WHEN it comes to luxury on top of the mount, Camp Haveachat leaves everything else for dead.
Home to the Lee family from Culcairn over race week, it boasts its own hot water, in-house barbecue and TV.
Site manager Malcolm Lee said the family had been camping at the mount for 32 years, and said nothing would stop them from coming to the mount.
“One year we had to go back home for a wedding on Saturday,” he said. “We drove to Bathurst, set up the camp, left Saturday morning to drive back home, got to the wedding and drove back to camp Saturday night.
“We got back at 2am,” Mr Lee laughed.
And while Mr Lee has relatives living in Bathurst, he said he would never consider not camping up top.
“It’s definitely not the same unless you’re on top of the Mount,” he said.
Apart from seeing all the action firsthand, Mr Lee said the week provided the opportunity to catch up with old friends.
“We know all our [camping] neighbours. We make it an annual event and all catch up with each other,” he said,
“There’s nothing like camping ... the people you meet up here and the friendships you make, it’s great,” he said.
Mr Lee is also full of praise for the family event the race has become.
“The changes they’ve made up the top of the mount are fantastic,” he said. “It has made a massive difference ... this year is the most family orientated it’s ever been.
“You don’t get the yahoos carrying on like you used to.
“Years ago I wouldn’t have brought the grandkids up here because of ferals, but now there are no problems at all.”
A motor mechanic by trade, Mr Lee said he had always loved cars, and had never swayed from his allegiance to Ford.
Fellow camper Dave Purtell, who has been at the Great Race 25 times, said camping on the mount was the best part of the race.
“It’s like the barbecue of 1000 mates,” he said.