May 23, 2007, 2pm. I went hungry at Winton Tasman Motorsport headed to last weekend’s Australian V8 Supercar round at Winton in Victoria looking for its own slice of the V8 pie and while Murph got a great taste, after the appetisers I went hungry!
Having shown good speed in practice and producing our best qualifying effort of the season – third – I thought it may just be my weekend, but things quickly turned from good to worse and the weekend ended up as the one from hell.
Conditions were atrocious for Saturday’s first race and it was so slippery I went off on the first lap on Turn 10. We were able to work ourselves back into the race, but a pitstop to fix a loose wheel nut was followed by being hit and spun by Paul Radisich.
Race 2 was no better. After starting down the back of the grid, we again worked ourselves into the race but I managed to put a wheel off the dry line and into the wet and slipped off again. This time my GMC/Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore tapped the wall, breaking the splitter and puncturing the radiator.
On the face of it, the final 40-lap race looked better. We were able to finish 16th, but reality is that this season points are only paid out to the top 15 finishers and we left Winton without adding to our championship tally.
It was a difficult weekend, with those who stayed on the track reaped the reward – a case in point was round winner Jamie Whincup, who qualified 20th but managed to stay on track and with good strategy picked up his first win since Bathurst.
My teammate, Murph, had an almost totally different weekend; he struggled with the car and didn’t qualify well – in 22nd – and was then punted off in Race 1.
He finished fourth and seventh in Races 2 and 3 which, despite a Race 2 DNF (did not finish) gave him fourth overall for the weekend – just going to show how tough the conditions were for everyone.
The result was Tasman Motorsport’s best since Darwin last July and though we’re still struggling in some areas, particularly in rear tyre degradation, it indicates that our development programme is beginning to pay off and slowly we’re unlocking the key to the new VE Commodore.
Photo caption: Murph leading a gaggle of cars in the wet at Winton, including me (far left).
Jason Richards’ Column is exclusive to autotrader.co.nz and Auto Trader Magazine.