FOURTH IN THE 2016 SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP is a pretty satisfying result for me given we effectively established a new ‘team within a team’ called TeamVortex, at Triple Eight, at the beginning of this year.
True, it would have been fantastic to make that fourth place a third, giving Triple Eight a 1-2-3 in the Championship in its first season running three cars.
But it wasn’t to be for several reasons and, at the end of the day, it’s an extremely strong result in the world’s most competitive Touring Car series.
My aim had always been a Top Five finish in this year’s title and we achieved that, plus a couple of memorable race wins along the way.
Truthfully, the extra effort to go from running two cars to three cars was probably a bigger task than anybody at Triple Eight imagined, but everyone pulled together and we made it work.
I am especially proud of my guys at TeamVortex.
Putting together a new collaboration of guys and girls to work together successfully as one group, under the TeamVortex banner, was always going to take time to find its feet.
But we’ve done that, we have a group that’s gelled well, and we head toward 2017 confident of a very competitive year.
Right now I’m enjoying the break and some family time, but I know it won’t be long before I’ll be thinking about going even better next season.
YOU MIGHT find this surprising given what I do for a living, but as a family man, safety is something that is at the forefront of my mind during the summer holidays.
Huge proportions of the Australian population hit the road around Christmas for the annual family road trip, and many of them have given little or no thought to car preparation beforehand.
That decision, whether deliberate or not, affects not only the safety of those people but also yours and my safety.
Cars that have been doing the workday commute all year need a once over before they hit the highway for a long trip to that holiday hotspot.
There’s the usual under bonnet stuff … check the oil and water levels of course, the brake fluid, and the windscreen washer fluid.
But the most important check is the tyres.
Firstly, are they correctly inflated? With the car loaded up for the holiday road trip with passengers, luggage and the dog, you’ll need to inflate the tyres to a higher pressure, details of which are on the vehicle’s tyre placard and in the owner’s handbook.
But also check the tyres have sufficient tread to be effective in summer rains (especially if headed to our northern states) and that the tread is free of nails or other debris, and also check the sidewalls for any damage, bulges, cracking or whatever.
And don’t forget the spare … if the car has one. The same rules apply, especially inflation pressure, because if it’s the spare it probably hasn’t seen much love for a long time.
But the biggest danger to our road safety at this time of year are caravan, trailer and boat tyres.
In most cases these tyres have been sitting around in the weather for months, possibly all year since the last Christmas holidays, so they need very careful checking.
Wet weather or hot conditions can rapidly degrade tyres and if they’re left sitting for long periods, they’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s really important that these are checked properly – if you have any doubts, check with your local Tyrepower store – because it’s not just the safety of those towing the ‘van or boat that’s at risk.
Anyone on the road could be affected.
TO EVERYONE … I’d like to wish you and your families a safe, happy and enjoyable festive season, and a prosperous new year.
I look forward to talking to you all again in 2017.