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Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:00

Mike Raymond: Where it all began on the box…

204mikeraymond

Television coverage of Australian touring cars has come a long way over the decades. And it was thanks to pioneers like Mike Raymond who led the way for the revolutionary telecasts.

V8X Supercar Magazine issue #90 presents the history of the television coverage of our sport, from the early days to today, as told by Raymond.

Issue #90 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at http://DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #90.

There's only one voice of motorsport if you were an Australian motorsport fan who lived through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s... and it's Mike Raymond.

When he wasn't calling many of that era's most significant races for Channel Seven, he would be issuing a simple, booming ultimatum in the lead-up advertising, a figurative glove-slap to the face – BE THERE! – challenging you to stop being a lazy sod and get behind the sport.

And Raymond was much more than just the voice of Channel Seven's motorsport telecasts. He was the architect of Bathurst's Hardies Heroes Shootout, guardian angel to the downtrodden Dick Johnson and a significant driver of the change from Group A to the V8 era.

Even now, this go-getter remains busy in the marketing, commercials, advertising and other media fields. Old habits die hard...

The 1970s is when TV viewers really got to know Raymond, but his association with ATN7 Sydney dates back to well before its touring cars association. Quite appropriately given his grand-scale influence on the medium, he was involved in one of the network's first – if not, the first – motorsport broadcast in 1959.

"Strangely enough, Seven had shown some interest in speedway," he says.

"I think it was the first motorsport broadcast that Seven did. It was a meeting at Westmead Speedway. It was a two-hour show that was live and they were quite impressed by that.

"They then got into regular speedway coverage from 1965, which for me led to Bathurst in 1973 and it went on from there."

The 'it' Raymond is referring to is somewhat more than such a humble word suggests. Because by the time his association with Australian touring cars had ended in 1997, the televising of the sport had gone through a massive transformation, often thanks to Seven's world-beating innovations.

He shares his thoughts about one of Australian motorsport's most fondly remembered eras in issue #90.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #90.