A BIG WEEK IN MOTORSPORT

There sure was plenty of excitement and drama at both the Indy 500 and Monaco GP last weekend.

At the 500 pole-sitter Scott Dixon and Jay Howard were very lucky to walk away from a massive crash early on.

Howard tagged the wall, then his car veered directly into Dixon’s path, sending the Kiwi flying through the air and slamming onto the top of the barrier before crashing back down to earth and sliding to a halt. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen was Helio Castro-Neves driving under Dixon’s flying car as he avoided the crash.

I’m proud to say that the Davison name has been written into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway record books for the third time, with James leading the 500 for two laps after starting 33rd.

Only two Aussies have won at Indianapolis and both are Davison’s.

My brother Alex won the Porsche Supercup race in 2002 and James took the honours in a Formula BMW race in 2005, which supported the F1 event.

James deserved a far better result in the 500, having run so strongly inside the top 5 before getting tangled up in a three-car crash, that eliminated him with just 17 laps to run.

After qualifying fifth, running with the lead pack early on and leading the 500, dual World F1 champion Fernando Alonso put in put in a great drive only retire with engine issues, which was a real shame.

At Monaco, Alonso’s stand-in, Jenson Button had a torrid weekend, staring from pitlane after qualifying ninth, but being penalized for an engine change. He ended up in an incident with Pascal Wehrlein late in the race that saw the Sauber on its side against the fence at Portier.

Speaking of Monaco, Dan Riccardo was looking good in practice, Q1 and Q2, only to end up fifth at the end of Q3.

Qualifying is probably the toughest and trickiest time of a race weekend. You have to manage your tyre temperatures on the outlap to maximise the qualifying lap. But you also have to try and find a clear track and look out for those running slowly and those on a flyer. It is a difficult and intense balancing act and so difficult to get right. Look at the qualifying from our event at Barbagallo Raceway this year. Giz was on a flyer and came over the hill flat out to find a gaggle of cars going slowly and had to take avoiding action or fire into them

At Monaco, Dan’s final qualifying lap came up short as he couldn’t be as aggressive as he wanted with his tyres, due to traffic.

That said, he did an awesome job to finish in the top three again and his pace on heavily used ultra-soft tyres, was surprisingly faster than new super-softs, due to the low degradation nature of the resurfaced Monaco track. Despite a late brush with the wall, which he claimed will require new underwear, his smile beamed from the podium.

But you can’t take it away from the two Ferraris. They were on it all weekend with Vettel getting the upper hand.

Kimi did a great job to get pole position and as the lead Ferrari, he had the priority on pitstop strategies.

When he pitted, Vettel made the most of the traffic-free laps and like Dan, he banged in a series of super quick times on his worn ultra-softs. Just as he caught the Sauber, he was told to pit, so not only did the overcut work perfectly, but those super-fast laps proved the difference between the two and Vettel’s superior pace to Kimi on new super-softs got him the win. It had nothing to do with favoritism, but everything to do with strategy.

Lewis Hamilton’s uncharacteristic lack of pace all weekend didn’t do his championship hopes much good, but for the rest of us, it adds more spice to a fascinating battle for the World Championship.

This week sees one of the most exhilarating motorcycle events get underway. The Isle of Man TT. Sadly 23-time winner John McGuinness won’t be adding to his win tally as he broke his leg at the North West 200 a few weeks ago and will miss the event.

But that gives his teammate and crowd favorite Guy Martin his best-ever shot at finally claiming a TT win. The Aussie contingent is led by Josh Brookes this year and we wish them all a safe and successful event.

We are in the middle of a mini break, so it gives the Woodstock Tekno team a chance to catch their breath before we head to Darwin and one of the most physically demanding races of the year.

To prepare I have been training extra hard and last weekend had a wonderful time competing in the Noosa Ultimate Sports Festival, of which I am proud ambassador. On Saturday I did a 2 kilometre ocean swim and backed it up with a 10km run on Sunday.

We also have a test day next Tuesday, one of only three days allowed per year. The plan will see us running through the lunch break and into the dark and I’ll tell you about it in next week’s column.
 
 

« back
A BIG WEEK IN MOTORSPORT
01.06.2017
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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
25.05.2017
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CONSOLIDATING CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES
18.05.2017
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MOMENTUM BUILDING IN THE WEST
11.05.2017
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THE RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK
20.04.2017
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TASSIE BOUND
06.04.2017
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AGP TIME
23.03.2017
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JUMPING IN THE DEEP END
09.03.2017
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THE SEASON OPENER IS HERE
01.03.2017
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2017 TEST DAY WRAP
14.02.2017
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BATHURST 12 HOUR WRAP UP
10.02.2017
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2017 AUSTRALIAN MOTOR RACING SEASON IS UPON US!
03.02.2017
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SYDNEY FINALE
09.12.2016
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PASSING IN PUKEKOHE
11.11.2016
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STACKING UP THE NUMBERS
28.10.2016
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CONQUERING THE MOUNTAIN
12.10.2016
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SUCCESS AT SANDOWN
21.09.2016
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POWERING ON TO SANDOWN
12.09.2016
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MID-SEASON
11.08.2016
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QUEENSLAND RACEWAY BLUES
27.07.2016
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TAKING ON TOWNSVILLE
18.07.2016
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THE WILD WEST
13.05.2016
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TASSIE TRIUMPH
08.04.2016
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HEADING SOUTH
31.03.2016
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WE'RE BACK
16.03.2016
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THE HOME STRETCH
18.11.2015
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WELCOME TO BATHURST
08.10.2015
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PUSHING FORWARD IN QUEENSLAND
13.08.2015
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LESSONS FROM THE NORTH
08.07.2015
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WINTON WOES
19.05.2015
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PERTH PERFECTION
11.05.2015
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ONE YEAR LATER
15.04.2015
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ROCKY START TO THE YEAR
16.03.2015
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