© Kieran Roberts Art
Emotional Day
The Nissan Skyline 'Godzilla' of Mark Skaife & Jim Richards leads the Ford Sierra of Dick Johnson & John Bowe during the early laps of the 1992 Bathurst 1000. The media had dubbed the Skyline Godzilla because it was "Japanese, ugly, and conquered everything in it's path". 1992 was the final year for Group A, before Australia moved to the new 5 litre V8 platform that would become known as V8 Supercars, and the Ford / Holden crowd were pleased to see the demise of the turbocharged, four wheel drive Nissan's. The Nissan teams however, wanted a parting shot in the way of victory on the mountain, and the Winfield team had the pace to deliver. After playing second fiddle to the Shell Sierra for the first laps, Skaife made the pass and drove away from the field much to the disdain of the boorish crowd. As the rain started falling the Skyline's four wheel drive came into it's own, dominating the race. A huge downpour towards the end of the race resulted in carnage, as cars lost control and crashed, blocking parts of the track. Richards, now behind the wheel of the #1 car, not immune to the conditions, clipping a wall and knocking a wheel. He ended up in a pile of stricken cars and the race was stopped. Confusion reigned as many people assumed Johnson in the Sierra took the win as he passed the stationary Nissan when the red flag came out. However with the result taken at the last completed lap, the Skyline was the victor. On the podium the crowd booed and jeered, and Richards, upset at not being able to be heard to thank crew and sponsors, and upset at the death of friend and compatriot Denny Hulme earlier in the race, spoke his mind - "I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing, but I'll tell you what, this is going to remain with me for a long time - you're a pack of arseholes."