This year’s Telstra 500 had a little more hype associated with it than last year, because this round would decide the championship. James Courtney had a slim lead of defending champion Jamie Whincup and nether team could sit back and watch what the other would do.
As with last year I headed up on the Saturday to par-take in the days’ activities. Cloudy skies with the forecast of rain were expected, this coupled with rain over the past few days had kept teams guessing on race setup. As we arrived on track the heavens had opened making the Fujitsu V8 cars very unstable as they tried to qualify for their race.
We watched a few laps before heading through some of the pavilions and onto the pits where we were amazed to see the biggest indoor pit garage I’ve ever seen. The pit pavilion housed 8+ B-double racecar transporters plus a double pit bay for each team, all this in air-conditioned comfort. It was great to get up close to the teams as they worked on their cars. Over the day we saw an engine change, some panel repairs and various other minor improvements.
As the race drew close we made our way around to “turn 11” which is at the back of the train station and is at the end of a 600m straight. We had a position right on the fence, which proved to be very entertaining.
The race started as per the script and from our position we got to witness numerous cars clip the concrete barriers, various overtaking manoeuvrers and a good 180deg spin. The race was marred with a number of pace car incidents that kept the racing exciting. Late in the race the weather played a big part in the outcome of the race and the championship with a downpour of rain catching most of the field on slick tyres, as the track became a skating rink. The resulting accidents and carnage saw over half the field retire from the race. Those that had played Russian roulette with the weather and gambled on wet tyres came to the front, giving rookie driver Jonathon Webb his first race win.
As always the V8’s proved to be very entertaining with the Sydney venue being a great spectacle.