30 March 2015 | General


A BUMPER weekend of motorsport and motoring activities on and off the track will ensure a high-octane Easter holiday for the Bathurst region this weekend at the Bathurst Motor Festival.On track, more than 350 cars will tackle the famous Mount Panorama circuit in a variety of racing categories and race formats, including short sprint races, two-driver mini enduros and even an ‘against-the-clock’ regularity challenge.The competitive side of the Bathurst Motor Festival will feature a stunning array of vehicles ranging from classic Muscle cars from the 1960s so some of the fastest GT vehicles see in the recent Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.Appropriately, given the year-long celebration of Bathurst’s bicentenary, the return of the Heritage Touring Cars category to Mount Panorama will return some of the most famous cars from the Bathurst 1000 to the circuit for the first time in years.Off the track, the 350 entrants will ensure the city is filled for the duration of the long weekend thanks to the large number of support staff, drivers, friends and family that join the fun each year.Event management estimates that approximately 2,000 people directly involved with the competing categories will attend the Event this year which, along with attending spectators, media and officials, will likely see Bathurst’s accommodation filled to capacity for the second time in just over two months.Meanwhile spectators will travel from far and wide to attend, some electing to camp at the circuit itself. Last year more than 10,000 attended the Bathurst Motor Festival across its three days, delivering significant economic benefits to the region in the process.Event Director James O’Brien said the annual Easter Event had created its own unique place in the Australian motorsport calendar.”It is certainly a unique Event and has created its own atmosphere over the last few years,” he said.”While it is primarily competitor-driven as an opportunity for those who might otherwise never get to compete on Mount Panorama, the Festival remains a great family-friendly weekend out with lots to do and see on and off track.”The diverse array of categories means there’s plenty to see on track and something for every kind of motorsport fan. It’s laid-back, relaxed and there’s great access for people to see parts of the circuit they might never get to access. It is also very affordable with entry via a donation to charity.”In the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and the Bathurst Motor Festival, Bathurst now has two very diverse and distinctive weekends of motorsport for fans to enjoy in the first half of the season.”EVENT NOTES: > OFFICIAL CHARITY Variety will be collecting at the main access gate to the circuit on each day of the 2015 Bathurst Motor Festival. Spectator access is via a ‘bank note’ donation to the official charity, with more than $35,000 having been raised across the last three years.Generous donations from race fans this year could see that mark come close to $50,000 as the organisation continues its remarkable efforts to care for the approximately 90,000 widows, 1,900 children and disabled dependents of those to have passed through service in the armed forces.> BATHURST MOTOR FESTIVAL partner, Bathurst Panthers, will on Saturday night host a special function for ‘Donate Life’, organised by the category management of the Saloon Car category that is competing this weekend. The Event will remember the lives of the late Ashley Cooper and Mark Porter, both well-known drivers tragically killed in racing accidents, who by being organ donors helped save the life of 12 people by allowing their organs to be used for people in need.The fun night will include lucky door prizes and raffles throughout with a large pool of prizes having been donated to the cause. All proceeds will benefit the Donate Life organisation to help raise awareness of organ donation.Tickets are available for $55 per person via Bathurst Panthers: (02) 6330 0600 or via their website.> THE RACE PROGRAM includes 15 races and four regularity trials for the Porsche Club of NSW. While the Saloon Cars, Heritage Touring Cars, Historic Group N Touring Cars and NSW Road Racing Club Combined Sedans field will tackle three sprint races each, the Production Sports and Production Touring Car categories will switch to endurance mode.Both categories will tackle two, one-hour races each with a vast majority of entrants electing to run with a co-driver.> THERE WILL BE some well-known motorsport names making the pilgrimage to compete this weekend. Bathurst legend Bob Holden, who is likely to be the oldest competitor on the Mountain (he’s in his 80s), will race a Toyota Corolla in the Heritage Touring Cars.Radical Australia Cup champion Neale Muston, Bathurst 12 Hour class winner and Carrera Cup ace Stephen Grove (who will race with his son, Brenton), Double 12-Hour winner Rod Salmon, Aaron Seton (The 16-year-old son of Glenn) and Formula Ford young gun Hamish Hardeman are amongst the high-quality entry list for the pair of one-hour Production Sports Car races this weekend.> A HUGE ARRAY of motoring and motorsport brands will be represented on the entry lists this weekend. 26 separate brands are listed across the seven categories, including: Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Datsun, Daytona, Dodge, Ferrari, Ginetta, Holden, Honda, HSV, Lamborghini, Lotus, Mazda, MINI, Mitsubishi, Mosler, Nissan, Porsche, Roaring Forties (GT40), Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Valliant and Volvo.Amongst that lot, there certainly should be something for everyone!