I have fond memories of watching the Bathurst 1000.
As a boy I envied the drivers’ courage and commitment.
I held Peter Brock and Dick Johnson in as high regard as my other sporting heroes such as Michael Jordan and Mal Meninga.
These drivers were household names and rightly so.
They entertained us with their racing prowess and were treated like superstars.
Things seem a bit different now which begs the question, does the race have the same relevance today?
I asked my 12-year-old nephew who his favorite race car driver was and he couldn’t tell me.
He looked up at me as if I should have known he would not know anything about racing.
To be honest, I was not surprised.
But in saying that, how could a boy of his age not be transfixed by the beast that is Bathurst.
The 621 mile race was once entrenched in the fabric of Australia.
It would be hard to imagine it not being broadcast to just about every lounge room in Australia.
But the aura exuded by these drivers 20 or 30 years ago just isn’t there today.
How can that be so?
The cars of today are faster and the drivers are surely just as skilled as their predecessors of yester year, but for some reason these men don’t occupy the same place in our minds.
My nephew reckons he would rather watch UFC.
He could tell you every winner of the past 10 bouts and reel off stats and gossip of every fighter with ease.
Ask him who Craig Lowndes is and he shrugs his shoulders.
I will be watching the famous race in October and I will try and get my little nephew to sit with me when I do just like my father did with me.
Maybe then we will both be drawn in to a sporting marvel that was once on par with the NRL and AFL grand finals.
I hope so, because there is something special about honoring 56 years of racing in which Australian icons were immortalised.
And if a driver conjures some brilliance that entrenches a new memory of awe in to our psyches, then maybe we will call him, king of the mountain.