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Racefan's Racing Web
Lee's Line
Tub Thumpin V8,s
Hello race fans! I'm back this year with even more pizzazz and enthusiasm than last year. Following my trips to the Queensland 500 and Bathurst last year, I am sure to continue tripping around and providing you great people with some turbulent issues and comments throughout the year. I am planning to venture to both races again this year so keep track of the site and read up on the 'inside view'.
There was a lot of movement of drivers between teams in the off-season, with several drivers changing manufacturers. Russell Ingall (the enforcer) seems to be one man with a mission this year. Although official racing hasn't commenced this year yet, Russell has shown great speed and determination in his new Caltex Havoline BA Falcon. Many other changes have taken place, including several big name drivers: Lowndes to Cat Racing, Todd Kelly to HRT, Rick Kelly to Kmart Racing. These changes and the new BA Falcon being introduced with a newly improved aerodynamic pack, should bring about a more even spread of manufacturers cars this year. Along with this, it will bring about several victories for Ford and the beginning of the end of the HRT dominance over the rest of the field (finally!).
The unleashing of the giants has taken place, although unofficially, at Albert Park Raceway. These tub-thumping V8 Supercars showed what they were made of as a supporting act to the Formula One's on the weekend. There was plenty of early action, and several tight duels near the front. Each race saw a different winner and race two saw Russell Ingall push his BA Ford over the finish line well ahead of the rest of the pack. Although no one team dominated proceedings, there was a clear run-away winner in each race. This only goes to show that this year's racing is going to go one better than last year it will be competitive!
What a season we have to look forward to! Thirteen championship races which are building to be the best ever. These championship races are at Adelaide (20-23/03/03), Phillip Island (11-13/04/03), Eastern Creek (02-04/05/03), Winton (23-25/05/03), Barbagallo (06-08/06/03), Hidden Valley (27-29/06/03), Queensland Raceway (18-20/07/03), Oran Park (15-17/08/03), Sandown (12-14/09/03), Mount Panorama (09-12/10/03), Pukekohe (07-09/11/03), and Eastern Creek (28-30/11/03).
A word on Formula One Well what can I say? What a race! There were changes in the leader every half a dozen laps or so. Cars breaking down, spinning off the track, crashing into walls. What more can you ask for from a Formula One race? We even had five different teams making the points in the first race of the season for 2003. This is an unbelievable turn around from last year. This has resulted from the incredible changes to qualifying and the like, resulting in drivers having one 'hot' lap to set their qualifying time. A great idea to even out the field. Well done, boys!
That's it for me at this stage in the pre-season. Don't forget - V8 Supercars are exclusive to Network Ten throughout Australia and the coverage is the best in the world. So don't miss it!!!

Rubbin's Racin',
Lee Rossow

Inside Viewpoint from Bathurst 2002 - Part 2


Well we have gone from the days of the greats "Bob Jane (1962 and 1964)", "Allan Moffat (1970's and 1980's)", "Peter Brock (1970's and 1980's)", and "Dick Johnson (1990's)".  All famous for their terrific success or failure at Bathurst.  Now we move into modern times where the main successors from the current pack are, of course, Mark Skaife and Jim Richards.  Obvious favourites, but for many, not the ideal winners.


What follows is a brief run-down of each team which entered the race and had a chance as far as I am concerned of winning the 'big one'.


1 Mark Skaife / Jim Richards (HRT)  FRIDAY QUAL: 2:08.3873 (2)

   Both born in Victoria and have a shared favourite circuit of Bathurst.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 10 Skaife / 20 Richards.


2 Jason Bright / Thomas Mezera (HRT) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.0170 (3)

   Born Victoria and Czech Republic respectively.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 3 Bright / 2 Mezera.


4 Marcos Ambrose / Paul Weel (PIRTEK RACING) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.8100 (11)

   Born in Victoria and Tasmania respectively.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 2 Ambrose / 2 Weel.


5 Glenn Seton / David Besnard [due to Owen Kelly's sickness and Wayne

   Gardner's accident] (FORD CREDIT RACING) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:10.0471 (12)

   Both born in NSW and share a favourite circuit of Bathurst.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 4 Seton / 3 Besnard.


11 Larry Perkins / Paul Dumbrell (CASTROL PERKINS RACING) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.6931 (9}

   Both born in Victoria and share a favourite race of Bathurst.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 10 Perkins / 0 Dumbrell.


00 Craig Lowndes / Neil Crompton (00 MOTORSPORT) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.3559 (5)

   Both born in Victoria and are one centimetre different in height.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 6 Lowndes / 0 Crompton.


