HAD A great time in Adelaide early this month competing in the Touring Car Masters at the Clipsal 500 meeting.
Obviously it helps that I came away with a couple of nice wins that put me on top of the points table after some great racing. But there’s always something special about the Clipsal for me.
I rate it the best meeting of the year after Bathurst.
It has so much going for it – the spectacle, the atmosphere, and forgive me, the vibe.
The Torana was good after a full freshen up over summer, but Steve Johnson’s unfortunate issues with the Mustang made it easier for me.
Under this year’s rules his Mustang is almost certainly the fastest car in the class. So there’s no doubt we’ve got some tough battles ahead of us in this year’s TCM series.
Wish me luck.
I was lucky not to be caught up in the carnage early in the third race, the Trophy Race. I’m sorry for the guys who were.
These street circuits are so unforgiving. And what a pity that Jim Richards’ Javelin was one that got pretty badly damaged.
And what can you say about Shane Van Gisbergen’s performance over the weekend?
He is at the top of his game. He's the thorough professional, brimming with confidence (that’s well justified) and he's producing the results.
Seeing the two DJR Team Penske Falcons flying in formation on the track in familiar Shell livery was special for me. I’m impressed with the team’s set up and its drivers. Hiring brilliant engineer Ludo Lacroix was a master stroke. His success with the Triple Eight team says it all.
Obviously it’s partly a sentimental thing that I feel for the DJR Team Penske Falcons. Dick Johnson and I go way back, obviously. So much of my racing career has the DJR fingerprints on it. It got me thinking about the efforts of Dick Johnson and myself in the touring car races at the last two Formula 1 meetings held in Adelaide in 1994 and ’95.
I managed to win both races at both of those meetings in the flying DJR Shell FAI Falcons.
While the support race wins at the F1 GP in 1994 and 1995 were personally satisfying, it was the outright win in the big one at Bathurst in the EB Falcon that Dick and I shared in 1994, that really mattered. It was a proper milestone at an important time for me, that was followed up with my success in the 1995 championship.
The Shell livery on the DJR Team Penske Falcons at the Clipsal event brought back the memories of those early events.
And they’re very pleasant memories.
IF EVER I doubted the power of social media, there's no way I could now, following the response I got over the Clipsal weekend.
It so happens that Gary O'Brien, the genius who built and fettles my giant-killing Torana, has an XC Falcon coupe body lying around among the various interesting bits and pieces in a dark corner of his workshop.
It seemed like a good idea at the time for me to float the concept of Gary using the body as the basis for building an XC Cobra tribute car.
Well, the response was massive. There is so much enthusiasm for the idea out there. It's easier said than done, though. It would be an expensive, 18-month build.
Watch this space...