Late last year, I was very fortunate to be able to attend the final round of the V8 Supercars with thanks to Falken Tyres Australia. I will start off with how I ended up being there….
I had entered a competition through Falken Australia – it was a competition where we only had to answer a question about one of their product ambassadors, Scott McLaughlin. I ended up entering just for sh*ts and giggles, not thinking that this one little question would net me a prize worth close (in my workings) to approximately A$3000. It was exactly four weeks after I had entered when I received a phone call from the promotions company that run the Falken Australia Facebook page telling me I had won the major prize.
Day 1 of this amazing weekend started with me flying from Dubbo, my home town, to Sydney. Then I was transferred from the airport to Sydney Olympic Park where I met up with Millie, our main contact for the weekend at the ibis Sydney Olympic Park (where I stayed). We got all the formalities out of the way while I waited for my friend to arrive. She arrived and we got whisked away to our corporate suite for the rest of the day. We had our hot laps at around 4pm – my friend went with the other brand ambassador for Falken, Nick Percat, in his Walkinshaw Racing Holden Commodore while I went with Scott in his Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo S60. I was third in our group of five – we all got changed into our race suits in the transporter… what a squeeze! I then had to squeeze my 5′ 11″ (180cm) frame into the car…. I was a bit nervous about this as this was my first time but once I was in the car, I was fine. Headed out and did my laps (yes, I got two)…. I remember looking down at the speed. I saw 260km/h (160mph for those in imperial) – I thought, “This doesn’t feel like that”….. I also remember swearing at the turns 2-3-4 chicane complex as the car literally bounced off the ripple strips.
We were then told we could be doing a course car ride the next morning. Day 1 ended with drinks with my friend and a few of our other friends.
Day 2: Day 2 started with breakfast at my motel – then awaiting my other friend for the day. We then got our passes and headed off to our corporate suite – we then got told we did have a course car ride that morning. I met up with a friend the previous day who wanted to get me up on his motorbike with his Australian Cattle Dog (Blue) but we had the course car ride at 9:30am and I said I’d be back after that. All three of us got the opportunity to do this – we signed our lives away then got into a queue on the pit wall. The marshall who was there asked somewhere along the way for a group of three people – I looked at my friends and put my hand up. He got us to follow him – we walked past the first Wilson Security course car (which was being driven by John Bowe) and stopped at the second car (Dick Johnson had this one)…. my other friend said he wanted either of these guys so his wish got fulfilled. Did the course car ride – Dick talked us pretty much all the way around the track. Then back to the corporate suite – I ducked off to make good on that promise to my mate. He got me up on the bike as he promised…. after we moved it around. At about 400kg, the big Guzzi was a bit hard to move around but we did it!
Day 2 finished pretty much the same as Day 1!
Day 3: Sadly, this was the last day of competition for 2014 and the weekend. Got to do another grid walk which was amazing… had I known who was in front of me! Had a ball on this grid walk where I got to mingle with some of the drivers including Jamie Whincup who took out the 2014 Championship when a rather nasty rain storm caused the race to be abandoned.
I also got to get into a Isuzu D-Max ute with one of my friends who drives rally cars and stunt utes for EMG Precision Driving (Team D-Max)…. he then proceeded to make me absolutely scream expletives as he put this ute on two wheels. I then got to experience a brand new MU-X on the Iron Summit (mind you, my heart was still beating hard from the two wheeled run in the ute) – the guy who did that just let the torque of the MU-X’s 4JJ1-TC do all the work…. I shotgunned the front seat for that!
All in all, a great weekend and a wonderful first time at a V8 Supercar meeting!
As a postscript, I want to add this weekend was awesome – it now won’t beat my 30th birthday for as long as I live…..