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Top 8 reasons to get excited about the Bathurst 1000

The Bathurst 1000 is this weekend. And here some reasons to get excited about it.

If there's one thing to help bridge the painful gap between footy and cricket, it's the Bathurst 1000 — as much a spring thing as hay fever and makes fans twice as itchy.

Here are eight reasons to get excited.

1. This will be the 58th running of the event, which has had various names and rule tweakages since 1960 and was held on the Phillip Island track the first few times. It was then over 500 miles, and drivers had to do the first 100 without stopping for fuel, oil, driver change, a wee or a drink of tea from a lovely tartan Thermos. The event moved on because it ended up wrecking the track, which in those days was a cold-mix bitumen and broke up under the tyres of dozens of cars going as flat-chat as Cold War era technology would allow.

2. More than nine years since he died while racing, Peter Brock's presence still looms large over the event and the Mt Panorama track itself. His name is on the winner's trophy, he has a memorial statue at the city's National Motor Racing Museum, and Skyline — a short straight which begins the downhill trip back to the pits — is now Brock's Skyline. After all, he did win the thing nine times, firstly in 1972 after a 1969 debut. He was due to star in a film called King Of The Mountain in 2007 but was killed when his car hit a tree in a race in Western Australia.

3. One thousand kilometres will take you from Newcastle's city centre to Melbourne's outskirts, Seattle to San Francisco, London to Nice ... or around the 6.213km Bathurst track 161 times. The race was over 500 miles (you wouldn't want to walk it) until 1973, when the 1000km target was set.

4. Forrest's Elbow is just one part of the track with a story behind the name. Jack Forrest was a motorcycle race who scraped his elbow away after laying down his bike at that spot. Conrod Straight is named for a bloke whose connecting rod (essential part of any engine) failed in a 1939 Easter race. Hell Corner, the first turn out of Pit Straight, is not named for the many bingles that occur here but for a tree stump that was once a feature; it was said motorbike riders who took risks and hit the stump would die and go to the hot place. Fatalist much?

5. Some say the old Ford-Holden rivalry is dying along with those brands' Australian manufacturing base, but Bathurst fans will always fan the embers. Holden's Red Lion has owned top place on the podium 29 times (22 wins to Commodores), with Ford second with 18 wins (33%). Minor makers have popped up to grab one win each, with Nissan taking two with Skyline entries.

6. The 2014 race became a sensation when drivers were caught off-guard by bits of track debris near Griffin's Bend and started hitting the tyre wall there, resulting in officials red-flagging the whole field (the flag had been used only twice before). Quick track repairs allowed continuation but only after some teams flaunted regulation with a few cheeky tinkerings to their cars during the break. On the final lap, the lead car of Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell ran low on fuel, allowing Ford team Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris to grab victory. The winners had started from last position after exclusion from qualifying.

7. Yes, there are lots of prangs and some are serious. Five of the six racing deaths on the circuit have occurred on Conrod Straight, where the 300kmh barrier has been broken by modern cars in recent years. Until 1987, it was a gun-barrel straight passage with a dangerous late crest over which drivers would often get airborne. This was a factor in the fatal accident of Mike Burgmann, who died in the 1986 race. The next year, a big kink called The Chase was created the straight for safety reasons and dedicated to Burgmann.

8. Hot, cold or flyblown, things can get Ba-THURSTY up there. Sick and tired of boozy hoonery, killjoy law enforcement authorities decided to cap how much grog race socialites could bring into the camping ground in 2006. The new limit — ONE slab PER person PER day. That's 24 cans ... just the ONE can per hour if you don't plan to sleep. Yep, that'll do it — no more hoozy boonery (you know what we mean) around these parts. Barely enough to touch the sides ...