Truckies' precious cargo


WHEN the first teams and individual racers arrived at Bathurst for the inaugural Bathurst race in 1963, their race cars were unloaded off a single-axle trailer, the back of a flat bed truck or, in one or two instances, driven to Mount Panorama.

What spares and tyres they needed were stowed around, under or inside the race car, or in the boot of the tow vehicle or a mate’s car.

Not so today.

They arrive in the latest B-double transporters which are decked out in the team livery and looking as shiny and as well cared for as the precious cargo they carry.

How times have changed.

Much has been written elsewhere about this weekend’s 50th year of the 1000 — the drivers, their odds on winning, the state of the track, the hype leading up to the start of the race, possible team strategies etc.

Despite the hordes of people who will support the 58 drivers, such as team managers, pit crew, caterers etc, getting the V8 Supercar Championship circus to Mount Panorama is left to just a few — the experienced transporter drivers.

During the season they drive from their respective bases to all corners of the country, delivering race cars and parts on time, every time, and once the round has concluded, they load up and do the return journey.

Albury-based Brad Jones Racing’s support rigs are two B-doubles that are driven to each circuit by Paul Eddy (Team BOC/Lockwood Racing) and Simon Odewahn (Wilson Security Racing).

The Team BOC trailer is pulled by a Caterpillar CT630 and the Wilson Security trailer is pulled by a Caterpillar CT610. The total cost of the two rigs is upwards of $750,000. Fully loaded, the BJR roadshow is worth $3 million.

Once at the circuit, Eddy and Odewahn have more to do than just dust off their rigs, put their feet up and wait until Sunday to drive them home.

Both drivers manage tyre allocations, Eddy doing the tyres on Fabian Coulthard’s Lockwood Racing car, while Odewahn does the tyres on the Wilson Security Racing car.

The tyre role is an important one as it involves getting the team’s tyre allocation fitted to the rims at the start of each round and then managing the tyre bank over the weekend.

Setting the tyres up in the morning, recording pressures in the sessions and cleaning wheels and measuring wear at the end of each day’s sessions keeps them busy.

Both drivers are also part of the pit stop crews. Eddy is the “spike man” for Team BOC/Lockwood Racing and Odewahn is the refueller on the Wilson Security Racing car.

BJR spokesman Graham Sattler said the cost of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 was upwards of $250,000.

“That’s providing the cars aren’t damaged,” Sattler said.

When fully laden the Team BOC/Lockwood Racing transporter weighs 58 tonnes.

The Wilson Security Racing Transporter often carries Andrew Jones’ team.