A fuel gamble came up short for Jamie Whincup, and a potential win at the 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 went out the window right with it.
Whincup, who co-drove with Paul Dumbrell in the No. 1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore, was poised to capture his fifth Bathurst victory but ran out in the final couple of laps.
It promoted the odd couple of Chaz Mostert, 22 and Paul Morris, 46, in the No. 6 Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Falcon to the lead and the overall win for the marquee event of the Australian V8 Supercars season.
In one of the best post-race quotes you’ll ever read, Mostert said about Whincup’s fuel struggles, via the official V8SC website: “I kept screaming in the cockpit – cough you bastard, cough.”
He added, “I never even thought I would get into the top 10. It’s fantastic. Who would know that we would go from 25th to first!”
The pair started, as mentioned, 25th and last in the field but over the course of the near-eight hour, 161-lap and 1,000-kilometer race, survived as chaos seemingly occurred from all other places at Mount Panorama.
There was a red flag that lasted more than an hour to fix the track surface.
There were multiple accidents – including the pairing of James Moffat and Taz Douglas, twice, who in neither instance sustained enough damage to knock the No. 360 Norton Hornets Nissan Altima from contention (they still finished second).
There was a stall from then-leader Shane van Gisbergen, sharing with Jonathan Webb in the No. 97 Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods Commodore, on what should have been a routine pit stop.
Lastly there was another surprise podium finisher in Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin, in the No. 222 Heavy Haulage Australia Racing Commodore. Gavin, a regular in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with Corvette Racing stateside, is entered in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
More here from the official V8SC website on a crazy day at Bathurst.
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.