Mt Panorama on two wheels
THE dominant feature overlooking the town of Bathurst is Mount Panorama, readily identified by the name in large white letters, and known to just about everybody in the country as the home of the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar race held each October.
It seems to act as a magnet for even people completely uninterested, wouldn't know a V8 if it fell on them types, who want to drive around or at least see the race circuit.
Over the years we have spoken to people who have driven their Coaster bus, their Landcruiser and caravan or just an ordinary sedan round the circuit. Merely being there creates a 'buzz' so that you image the crowds and the noise of the cars.
On any given non-racing day there can be up to 100 cars driving around or parked as people take in the atmosphere or the great views from the top.
Rather than drive around, I decided to ride my bike. There are a couple of warnings given to those driving around the circuit.
Firstly there is a strictly enforced 60km speed limit for obvious reasons and secondly a warning that the circuit is a public two-way road.
Most people drive round anti clockwise, the direction of the race, so that was the direction for the ride.
The long straight was a bit of a drag and some of the sharp steep angled corners on the way up were awkward but the real excitement was the descent.
I hesitate to use the much overused and abused word 'awesome' but have to convey the adrenalin rush coming down.
A small level section at the top requires pedalling but that soon gives way to the descent, with the first drop similar to going down in a fast lift.
I did not have the speedometer on the bike but I was catching up with vehicles going at the speed limit and if there had been radar traps I would have registered as a blur.
It was a few minutes of sheer exhilaration during which I was pretty sure I did not breathe.
The road surface at Mt Panorama was in near perfect condition so that small pot holes, ruts etc that could easily throw you off a bike were not present.
The road is more than two lanes wide and gives room to go round corners without slowing down.
When the bitumen surface, laid for maximum adhesion, needs repair it's almost a surgical procedure to keep a bump-free surface.