WE should have known after a record dry winter that the skies would open for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The race that never fails to surprise again delivered in spades.
The dry conditions that saw Scott McLaughlin smash the lap record with a scintillating drive during the Top 10 Shootout on Saturday afternoon were a distant within an hour of the race getting under way on Sunday morning.
The rain we’ve been waiting months to see finally started falling, turning Mount Panorama into a slip ‘n’ slide for much of the day and almost making the race result a lottery.
In the end, as always, the winner was decided in a frantic sprint to the line after a safety car on lap 154 with David Reynolds pulling away to record the first Bathurst victory for both himself and co-driver Luke Youlden, and the 32nd win on the Mount for Holden after Ford drivers had dominated the three days of qualifying.
It was a bittersweet result for Holden fans, coming just a fortnight before the Red Lion ceases production in Australia.
The race record was never in danger as the treacherous conditions pushed the 2017 Great Race past the seven hour mark but there was no shortage of compelling action.
And the moment that’s likely to create the most discussion in the days to come was the appearance of a kangaroo on Mountain straight midway through the afternoon.
After all the time and money put into the kangaroo relocation project over the past 12 months, that was exactly what Bathurst Regional Council and the Bathurst Kangaroo Project did not want to see.
The single roo’s appearance does not mean that money was wasted, nor that the relocation was not worth trying, but it does mean that it will not be long now until the calls for another kangaroo cull on the Mount start again.
And if the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of drivers during the Mount’s main races, then it will be very hard for council to resist a cull despite the negative feedback that will ultimately follow.
For now, though, let’s just enjoy the afterglow of another incredibly successful race.
Sunday’s rain would have turned away a few thousand spectators but the four-day total still topped 200,000 and more than 56,000 people braved the conditions to watch the race unfold.
The Great Race keeps getting greater.