It’s Bathurst so Allen will be glued to the box

ANYONE who knows me just a little bit will know that I'm a bit of a petrolhead.

In fact, it could be said that I'm a dyed in the wool (or is that steel?) petrolhead.

And so this weekend coming's a big one for me.

It's Bathurst weekend and that means the TV is tuned to Channel 7 and for a fair bit of Sunday I'll be not very far from it, checking up every now and then on how my favourite Fords are going, up against those other cars, and the Nissans and Mercedes.

It's one race meeting that I've always wanted to actually get to and see, smell and experience the atmosphere while 20-odd cars and their drivers try their darndest to do that 1000km faster than anyone else.

One of the blokes who I've watched for many, many years has been one of the true blue motor racers of old, Dick Johnson.

I picked up a copy of his recent autobiography and read it front to back, all the while being amazed at how this true Aussie battler had struggled through thick and thin to keep his racing team together, through all sorts of dilemmas - many of which would have lesser folk walking away in disgust and just giving up.

But that's not the way of Dick Johnson.

He's the sort of bloke who will never let the b***ards get him down, and each time they push him over, he dusts himself up and starts all over again (feel a bit of a song coming on there).

I remember some of those occasions - probably the most memorable was when in his bright green Falcon clipped the wall during qualifying for the big race, just coming off the top of the mountain and careered off into the bush, finally coming to rest against a tree that was stronger than the big Ford.

I recall the next day - it was in the early days when car radios had not long been introduced. Can't recall whether cameras were used at that stage, but Dick's crew had built him another car overnight - taking all the good bits of the wreck and dropping them into a new body.

There wasn't time nor opportunity for testing, so it was on the starting grid in a car that was an unknown thing.

When asked how it was going during the race he quipped something like: "Well, it's handling like a dog, but we're still going strong".

I think the car broke before the end of the race but it was still an amazing effort on his part, and that of his ever-faithful team.

Can't wait for the weekend. Wouldn't it be good to see one of Dick's cars take out the big one - they're capable of doing it.