Legends of Bathurst return to Hampton Downs
Dick Johnson and the Stone Brothers will headline the 2019 edition of Hampton Downs’ Legends of Bathurst event, taking place over the weekend of January 12th and 13th.
John Bowe, Jim Richards, Steve Richards and Paul Radisich are also confirmed for the event, which will celebrate all things Bathurst.
It promises to be a special homecoming for Ross and Jimmy Stone, who grew up building go-karts in nearby Onewhero before moving to Australia and establishing one of the most successful teams in V8 Supercars.
“Some friends of mine, including Jim Richards, came over to Hampton Downs for the first Legends of Bathurst event earlier this year and they talked about what a good event it was,” says Ross Stone. “People around the world have an interest in Bathurst because it’s such a great track and has produced so many classic races over the years. It’s a great excuse to get home to New Zealand and catch up with all my old friends from the sport before I moved across to Australia.”
Stone Brothers Racing won three Supercars championships in a row, in 2003 and 2004 with Marcos Ambrose and the 2005 championship with Russell Ingall. But some of their greatest triumphs have been at Bathurst.
“I first went to Bathurst in the early 1970’s,” recalls Ross Stone. “I was an apprentice mechanic and I didn’t have a lot of money but the guy I was working for shouted me a trip. Jim Richards and Rod Coppins finished third that year and I remember promising myself I’d get back there someday because there was something magical about the place. To go back and win the race as team manager for Dick Johnson in 1994 and win it with our own team in 1998 was very, very special.”
Ross was Johnson’s team manager in 1994 while his brother Jimmy was an engineer. The brothers went on to form their own team, Stone Brothers Racing in 1998 and won the Bathurst 1000 in their debut season in a Ford EL Falcon driven by Jason Bright and Steve Richards.
The Legends of Bathurst festival will celebrate Johnson & Bowe’s wins in the Bathurst 1000 in 1989 in a Sierra Cosworth and 1994 in a Ford EB Falcon. A recently restored Sierra Cosworth in the 1989 livery will race in the Historic Touring Cars category at Hampton Downs.
Another highlight of the LOB festival will be Jim Richards driving the Peter Sturgeon-owned, ex-Frank Gardner Group C BMW 635i in the iconic black and yellow John Player Special livery. The BMW 635 is a well travelled car and proved hugely popular at the Silverstone Classic in the UK last year where it won the Stuart Graham ‘Scarf and Goggles’, the award for the most admired car at the Classic.
John Bowe, a two-time winner of the Bathurst 1000, is hoping to be reunited with the #44 Volvo 240 GT car he raced around Mt Panorama in 1986. Car #44 is owned by New Zealander Mark Petch, who ran it as part of the Mark Petch Motorsport team in the mid-1980s.
Paul Radisich will compete in the Historic Touring Cars category in the Ford Mondeo he drove to victory in the 1993 & ‘94 Touring Car World Cup at Monza and Donington respectively.
The two feature categories, the Historic Touring Car (NZ) Association and ENZED Central Muscle Cars promise to deliver some outstanding racing on the track.
The Historic Touring Car category was set up in 2015 to promote the purchase and active use of touring cars from the various categories which were run through the 1980s and 1990s. Fans can expect to see a broad range of Super Tourer models in a 23-strong field, from the popular E30 and E36 BMW 3-series models to the later model Honda Accords, Nissan Primeras and Volvo S40s.
The ENZED Central Muscle Cars (CMC) is one of the most popular race categories in New Zealand. CMC was formed in 2003, by a group of like-minded enthusiasts from around the Central North Island (hence the name) who wanted to create a class catering to classic competition muscle cars. The category grew quickly, as many other competitors who shared the same passion for thundering, powersliding Australian and American muscle cars came on board and the fan base grew rapidly.
Other support categories include the Pre 65s, Formula Libre, Formula Ford and a Bathurst all comers class. The Legends of Bathurst will do autograph signing sessions over the course of the weekend while there will a unique show n shine. The Legends on Stage dinner on Saturday evening at Hampton Downs Pavilion promises to be another highlight of the weekend.