Wow … we won Bathurst!
There is no better feeling in the world than that final lap at Bathurst, in front, the crowds cheering and waving flags trackside, your team in the garage on the verge of a giant party!
The feeling is a mix of immense satisfaction, achievement and plain old happiness as you point the car toward the chequered flag.
Last month I commented to you that success at Bathurst this year would depend a bit on how well our rivals put it together … but in reality, it didn’t.
Our Red Bull Racing Australia #888 Holden Commodore was the class of the field when it mattered, we had all comers handled, and together with the best car we have the best team in the pitlane behind us.
By ‘we’ I mean co-driver Steve Richards, who did a stellar job all day at Bathurst, and thoroughly deserved his fourth win there.
It’s funny, although things didn’t go to plan for us in qualifying at Bathurst, on Sunday morning I felt really good about the race. The car was great, I thought we had what we needed to win, and that’s what happened.
Starting 15th proved no handicap at all, we were inside the top 10 virtually from the start and kept coming forward from there … by the time it mattered, the last restart, we were at the front of the field.
From there I quickly built up a three-second gap to Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) and then just maintained it, as we rattled off the last 20 laps or so.
The gap only closed on the last lap, when I eased off a bit to enjoy the lap, the crowd, the excitement in the pits and the satisfaction of Bathurst win number six.
After the race, the big question being asked of me was whether I could equal Peter Brock’s record of nine wins.
If you’re an Australian racing driver, winning Bathurst is the hardest thing to achieve.
It’s ridiculously competitive, and no matter how good your car or team is, there are so many factors out of your control that will determine whether you win the race or not.
So I am certainly not thinking about Peter’s record … I am forever indebted to him for being my mentor as a young driver, and imparting skills and values that have made me who I am today.
I am also grateful to have won Bathurst six times and would be delighted to win a seventh if there’s the opportunity. But nine? It’s possible but it’s just not something I think about.
The other thing I love about winning at Bathurst is that while Richo and I stand on the top step of the podium, our success is a shared one … there are so many team and support people who contribute to it, and I love how much it means to them as well.
That includes everyone at Tyrepower … thank you for your support and I hope you enjoyed winning Bathurst as much as I did!