51 Greg Murphy / Todd Kelly (KMART RACING TEAM) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.7464 (10)

   Born in New Zealand and Victoria respectively.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 4 Murphy / 2 Kelly.


16 Russell Ingall / Steven Richards (CASTROL PERKINS RACING) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:09.1405 (4)

   Born in United Kingdom and New Zealand respectively.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 3 Ingall / 1 Richards.


21 John Bowe / Brad Jones (OZEMAIL RACING TEAM) FRIDAY QUAL: 2:08.3873 (1)

   Born in Tasmania and NSW respectively.

   Total series and Bathurst wins combined: 3 Bowe / 7 Jones.


I am sorry if I offend anybody but these are the only teams I saw as having a chance to win the 'big one' on the day.  10 o'clock came and all you could hear were the engine's peaking out as the boys revved their toys, awaiting the green light.  Then all of a sudden, they were off!  It was Bowe who took the lead into the first corner, followed by a line of Holdens.  Unfortunately for the HRT fans, Skaife had fallen back to 4th and Bright to 6th.  Murphy had jumped into 5th and Rick Kelly had also received quite a good start.


Everyone in the crowd knew that the race was far from over but cheered every lap for the first ten or so (Ford fans standing and applauding as Bowe led the race).  It wasn't long however, until Skaife snuck through and led the 'big one'.  He too didn't last too long, as Murphy screamed passed him in a hurry to get to the front.  Most of the boys pitted and we had new leaders.  However, noone could have predicted to see the safety (pace) car in the lead for so many laps.  Nor could anyone have predicted that only 24 cars would finish.  I guess the Holden supporters would tell you that they knew Holden's would finish in all of the top five positions, but come on, be real.  I mean, I am a Holden supporter and after Saturday was in a little doubt myself (except when Skaife was driving).  The lead kept between a few driver's for most of the race, and only during yellow flag periods when some pitted and others didn't did we see lessor knowns in the lead.  Unfortunately for racing, the officials yet again wrecked what was going to be a thriller ... down to the wire finish (barring mishap).


Who could have predicted that the KMART RACING TEAM 51 car of Murphy/Kelly would be in the lead of the race and seem to have everything under control???  Especially, seeing the slow times of Kelly during qualifying.  I guess that is what happens when cars such as the OZEMAIL FALCON 21 car of Bowe/Jones touched the wall and later snapped an all important bolt, putting them out of the race.  They, of course, weren't the only fast cars who came to grief during the race.  Lowndes/Crompton overheated after a plastic shopping bag covered their air intake, as it did in other cases.  Ambrose/Weel came to grief several times but managed to persevere until the end of the race.  Seton/Besnard seemed to be cursed (typical as it is Seton remember).  Radisich/Johnson lost brakes and had suspension trouble, resulting in a high-speed impact with the ever supporting tyre wall (only constructed a few years ago from memory).  Other than this, not many well-known drivers came to grief (ending their race).  However, there still were incidents which ended the race for certain teams and drivers.


The most controversial and publicised is of course that 5-minute penalty on the KMART RACING TEAM 51 car of Murphy/Kelly.  5-minutes!!!  I have done some research and have not found one penalty in motorsport history exceeding two-minutes.  And for Christ-sake, there have been plenty of worse incidents occur over the years.  5-minutes under racing conditions such as those of today is rediculous and whoever made the decision should never be allowed to officiate again.  I know that may sound a bit harsh to you, but think about it.  How bad did it look?  It wrecked what looked to be a thrilling race.  This was evident by the extreme pace shown by both Murphy and Kelly throughout the race.  Other similar incidents went unpunished for several teams, Brock's being the worst.  Not even a drive through for an almost identical mishap.  Go that consistency!


Anyway, the race did continue, despite the poor quality of officiating, and Skaife and Richards took received the most advantage, rocketing into first place and never looking back.  There were a few who kept close to him but couldn't keep up to his consistently thunderous pace.


For the crowd in the Chase, the best action came from spins in the sand.  We came to rely on the PIRTEK RACING, CAT RACING and BETTA ELECTRICAL for off-track excursions.  With a spin from SHELL HELIX RACING and a mass off by ORRCOM RACING, almost to the wall.


