CARS among the record 64-strong Bathurst 6 Hour grid underwent their share of both thrilling and horror moments in an exciting start to Sunday’s endurance event.
One of the biggest casualties in that time was the pole-sitting BMW M4 of Grant and Iain Sherrin.
The Sherrin Rentals entry was stuck in pit lane for over eight minutes towards the end of the opening hour, losing three laps.
It had been a superb start for Grant Sherrin who set a new Mount Panorama production car lap record of two minutes and 26.232 seconds the lap before he ventured to pit lane.
They were able to get themselves back into the race but Aaron McGill was no so lucky in his Mitsubishi Evo VIII.
McGill was couldn’t progress beyond the opening lap as he brought his car straight back into pit lane, the Mitsubushi unable to recover from damage sustained in a Friday incident.
It was only two laps later that the first safety car made its way onto Mount Panorama when Tony Virag lost control of his Holden VF coming into Murrays Corner while trying to make his way away Jason Gomersall’s Ford FGII entry, and the pair made contact.
Virag was able to make his way back into the race just after the opening 60 minutes had unfolded but Gomersall, who had started 10th on the grid, couldn’t do the same.
Clean racing was hard to come by in the opening hour. Just one lap after the restart the yellow flags were waving once again when a car had come to a stop in a dangerous position on Forrests Elbow.
The car was the #5 of Carey McMahon BMW M3, which had hit the wall out of the Elbow. It never rejoined the race.
One of the highly touted overall contenders, Dylan Thomas, suffered a torrid opening hour. He first went under the two minutes and 30-second minimum pit stop time and he was then penalised for an infringement under safety car conditions.
His later engine failure at the Cutting would cap off a forgettable Easter Sunday.
Luke Anderson took a heavy hit into the wall on the entry to McPhillamy Park and could consider himself lucky that he was able to limp the #88 entry back down to pit lane.
After 45 minutes in the garage the Ford Falcon rejoined the race.
However, the opening hour of racing wasn’t all just about terrible times for drivers. There were plenty of contenders making a statement as they shot up the order.
No-one did this any better than Karl Reindler in his CXC Global Evo X as he flew from 59th on the starting grid up to fourth within the space of an hour.
By the time Reindler handed the car over to Andrew Richmond he had moved into second.
Last year’s inaugural Bathurst 6 Hour champion Chaz Mostert might have switched cars, from BMW to Ford, but it didn’t stop him producing his share of dominant driving.
Mostert jumped from 16th to eighth just within the opening lap. Before an early first pit stop the Supercars driver had brought the Focus up to fourth.
Garth Walden (ninth to third) and David Wall (seventh to fifth) were some of the other drivers making a mark early in the race.
Nik Hough was the best of the Bathurst drivers in that time, in 24th.
Hough had put in a consistent performance to jump up one spot from where he started in the B.A.R Constructions Subuaru Impreza.