Mount Panorama

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After a mid morning departure from Sydney, battling through traffic congestion in parts of the Blue Mountains where road works were underway to widen the road to 4 lanes all the way, it wasn't until about 1:30PM that Bathurst was reached, and thus a good place to stop for lunch - an apple and some water! Nothing but the best on this trip!

And, in Bathurst, the best place to have such a feast is on Mount Panorama, to the south of the city. There's a loop road to the top of the mountain. Most of the year. But several times each year it is closed, and turned into a motor racing circuit. Originally both motorcycles and cars raced, but the circuit has been deemed to dangerous for bikes, as there are no runoff areas, and any mistake could easily prove fatal. The major attraction is the Bathurst 1000, staged in October. The 1000 designates the distance - 1000 km, requiring 161 laps.

The circuit has an elevation change of 174 metres (over 500 feet!), and thus provides scenic views at the top, though not for the racers. Although in some parts of the circuit on the downhill section, that is ALL that you can see as the road disappears downhill around a bend! There's a 2m 15s video from a race car covering most of the circuit at the Bathurst website.

The Top

View over city and plains to distant hills View from Mt. Panorama, looking over part of the city of Bathurst to the distant countryside

View of plains east of Bathurst to distant hills The plains east of Bathurst. The long drought affecting much of eastern Australia is visible in the brown colour of the fields.

Holden sign over race track A sign for the racing crowd (Holden is part of GM). You can also see that the road is starting to dip down quite steeply, and also turning to the right. Driving on a wing and a prayer - even at the 60 km/h speed limit!

Mazda parked off side of race track My car on the race track! Well, sort off. The area in the background is 'McPhillamy Park'; it becomes a camping area during racing events. It sounded like there was some sort of kids motorcycle racing off to the right while I was munching and photographing.

Cement barrier, wire fence around stand with a roof for shade This structure was across the track from where my car was parked. I don't know whether it's for a TV camera or flag marshall. Either way, there's some effort to protect whatever is inside it. And a sunshade too - it can be very hot in October, and that race runs for nearly 6 hours!

Pit Lane

Mazda 3 parked just before the pits on race track The start/finish line is at the bottom of the track, as seen here. I presumed that pit lane was closed off, so didn't try to go there. Just off to the right are the grid lines for the cars.

Modern buildings with viewing platforms for pit crews Oh how this has changed in the more than 20 years since I was last here. Then, pit lane was just a bunch of (perhaps wooden) single story garages. Now there is this ultramodern structure! Ah, the power of (TV) money.

View back to mountain top Looking back to the mountain. The photos in the first section were taken about the middle of the image - around the darker trees with the cloud behind them. The buildings in the foreground are where the real work of prepping cars takes place.

Modern building near edge of track I have no idea what that building is. I believe there is a university in the area, so it may be part of that. It looked unoccupied, so I am guessing it is not a place for rich race fans to stay during races.

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