Motorsport News Power Rankings

POWER RANKINGS: BATHURST 1000 2020

ANOTHER GREAT, great race has delivered what we hope is another great edition of the TRT Power Rankings (presented by our mates at Yellow Cover). Read on for the Hot, the Not, the What and the Memes from the 2020 Bathurst 1000.

WORDS: Richard Craill, Mark Walker, Tony Schibeci, Dale Rodgers, Social Media Contributors
IMAGES: Mark Horsbrough / Supercars

LETS get one thing clear: There was much more ‘Hot’ than there was ‘Not’ in this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

This particular column focusses on the Great Race itself, but fear not Rankings Enthusiasts: such is our dedication to the cause we churned out carefully curated Hot / Not / What lists for each day of the Bathurst event. So, before launching into this list – refresh yourself of the weekend that was at the links here.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Right. Now, on to what is a largish edition of the Power Rankings.

And yes, Lex Kelly made the list. We’re not idiots.

HOT

1. CAR 97

WE SUSPECT history will only get kinder and kinder to the performance dished out by Shane van Gisbergen, Garth Tander and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team in 2020. While SVG admitted the car needed some work as it unloaded out of the truck, by the time GT bashed out 20 laps of ruthless consistency on Friday afternoon we kinda knew that the 97 machine was some kind of rocket, especially over a distance. Tander’s influence in this victory was probably overshadowed by van Gisbergen’s immense performance of raw, relentless speed (and his wet weather skills earlier) at the end of the race but the now four-time champion was a critical element.

Ironically aided by the early non-finish of the sister car, removing any pit stacking issues, this was a controlled, knife’s edge performance of the fastest car over the distance winning the motor race. Awesome.

2. HOLDEN GOES OUT ON TOP

NO BRAND has done more for the status of the Bathurst 1000 than Holden, nor has one race had such a significant role in the history of any given brand the world around. The pair are intrinsically linked, which makes the Lion’s departure from the world even more significant and makes this result particularly poignant. The official factory team of Holden – now in its what, fourth or fifth iteration – wins the final officially supported race the brand ever enters. In the decades to come that will prove a nice full stop on the history of the General on the Mountain.

3. CAR 6

CAME UP a tiny bit short on Sunday, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of excellence on the part of Cameron Waters, Will Davison and Tickford Racing. The Monster Mustang was exactly that all week – a Monster – and was quick regardless of the driver behind the wheel. Cam Waters shootout lap was immense and the team managed the race exceedingly well, never relenting in their pressure of the 97.

Will Davison was as good as you’d expect from a two-time champion of the race but the coming-of-age performance from Cam Waters was perhaps more significant; he was mistake free in his pursuit of van Gisbergen and only lost out to the Holden’s superior long-run pace. An excellent drive and with McLaughlin going, this bodes well for Ford fans moving forward.

4. CAR 25

WANT A Bathurst podium? Just make sure you’ve got Warren Luff aboard and you’re almost a certainty! An outstanding performance from a team that always goes well at Bathurst, yet is up there for ‘most improved overall’ in 2020. This was a fine way for Chaz Mostert to cap off his first full season in the WAU camp and while he didn’t quite have the last few tenths to battle the two leaders, he easily had the Penske cars in hand at the end which is no mean feat. Good signs from this team all year, capped off by another Bathurst podium.

P.S. Warren Luff has been on the Bathurst podium six times in the last nine years. It’s incredible.

5. THE RACE TO THE FINISH

NEVER FAILS, does it? From the utter intensity of SVG and Waters trading blows, identical lap time to identical lap time in what was basically a qualifying session, to the bedlam of the two Safety Cars in the final nine laps, Bathurst never leaves us wanting for something dramatic at the end. Magnificent.

6. TV COVERAGE

WE are lucky in this part of the world to have the level of TV production we do. From go to woah the coverage was brilliant again and even though the COVID economy forced some rationalization of the coverage, you could hardly tell. Let’s be honest: until now, you never realised there was no fly cam at the chase, right?

From the best chopper shots in the sport to the little hype packages before each individual session and the pre and post-race presentations that ably hid the fact there were few people there, it was another outstanding effort from the Supercars media team – many of whom who have been on the road for almost as long as the Melbourne teams, which only adds to the story.

Special mention to Neil Crompton’s call of the start.. “To succeed at Bathurst, the desire to win must be greater than the fear of losing.” Goosebumps.

7. LEX FREAKING KELLY

Need we say anything more? No, we need not.

8. GARRY JACOBSON’S EMOTION

THIS was one of the most moving moments of the entire weekend. Don’t let anyone tell you that race doesn’t mean much..

9. TEAM 18

WHAT a story this has been for ‘Team Charlie’. It was a big call to go to two cars, but it paid off handsomely this year by not only getting two cars home in the 10 at Bathurst, but in the championship as well. Didn’t look like contending on pace, but they were efficient and more than fast enough to run in the top six, which they did. This is a big result for this crew and a great reward for the drivers and the boss man himself.

Special mention to co-drivers Dean Fiore and James Golding – big effort.