That is about all I have for you on Bathurst for 2002.  Hope you all enjoyed the race whereever you were.  It would be great to see you guys down at the track (no matter which race you go to) to cheer on the boys and support the V8 SUPERCAR SERIES.  It is the best form of racing in the world, with F1 coming a close second.  Without your support, we may lose more races and possibly racing venues, as may be the case in Qld.  That would be a real pity, as I honestly believe it is the best track from a spectator's point of view.  It is the only track I have been to where you can see the entire race, without the assistance of the big screen.


Anyway, I have spent enough of your time today.  I will leave you with a little thought I have had lately:

"Ford's are slowly but surely coming back into contention with their youthful drivers at the healm and more money being spent to improve their cars.  However, it seems to me that Holden have held an advantage for quite a number of years, and that will not change for quite a few more years."  I hope I am wrong, as I want to see quality racing.


All the best,

Inside Viewpoint From Bathurst 2002
Just thought I would take the time to inform you about my experience at Bathurst this year. Besides the usual car burning on the mountain and fireworks around the campgrounds, the action was plenty. After arriving on Wednesday night, it took hours to put up a tent ... the ground was much the same as concrete!!! Anyway, by about 2am the tent was erected and we could finally get a well deserved rest.
Thursday morning the action started. Besides the off-track hotties cruising around showing their stuff, there was plenty of on-track action and much discussion about who would be number one this year. It kicked off Thursday with us walking down pit lane and being thrown out by some big redneck official in a skirt!!! What is the go with that? All we were doing is walking in between the Formula Fords while they were trying to get out for their first warm-up. No dingles this time round but there wasn't many laps other than those in this practice session where the Formula Fords didn't have a dingle or seven. Then came the Porshe's. Well, as usual Fitzgerald flogged the arse off the rest of the pack. A sign of things to come?! If you wanted to try and catch up with your favourite V8 Supercar driver on this day, think again ... none to be found. Perhaps they were all in hiding from that big redneck thing ... who knows. Can't really blame them, it was a sight for sore eyes (I think even my father would run away screaming after setting eyes on that). Other attractions on Thursday were the Donut King boys on their motorbikes, the Castrol Formula R "Victor Bray" Dragster, and practices and qualifying from the historic cars, porche cup cars, Konica V8's, Formula Fords, and of course the V8 Supercars. Thursday night was the start of the fireworks and the fires on the hill. Before I forget I should probably tell you the strangest thing I saw all weekend ... a V8 Lawnmower! It was on the mountain, and didn't it cut sick. What a machine! An early one of course Thursday night, yeah right! Plenty of grog and not much shut eye. At least that was the usual for most.
Friday morning was a little different to Thursday, as the weather had changed from frigging freezing (blowing a gale) to bloody hot (sunny and unlike the BATHURST WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE). Anyway, more of the same today action-wise, with more slips and spills of course. As they say, it just keeps hotting up at Bathurst. The V8 Qualifying of course was on today, however, no top crashes or mishaps from the top 50%. So we had to wait for the second 50% to come out. I tell you what, it was definately worth it. Five cars on the first lap come to grief in the chase on the first hot lap. Can't ask for much more than that ... except for a V8 or two on their roofs in front of you. A little off the track event which occurred Friday night was some clown stealing Ambrose's race suit, meaning that he had to drive in the top 15 shootout in Weel's race suit. Easy on the brakes Ambrose, unless you want a higher pitched voice for the rest of the weekend (Weel is a little smaller than you remember).
Saturday ... same as Friday, except today was the all important top 15 shoot out. Some interesting results that not many had predicted ... what with an Ozemail Ford on pole. Who in their right mind would have predicted that??? Today was the day of all days to get those autographs and catch up with your favourite V8 Supercar driver, unless of course it was Skaife, Bright, Rick Kelly, Lowndes, or some of the lesser known drivers who didn't even turn up to pit lane. The reason I say besides Skaife, Bright, Rick or Lowndes, is because you had to push your way along the wall to get passed, let alone get to see them. I guess that is what happens when the mob think you are good, even if it is only the car that you drive that makes you look good (hey Brighty?). I better not forget to inform you about the young and aggressive Wayne Gardner (yeah right!). Cut sick big fella, what was that ... Konica Corner maybe? How fast can you go into that corner again? I would suggest not that fast! Due to Gardner's fine form, poor Besnard was without a drive in his Havoline Falcon on Sunday ... thanks mate! I guess that takes us up to Sunday.
