking out all the corners and parts of the track which had only ever been scenes on TV or the PS2 before. We also visited the Australian Motor Racing Museum, which showcased the fantastic history of the cars I've followed and loved all my life. I think this was the biggest buzz of the whole trip.

The other side of our trip to Bathurst was to hang out with Garry Coleman and check out the V8 Supercar Chaplaincy for ourselves. We hung out in the NRMA Smash Repairs Team, who house (and feed) the chaplains. This allowed for another amazing event for the weekend, when good friends of the NRMA team Dick and Jill Johnson came to have lunch. I have been a Dick Johnson fan since he was driving his Green Tuf Falcon (and I was still wearing nappies!), so finally meeting the man in an environment so laid back and social as this was just incredible.

On Sunday we were up early to get a good spot on the start line for the start of the big race. We were there when Garry gave the opening prayer before the National Anthem - unfortunatly due to programming errors it wasn't televised. We watched the first 20 or so laps there, then checked out the pits, and moved to The Chase, right at the end of Conrods Straight. We moved around for the rest of the race. I experienced a true chaplain role when I watched a pit stop for the HSV Racing Team, and Rick Kelly stumbled away from his pit crew sick as a dog. I quietly followed him and when he was sick just near his trailer I was able to offer a bottle of water, and make sure he got inside alright. I think he was so grateful he overlooked the Ford shirt I was wearing.

Again avid fans will know the outcome of the race, and the controversial crash between Murph and Ambrose. I was back on Conrods at the time, but watching on a giant screen. And able to grab a photo of the wrecks as they came around on tilt trucks.

Overall it was a dream lived, and a totally unforgetable weekend.

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