10. VICTORY LAPS AND THE SKIDS ON IT

Wish we could make this a Bathurst tradition, but in any other year you’d be running over 10,000 drunk souls at McPhillamy doing this.

WHAT

FULL MOON

THE fan wall was an innovative way to keep fans involved, who otherwise have been given the bum steer in 2020. A cracking initiative. Unfortunately for Supercars TV, Melanie Llewelyn gave them the arseโ€ฆ

FAN WALL x2

Cโ€™MON Brendon, lift!

LITERALLY THE CHASE

WHEN the Chase was installed in 1987, nobody could have pictured this classic. An oldie but a goodie. Look at that star picket fly!



TWINS?

SERIOUSLY, questions have to be asked. Separated at birth, reunited by Superlites?


Cโ€™MON DAN

SUB-OPTIMAL timing from Dan Andrews for his daily presser โ€“ clearly not a race fan.


NOT

1. JAMIE WHINCUP

CRITCAL MOMENT in the motor race and it came from the seven-time champion, a four-time Great Race winner and the best there’s been. Regardless of who it was, it was a key error that changed the complexion of the motor race and removed one of the outright, key contenders that also removed pressure from the arch-rival Ford team in the team’s title too. We’re still scratching our heads about this one.ย 






2. BRAD JONES RACING

There’s not much we can add to this other than to list the litany of disasters that BJR endured on Sunday.ย 

Car 8: DNQ from TTSO after an awesome lap, power steering problems before the start, engine issues throughout cost them any result.ย 

Car 3: Door issues, which we noted as a NOT from Saturday, reoccurred from the start, crashed into teammate Smith and ended up serving two 15 second penalties.ย 

Car 4: Put into the bunker by teammate Jones, repeated the effort following a flat tyre into the Chase, with the SC causing that decisive strategy change for Slade in car 17 just to make sure they hurt other people’s races too.ย 

Car 14: Boys crashed at Hell Corner on Thursday, repeated the effort at Murray’s on race day.ย 










3. EREBUS

CAR 99 running third in the early running was something of a false economy for Penrite Racing, who were far from their usual selves for most of the weekend. Anton de Pasquale was fast enough, but down on grunt in the race which really removed their ability to fight.ย 

Car 9 was absolutely nowhere, however, not on results or pace or anything else. It’s okay to have a bad day at Bathurst.. but to be anonymous feels almost worse.ย 




4. MECHANICAL GREMLINS

IT WAS one of the storylines coming into the race: Would the extended time on the road, and the challenges that generated in terms of getting ready for the Great Race, impact the reliability of the cars? We’re not saying that preparation was the problem – but there were certainly more mechanicals than perhaps we’re used to on Sunday.ย 





5. NO PUNTERS AND NO ATMOSPHERE

That slowdown lap should’ve been the most emotional thing ever if there were punters – though wouldn’t have happened if there was. Still, felt very strange indeed and it was like part of Bathurst’s soul was missing in action.ย 

Another point – why weren’t all of the seats that were there rammed full? Were there too many seats for the number of people (4,000) actually ticketed? Or did just not everyone turn up? Strange situations in a strange year. Lets never be apart again, Great Race faithful. Ever.ย 

6. SUPER 2/3

LOTS of drama and pretty good racing for what was a pretty last-minute addition to the weekend – but mainly makes the ‘NOT’ because a) it was hard to be critical of the weekend, really and b) how have they not called the title? The chances of getting another round in are about the same as the BoM successfully predicting Bathurst’s weather patterns, so we’re not sure why Tom Randle wasn’t afforded the opportunity of being presented with the championship title at Mount Panorama. Would’ve made all the sense in the world.ย ย 


7. EARLIER START TIME

ULTIMATELY it was a non-event, with plenty of daylight left at the end for the race to continue onwards in to prime time TV ratings bonanza country. Safety first, we know, and in the end it didn’t really matter so we’re nitpicking a bit. Also, it was hard to fill out the ‘NOT’s beyond the top five.ย 

Still, probably wise to second-guess the..

8. BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

..who began race week with predictions of a second coming of Noah on Sunday, mixed in with a bit of apocalypse. What we got was a light misting. A sideshow alley fortune teller at your local medieval fare has more chance of accurately picking what the weather is going to do at Mount Panorama.ย  ย 

9. RETAIL SALES

FOR 15 years the two Supercheap Auto retail stores at Mount Panorama have, for a week, been the highest grossing stores in the nation. Surely the end of that little enterprise is going to be a massive dent to the already struggling retail industry nationwide? What will people do when they need a $10 umbrella or a Bathurst playmat for their kid actually purchased from the Mountain itself? Repco has a lot to live up to.ย 

10. SALES OF CHINESE FOOD IN COUNTRY NSW

TRT and our associated parties contribute more than a grand to the local Chinese restaurant economy in Bathurst each October. We hope they have managed to survive our absence and will be there whenever it is we are able to return..ย 

11. OFFSEASON?!?!?!

What in the name of all that is holy do we do now?ย 

TWEETS

CHAMPAGNE LARKO




THAT OPENING LAP INTO THE CHASE




WHERE DO I SIGN?

NICE


GOTTA SAVE YOUR GEAR


RACE IN A MEME (OR THREE)