WE GET A SNEAK PEEK AT THE HECTIC LIFE OF ONE OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL RACE DRIVERS
THE SUCCESS of DJR Team Penske at the Symmons Plains Supercars round was a real heart warmer for me. Congratulations to all concerned for achieving the magic 1–2 results for the two flying Shell Falcons.
It links up neatly with another standout round for the Shell Falcons at Symmons Plains, way back in 1995.
We always started the year with a tyre testing session. It went well in 1995 with our new Dunlops performing beautifully. Then the Dunlop factory at Kobe was destroyed in a massive earthquake.
The effort Dunlop put in to somehow produce supplies of tyres for the 1995 season was amazing. They dug the tyre moulds out of the rubble at Kobe and sent them to Dunlop in the UK. The Brit Dunlop people worked with exactly the same ‘recipes’ for the compounds as the Japanese had used, but with rubber moulding being a bit of a black art (excuse the pun), the compounds came out different. Anyway they put in a huge effort and stuck at it and managed to get supplies of tyres flowing.
At Symmons Plains the car was right and the tyres were right and I took out the round in style. It was such a relief for me personally. As a Tasmanian, Symmons Plains was my home track. My motor racing ‘baby steps’ (from age 12) and then early successes in the sport were all connected with the circuit. Despite that connection, once my career took off properly, success for me at Symmons Plains became very hard to come by.
So the big win in the DJR Shell Falcon in ’95 was very special, a real drought breaker for me personally.
This year’s Bathurst 6 Hour meeting at Easter was a milestone event with a huge field of 64 cars competing across seven classes. It has a big future and I congratulate event director James O’Brien and the Bathurst City Council for staging a race with real relevance to the average motorsport fan. As James said: “Long distance races for production-based cars form the bulk of the history of racing at Mount Panorama.”
David Wall and I were looking to equal or improve on our success in last year’s event in Alan East’s Mitsubishi Evo Mk IX, but it wasn’t to be. We retired with a driveshaft failure.
Surprisingly the flange bolts had pulled out, dragging the threads with them. They weren’t loose – they just pulled out. We deserved better, having qualified 8th and running around 5th and 6th for a lot of the time.
That’s motor racing…
RIGHT NOW it's all about Winton, the lovely little circuit near Benalla in Victoria’s north-east. At this weekend’s Supercars meeting I’ll be in the thick of the Touring Car Masters (TCM) action in the mighty Wilson Security/PAYCE Torana. The Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars team have freshened the car up giving it a tough A9X look. See what you think. Pleased to see that Burson Auto Parts have joined TCM as partners.
The following weekend I’ll be back for the big Historic Winton event the Austin 7 Club puts on each year. This one's the 41st.
Joe Calleja will be bringing the mighty Corvette and his F1 March 741 as well as the March 73S sports car. A real smorgasbord there. And here’s some breaking news: I’ll be bringing my Martini Mk47 Super Vee for my girl Jessie to drive. Make sure you find us in the pits and say Hi.