ONE OF motor racing’s most famous clichés is the one about the $2 part that failed, and cost someone an important race win.
I feel a bit like that is the story of our Bathurst this year.
A third of the race in, well positioned, with a fast and a competitive TeamVortex Commodore, and with a strategy to play out to put us in the frame to win the race, we had a component failure.
With my co-driver Richo (Steve Richards) driving, the selector rod that runs between the gearshift beside the driver and the transaxle at the rear of the car, sheered straight through.
We had never had a failure like that before, in fact no-one in pitlane had, but it happened and it left the car jammed in third gear.
By the time Richo got the car back to the pits and then the boys replaced the shaft, we’d lost seven laps and any hope of a good result in the 2016 Bathurst 1000 was gone.
Now, I have no idea how much that part actually cost – I suspect it’s a fair bit more than $2 – but its failure had a devastating impact on our race … even more frustratingly because the car ran perfectly after that, throughout the rest of the day.
All we could then was circulate, many laps down, stay out of trouble and see where we ended up.
Even more frustrating for us was that we’d worked very hard to make the car great on raceday, after a less than ideal lead-up to the race.
During practice we’d gone down a chassis setup path which we’d thought initially might give us an edge and we stuck with it for a couple of days, before conceding it wasn’t going to work and switched to something similar to our Red Bull teammates’ car.
Our lack of speed early in the week meant we’d qualified 21st, my worst ever qualifying result at Bathurst … but as I say we turned it around for raceday and had made great progress through the field when we had the failure.
So now we’ve had two disappointing legs of the Endurance Cup so I am hoping Richo and I can finish strongly in the final leg, the Gold Coast 600, later this month. We’ve got nothing to lose, that’s for sure!
ON THE WAY to Bathurst we stopped by for an appearance at the Tyrepower Toormina (Coffs Harbour, NSW) store.
Store owner Terry Cutler and his crew did a great job putting on a party, there was a huge number of people there and, as usual, we ended up signing just about anything you can think of!
I am always blown away by the trouble the stores go to with these appearances and the enthusiasm of both the staff and all the customers who come. Terry told me that people began lining up that morning at 8.30am, even though I wasn’t due there until 11am!!
It was a great day, I thoroughly enjoyed it as I always do, and look forward to visiting the Corowa store early next year.
ACTUALLY spending 10 days or so on the road leading up to Bathurst and then returning quickly a couple of days after, reminded me of the importance of proper tyre maintenance.
I was surprised the amount of tyre debris on and around the roads we travelled.
It’s been a harsh winter so the roads aren’t in great shape, but even so there’s obviously been plenty of tyre dramas out there.
As we all know, the best bet to avoid this sort of failure is by ensuring each tyre is correctly inflated (see the tyre placard for recommended pressures) and that each is also checked for potential problems, like tread that’s too worn, bulges or cracks in the sidewalls, etc.
I know it’s the first thing I do before I head off on a long trip.
If in doubt, see your local Tyrepower store for advice.