Thirty-two years ago today (October 6th), history was made in Australia’s biggest motorsport event, the Bathurst 1000km touring car race at the fearsome Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales.
On this day in... 1985
After decades of domination by Ford and Holden – they’d won all bar one of the races since its inception in 1963 – British marque Jaguar added its name to the roll of honour in what has always been known as ‘The Great Race’.
Three of the V12-engined, Tom Walkinshaw-prepared XJ-S machines were entered, for the boss himself and Win Percy, Jeff Allam/Ron Dickson and John Goss/Armin Hahne.
The 1985 edition was the first run to Group A regulations after the switch from the old Group C formula (not to be confused with World Sportscar Championship regulations) and would feature Jaguar taking on Ford, Holden, BMW and Volvo at the front.
Walkinshaw, European Touring Car Champion of 1984, took pole in the #8 XJ-S, with a mighty 2m18.822s lap – the only car to dip below 2m19s.
The Scot duly led away at the start with local heroes Allan Grice (Holden), Dick Johnson (Ford) and Robbie Francevic (Volvo) vying for best of the rest. Allam soon moved the #9 XJ-S into second before the end of the climb up to Turn 2 to make it a Big Cat one-two.
Sadly for Allam, he headed for the pits after just two laps with a sick engine, thus reducing the Jaguar effort to two cars.
Walkinshaw handed the lead car over to British and European Touring Car ace Win Percy as the third Jaguar, the #10 car of Goss/Hahne, moved to the front with ATCC race winner Francevic and cult hero and eight-time Bathurst winner Peter Brock giving chase.
Peter Perfect’s chances of a ninth win were dashed when he pitted to have the broken windscreen on the #05 Holden Commodore removed, only for stewards to call him back in to have the rear window removed, as per regulations.
Despite the draughty experience, Brock was still able to pass the Johnny Cecotto/Roberto Ravaglia BMW for second at the end of Conrod Straight. Soon after, though, the hopes of thousands of enthusiastic Holden fans were in tatters when Brock pitted to retire the Commodore he shared with Kiwi David Oxton thanks to engine failure.
The Walkinshaw/Percy car, for so much of the race the fastest on the track, suffered an oil-cooler drama that necessitated an unscheduled pitstop for a replacement. That dropped the #8 XJ-S to third behind the best of the BMWs.
Out front, the Goss/Hahne XJ-S stayed out of trouble to record that historic victory – the first and only win for Jaguar. The BMW 635 CSi of Cecotto/Ravaglia finished second, with Walkinshaw/Percy completing the podium for an XJ-S one-three.
Enjoy these highlights with ace commentators Mike Raymond and former multiple race winner Allan Moffat joined by Neil Crompton, the man who fronts today’s V8 Supercars TV broadcast, in the pits.
Look out for the classic moment when Jim Richards gives Dick Johnson the thumbs up as the two tin-top heroes run side-by-side up Mountain Straight.
James Hardie 1000, Bathurst 1985
1 John Goss (AUS)/Armin Hahne (D) – Jaguar XJ-S, 163 laps
2 Johnny Cecotto (YV)/Roberto Ravaglia (I) – BMW 635 CSi, 163 laps
3 Win Percy (GB)/Tom Walkinshaw (GB) – Jaguar XJ-S, 160 laps
4 Tony Longhurst (AUS)/Jim Richards (NZ) – BMW 635 CSi, 160 laps
5 Kent Baigent (NZ)/Neal Lowe (NZ) – BMW 635 CSi, 159 laps
6 Jim Keogh (AUS)/Garry Rogers (AUS) – BMW 635 CSi, 159 laps
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