The price is right for Johnson’s fuel fans

MOTORISTS queued along three Bathurst streets on Wednesday morning to meet a motor racing legend and buy fuel at prices not seen since the 1970s.

Dick Johnson celebrated a 50-year association with Shell by returning to his roots as a service station attendant and pumping fuel for just 17 cents a litre.

The 17 referred to Johnson’s famous race car number when he raced around Mount Panorama in the 1970s and 1980s.

The line to get into the Coles Express Shell outlet on Stewart Street snaked back along Rocket, Rankin and Brilliant streets as motorists queued to fill up.

“It’s back to the future for me, this is how I used to make a living many years ago at the Shell service station in Woolloongabba, Brisbane,” Johnson said.

“The price of petrol was controlled back then so there were no price wars.

“This is a case of giving the younger generation an idea of how things have inflated over the past 50 years.”

Johnson spoke about the special lure of Mount Panorama for all drivers and recalled one of the Bathurst 1000’s most infamous incidents when he crashed out of the 1980 race after hitting a rock at the top of the Mount.

Already struggling to stay afloat financially, Johnson thought the crash was the end of his racing career until donations began flooding in from the Australian public.

“It’s a funny thing about the rock – at the time I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me but it ended up being the best thing,” he said.

“Coming back the next year after the rock and winning Bathurst was very special but this Mount always throws a lot of good stuff and bad stuff at you.

“We’ve seen that over the years.”