Supercars’ best of the best lined Bathurst’s Kings Parade on Wednesday to sign hundreds of autographs for motor sport fans who had travelled from far and wide for the Great Race.
For some fans, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with their motor sport idols following the drivers and transporters street parade along William Street.
A commemorative plaque to honour 2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winners Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards was unveiled during the signing session.
David Reynolds of Erebus Motorsport, who finished first in the Top Ten Shootout in 2015 but missed out on a podium finish on the Sunday, is hopeful of a better showing this year.
“You’ve got to come here [Bathurst] with the aim to win, but generally poles are cursed out here where you don’t win off them,” Reynolds said.
“Because it’s such a long race and so many different variables and aspects to it, it doesn’t matter how fast you go one lap. You’ve got to be there at the end of the race.
“It’s a massive race, the coolest one of the year.”
Prodrive Racing’s Mark Winterbottom won last year’s Supercars championship but failed to win Bathurst, finishing second after leading by more than 20 seconds with 60 laps remaining.
“You always want to win up here, regardless of where you are in the points, but last year felt like a win,” Winterbottom said.
“A win is the ultimate goal but if you have a bad day and salvage a podium sometimes that feels like a win.”
The track at Mount Panorama is considered the toughest track in Australian motor sport by drivers, making it all the more important.
“It’s just tough, anything can happen around the track,” Winterbottom said.
“It is never over ‘til the final lap so that is what makes Bathurst so interesting and tough.”
Chaz Mostert of Rod Nash Racing broke his leg and wrist in qualifying at Mount Panorama last year but said he wasn’t unlucky. Rather, he made a crucial mistake.
Mostert was full of praise for the travelling fans that flock to Bathurst each year, and also the locals.
“Some people are lucky enough to live at Bathurst and drive past the Mountain every day,” Mostert said.
“Everyone is so passionate about their motor sport here and they’ve got an awesome place to live.”