Feature Mark Walker November 18, 2023 (Comments off) (355)

58 Milestone Moments from Adelaide

The Adelaide Parklands sure have seen some spectacular moments.

Here, we run through the highlights, from 1846 to the present.


1846 – Horse racing commenced in Victoria Park.

1882 – The heritage-listed Victoria Park grandstand (that remains in place) was erected.

The early 1980s – Sydney (harbourside), Melbourne (Sandown) and Canberra (a new standalone racetrack) all thought it would be great to bring Formula 1 to Australia.

1984 – Following a chat with Bernie Ecclestone, Adelaide successfully steals the Australian Grand Prix from its then home of Calder Park, with the race set to run from 1985 to 1991. Locals were concerned about the environmental damage the event would cause, especially to the local possum population. None have seemingly been subsequently harmed in the running of the event.

In a covert operation, Vern Schuppan lapped the track in a trial mock run aboard an F5000 car early one Sunday morning.


1985 – Keke Rosberg won the inaugural AGP and celebrated by lighting up a dart. Ligiers placed 2-3.


1986 – Nigel Mansell spectacularly blew a tyre late, losing the title to race winner Alain Prost by two points.


https://twitter.com/1980s_F1_OTD/status/1724836056313270439

1987 – Gerhard Berger led all the way from pole position in claiming the victory for Ferrari, which turned into a team 1-2 when Ayrton Senna’s Lotus was disqualified, promoting Michele Alboreto to second. It proved to be the final win prior to Enzo Ferrari’s passing.


1989 – There was a time-certain finish in the AGP, 11 laps short due to rain.


1990 – The 500th World Championship race was somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing tantrum between Prost and Ayrton Senna, who dumped Prost into the Suzuka outfield to win the title at the previous event.


1991 – Rain caused the AGP to be the shortest F1 race of all time, that was, until Belgium 2021…


1992 – Senna and Mansell shunt, Murray Walker almost blew a fufu valve.


1993 – Melbourne took vengeance on losing the AGP from Calder by driving a tip truck filled with cash to Bernie Ecclestone’s house, with the event set to move to Albert Park from 1996.

Senna won the last race of his career and shared the top podium step with his friend Prost.


1994 – Michael Schumacher turned in, hard, on Damon Hill, allowing the German to win the world championship. Mansell squeezes himself into a Williams for one last time to claim his final F1 race win.


1995 – Mika Hakkinen suffered his massive accident, from which he bounced back to claim two world championships in 1998 and ’99.

David Coulthard fenced himself on the pit entry, gifting the race win to Damon Hill. The Adelaide AGP concludes.


1998 – In September, it was announced that the Adelaide 500 would effectively replace Mallala on the V8 Supercars calendar from March 1999.


1999 – The inaugural Adelaide 500 was considered one race (all subsequent have seen the two legs being classified as separate races), with Craig Lowndes claiming the win, after starting at the rear of the grid on Sunday after comprehensively blasting Danny Osborne into the fence on Saturday.


2000 – Brad Jones inverts himself at turn 8, which was reprofiled two years later.

The Race of a Thousand Years rounded out the most recent millennium, the last event contested on the full GP circuit.


2001 – After Craig Lowndes won the opener aboard his AU Falcon, however, he didn’t survive Sunday after a late race clash with Mark Skaife.


2002 – Tomas Mezera, Greg Crick, Dugal McDougal and Ross Halliday fail to progress from the pre-qualifying session held at Mallala.


2003 – Marcos Ambrose was the Saturday winner, but a mechanical DNF on Sunday set the start of his championship-winning season behind the eight ball.


2004 – Ambrose kicked off a string of six straight wins for Ford, the best run for the marque in the event. Holden won 15 straight from 2013 up to the last race in 2019. The Sunday race in 2004 featured the above wad up.


2005 – An Ambrose sweep, with five of the six podium positions filled by Fords.


2006 – The baby GOAT was born: Jamie Whincup broke through for the Sunday win in his first Adelaide 500 with Triple Eight.


2007 – The VE Commodore made its race meeting debut and dominated, with brothers Todd and Rick Kelly splitting the honours.


2008 – Whincup won two from two, elsewhere: carnage.

The final horse race was run in Victoria Park.


2009 – Whincup won another pair; elsewhere, there was the usual bout of madness.


2010 – Garth Tander struck back with a pair of wins for the General.


2011 – Tander and Whincup split the wins, the heavens opened on Sunday, sliding ensued.


2012 – Whincup took an emotional Sunday win after an epic last-lap battle with fuel-less Will Davison.


2013 – The COTF debuts, Mark Winterbottom pits after one lap with gearbox dramas, as Craig Lowndes kicked off the new era in style.


2014 – The epic battle to the death between Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup. Scotty gave it some jandle and subsequently swore on live TV. Forgotten by time is the fact that Craig Lowndes comfortably won the race.

Elsewhere, Jason Bright was nearly flipped out of the ballpark after an ‘Action Zone’ yellow flag restart.


2015 – Three races, three winners – Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and James Courtney.

Scott McLaughlin’s external combustion Volvo engine failed to make the opening race start.


2016 – Nick Percat won the sodden Sunday race after a DNS on Saturday for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in possibly the biggest turnaround in the sport’s history.


2017 – The experiment with two Saturday races ended the previous year, with Shane van Gisbergen claiming the twin legs.


2018 – In a sign of things to come in Supercars that year, honours were split between SvG and McLaughlin, with the event losing Clipsal as its naming rights partner.


2019 – Scott McLaughlin won the first Mustang championship race since Allan Moffat in 1972.

The Sunday race failed to run to distance after a delayed start due to tyre bundle dramas at turn one.


2020 – Honours were equally shared between Holden and Ford, with wins going to Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin.

This event was held the weekend after it was announced that Holden would shut, while it also proved to be the last major event before the pandemic teed off in earnest. The Adelaide 500 was ultimately cancelled by Premier Steven Marshall in October.

2022 – Peter Malinauskas swept into power in SA, and true to his word, by the end of the season, the Valo Adelaide 500 was back.

SvG did a mega skid to celebrate his third championship win, while his teammate Broc Feeney won his first career race in sealing the final-ever victory for Holden in the marque’s last race, which happened to be on home soil for the brand.

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