Local lifts Bathurst trophy

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Pulling into a Sydney airport car park last week Nelson’s Bruce Monro thought his weekend’s Bathurst motor racing adventure was over. But then he noticed the bloke in the car next to him looked rather like the race car champion that had won the Great Race less than 24 hours earlier.

“I got as close as I could during the prize giving ceremony at Bathurst,” says Bruce. “I never thought a few hours later I’d be shaking his hand and holding the damn thing. It was just magic. The whole weekend was magic.”

Bruce, who works at McNaughton’s Furniture, and his wife Sandra attended the 30th Bathurst 1000 in 1992 and he says he’d spoken for years about going back for the 50th edition of the V8 Supercar race, dubbed the Great Race. He says there was a pretty big difference between this year and last time he went.

“They are so much faster, so much nosier, a much larger crowd. But the atmosphere is still the same and the rivalry is still the same.”

Bruce – who once owned a rally car and has helped with local races for years – wasn’t cheering for either Holden or Ford, he was hoping the Kiwi drivers would do well, no matter what car they drove. Unfortunately the Kiwi drivers failed to fire and Australian’s Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell won the race.

The Monros left Bathurst early the day after the race to avoid the crowds and made their way to the wrong airport terminal, which Bruce blames on Sandra’s map reading. As he entered the car park of the domestic terminal Bruce says he had a red Holden “right up my chuff”. He pulled over and was told he couldn’t park there and to follow the red Holden. He did and parked next to it, when out hopped a group of men all wearing Holden and Vodafone printed shirts, one of them being Jamie Whincup.

“They opened up their boot and out comes the trophy and all their bags. I couldn’t believe it, I said congratulations and asked for a photo. He shook my hand said thanks very much and handed me the trophy to hold while he got his bag out of the boot. I mean this is the Peter Brock Memorial Trophy, it was just staggering to see it up that close.

“I’ll never say ‘Sandra you’re a useless map reader’ ever again,” he jokes.

The excitement didn’t end there though, as they were boarding their plane the all-conquering All Blacks hopped on and the passengers cheered them for their South African win last Sunday morning.

Not that Bruce really cared too much about that. “I didn’t even know if they won or not so I didn’t really worry about the All Blacks, I was still buzzing from meeting Jamie.”