Sunday? ... that rings a bell (sort of). Wasn't something important supposed to happen today I thought to myself after three hours sleep. Joking of course! It would be inconceivable to imagine that anyway on this planet (with half or more of a brain left) could ever forget what happens on that eventful day ... the BATHURST 1000. I am sure you all watched the race on the TV courtesy of channel 10! No doubt wrote yourselves off on that faithful brew (VB - Very Bathurst). Anyway, there was plenty of carnage and quality racing right across the field, except of course for the Holden Transtar (go the lawnmower!!!). I guess one positive for the team is they kept the thing on the road and finished the race. YIPPEE!!! Who cares how many laps down they were, the sponsors definately got their money worth. Same sort of story for the Toll Ipec Falcon and the 3M Falcon. You should of heard the 3M Falcon, only about three times louder than the rest of the pack. Pity it couldn't keep up though, hey! Typical Ford I guess most would say.
Today's events and unfoldings put my pre-weekend predictions out of the window, mainly thanks to the officials - thanks heaps AVESCO. My pre-weekend predictions were G Murphy/T Kelly, M Skaife/J Richards, M Ambrose/P Weel. Needless to say Smurfett and Toddler were on race pace and beyond it all day, but thanks to the 5-minute blunder by the officials that was the end of the day for them. Thanks kids ... how about you go back to kindergarten and try finger painting, surely you can't stuff that up too bad!!! On a similar note, I wonder if HRT with all their money and pride would have paid off an official as a result of not being able to keep up with Murph.  Just on the KMart Holden Commodore of Murph/Kelly, can anyone tell me what the go was with them being stuck at the front of the pack behind the safety car on three separate occasions?  This has absolutely bamboozled me!!!  Surely they couldn't have thought Murph/Kelly were in the lead, especially after the officials previous knee-jerk reaction in which it took them just over a minute to destroy the KMart Racing Teams' best hope of victory at the mountain ever.  I know Murph/Kelly are good, but no-one is that good!
Skaife and Richards showed their usual brilliance by winning the big one. I wonder though it Skaife had to drive for someone less fortunate as the HRT team with every advantage under the sun whether he could even finish the race let alone do a decent job. Don't get me wrong I am a Holden fan, just hate the fact that HRT wreck everything by having every advantage that no-one else can get. Perhaps one day Ford Racing will wake up to themselves and do the same for their team. I mean why have a team sponsored by your developers without getting much support from them. Seton yet again proved why he never does any good at Bathurst, with a disasterous weekend yet again. Surely he must be one of the unluckiest drivers when it comes to Bathurst. But no-one can say that he is the most unluckiest. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the most unluckiest driver in the V8 Supercar Championship is Greg Murphy. He hasn't placed many feet wrong all series, but can always rely on some useless driver to take him out (at least every second or third race anyway). I am sorry if I am dwelling on Murph's mishaps but I do not believe there is anyone who can say otherwise. If so, please let me know, because I would place money on someone screwing everything for Murph, just as the officials did yet again at Bathurst this year.
This year was no different to that of any other, with plenty of action and not many cars finishing. I was at the Chase for the majority of the day and saw a few strange things. 1.The Cat car deciding that the best way through the Chase is across the sand. 2.The Pirtek car deciding that it is easier to take the Chase with only three wheels. 3.The Shell 18 car taking a different view of the Chase (backwards and around and around in the sand). 4.Rain and hail falling on the crowd in the Chase area, but on not much of the track. 5.Supporters for both teams barracking for opposing teams. 6.The Orrcon car of Larkham taking a short-cut to the wall at the far end of the Chase (sand area) and continuing on his merry way. 7.A tent flying up from the last corner into the Chase backwards (perhaps showing the way for many of the drivers who decided at some point also to face the wrong way). 8.The Safety car leading the way as far as most laps in the lead for the race.
During the race, the Fords were taken out on several occasions by placing shopping bags in their airflows. I doubt they will shop at the Caltex Shopmart behind the grandstand area on Bob Jane Straight again.  If they do, perhaps they will be a little more careful when unpacking their goods.
What a joke! Changing the name of parts of the track every year just to get sponsors. Can't any sponsors give up some of their money (as a tax right-off of course) without getting an entire area of the track named after them ... what is the go with that?
On a totally different note, as I was driving home on Sunday night, I almost ran out of fuel.  I made it to Coonamble where all of the fuel stations were closed.  God must have been shining upon me that night as I found a priest named Gary who gave me some assistance ... he let me use his bank card so I could get fuel and in exchange I gave him some cash.  Things just seemed to get stranger and stranger on this Bathurst excursion.  Anyway, a special thank you must go to Gary for helping out someone in need ... me.
Part Two (more of the inside viewpoint focussing just on the race) coming soon. After I catch up on some valuable and much needed sleep.