Phillip Island must be just about the most spectacular setting for a race track anywhere in the world.
The Victorian venue is also one of the great tracks of the world for both drivers and motorbike riders, a track I absolutely love, and we’ve had plenty of success there over the years.
It does have an unpredictable edge … no track does artic winds and driving rain quite like Phillip Island!
We arrived, mid-April, all rugged up for the latest round of the V8 Supercar Championship, expecting the worst.
The first day or so was coolish, with the occasional smattering of rain, but the main day, Sunday, was glorious. Crystal clear blue skies, warm and sunny, almost no breeze … it was hard to believe we were at Phillip Island!
On track it was predictably competitive … Volvo won both races, at a track that really seems to suit their car, while the usual suspects from PRA and Triple Eight divided up the rest of the major places.
My weekend aboard the TeamVortex was a tale of qualifying-trim frustration … we just didn’t quite get the speed we needed against the clock, so started both races in the back half of the top 10.
I had a great racecar, though, and with some clever strategy we moved forward to sixth and fifth placings … not disastrous but not as far forward as I’d hoped coming into the weekend.
Post Phillip Island, one hundred or so points cover the top six in the title chase and I have a feeling such is the competitiveness among the top guys, this will see-saw all season.
I just have to make sure I’m at the pointy end when it matters!
Just two weeks’ earlier we’d been in Tasmania, for what is annually that state’s biggest sporting event.
It’s funny, many people assume that the occasional AFL or national-level cricket match are Tasmania’s biggest sporting events.
But in fact it’s the V8 Supercar pilgrimage to Symmons Plains for the Tyrepower Tasmanian 400 that draws the largest crowd every year.
Before we turned a wheel on the track, I got a chance to drop by the Tyrepower Launceston store to meet owners Katrina and Shane Gray, and their team. We had some fun, signed lots of autographs and took lots of pics.
Tyrepower Launceston is in Bathurst Street … how awesome is that!
In 2015 I’d had a really strong Symmons Plains weekend, with pole position for all three races and two wins … so I was keen to repeat that this year.
As seems to be the pattern emerging this season, at Symmons Plains again it was a fight between the three Triple Eight-run Commodores, the three PRA-run Falcons and there Will Davison’s Tekno-run Triple Eight built Commodore joined in as well.
It was pretty fraught at the front in both races (this year two instead of three) and we ended up fifth (after a late-race broken exhaust header cost us lots of horsepower and several positions) in the first and second in the second, if you see what I mean.
So a strong weekend for the TeamVortex Commodore … we were top five contenders all the way and that’s the trick to being at the right end of the championship pointscore at season’s end.
Off to Perth now, then Winton two weeks’ later … the season is flying by already!