DYLAN Gulson fulfilled a longstanding dream on Saturday when he stood on top of the podium at his home track of Mount Panorama.
Gulson finished at the head of the pack in the second Toyota 86 Series race of the weekend, which saw him go one spot better than he did in the opening race.
The Bathurst driver got off to a superb start in race two, getting around the outside of race one winner Jimmy Vernon at Hell Corner and making the move stick.
Gulson was threatened to run away before a safety car brought the field back together, but he was still able to hold a determined Vernon at bay.
Gulson then narrowly missed out on a podium clean sweep for the weekend when he finished fourth in an action packed race on Sunday morning.
A race victory was always in Gulson’s sights considering he picked up a runner-up finish during last season’s Mount Panorama round.
He was ecstatic to go one spot better in 2017.
“We shook the monkey off the back with that win. That’s been the goal all year. I wanted to pick up a win and prove that we could do it. To do it at home, at the biggest race of the year, is a dream come true,” Gulson said.
“I can add ‘Bathurst winner’ to the CV now. We proved that a small team, doing the best they can, can achieve this.
“It was a ripper start. As soon as I hooked out of turn one, and there was clear vision in front of me at Mountain Straight, I knew that we had a good chance.
“Everything aligned for us from then on. Unfortunately the safety car came out but it gave us a good chance to consolidate the lead, have a think about our strengths and weaknesses at different parts of the track, and it turned out really, really good for us.”
Sunday morning’s third and final race of the weekend was one which put hearts in the mouths of Gulson’s Close-Line/Smart WFM Racing garage.
Gulson couldn’t emulate his quick start from race two as he slipped back to fifth by the time the field reached The Cutting.
Coming through The Chase for the first time Gulson, Jack Milligan and Liam McAdam were in close quarters.
Milligan looked for a way through the middle of the other two races, but the gap wasn’t there. Milligan contacted McAdam, who in turn bumped Gulson.
The incident saw all three cars run off the track.
Luckily for Gulson he was able to rejoin the race only one spot down from when he left the road.
Gulson got back up to fifth before the safety car was forced to make an appearance on lap three.
Unfortunately for Gulson the race stayed under yellow flag conditions for all but one last loop of the six-lap event.
The home city driver wasn’t ready to give up on a podium spot, fighting hard to get himself up to fourth place in the dying stages.
“It’s mixed feelings. It was very intense. I’m a bit dirty with my start. I just didn’t do a good enough job off the line, and I was third running up the hill,” Gulson said.
“I was out of position coming into the chase and then I got unloaded by Milligan at The Chase. I still don’t know how we recovered.
“At that point I thought the race was over, so to recover and end up fourth is not too bad.
“That was definitely one of the most intense races I’ve had, and even race one on Saturday morning was intense too.
“Everyone always wants to do well at Bathurst so every lap of racing we’ve had this weekend has been immensely close.
“What we’ve shown this weekend is that we’ve got the pace to run right at the front and this is massive for our championship.”
Gulson now gears up for the final round at Newcastle.