I always like to look back at my previous column from before a V8 Supercar event and see if the ‘things I would like to see’ actually did happen – and in the case of Symmons Plains I was pretty happy with the majority of them occuring!
The championship leaders spent a lot of time racing one another in close proximity on the road, the rain spiced it up on Sunday but we didn’t get a new-for-2010 race winner – although I will settle for the fact there were six different drivers in the six podium positions across the two days.
But the best one for me was the podium finish of Paul Dumbrell in the Bottle-O Falcon on Sunday.
Having known PD for many years, I’ve been ribbing him for a little while that he was closing in on a record that he probably didn’t want – the most ATCC/V8SCS event starts (formerly known as rounds) without a podium finish.
It’s held by John Faulkner who lined up for 116 events without standing on a podium – PD was in his 113th in Tasmania so had until Abu Dhabi next year to right the ship!
He’s been close many times this year with a few fourth places, but I haven’t seen a more popular second place in the paddock than I saw on Sunday.
And I haven’t seen more people puzzled as he ran down the back of the pits straight after the media conference – stripping his suit off as he went like a madman! After all, when there’s a 6.30pm plane to catch, you can’t waste any time!
But on a serious note, the way Paul has handled himself over the last couple of years has been, well, inspirational.
It’s well documented the massive hurdles his family has faced in the last two years with his brother Lucas’ accident and subsequent paralysis, his father Gary’s fight with cancer and his own increased role in the family business not to mention his racing commitments and the like.
Through it all, Paul has proven to be mature and well-rounded – he has come a long way from his younger days in Formula Holden and his early years in V8 Supercars. He has handled his situation with the type of class that I could only dream of mustering if faced with the same or similar scenario.
It was a nice touch too that one of the first people to congratulate him on his result was Will Davison. Not many race fans will know, but the two went to school together – it’s a friendship that goes a long way back and goes beyond the ‘divide’ between teams, manufacturers etc.
Because as much as we can easily get lost in motorsport being about cars, money, television rights, franchises, sponsors, stats and politics, it’s little moments like Sunday that remind you what is at the core of them all and what’s important – people.
It’s the human element of the sport that is still the most interesting to me – but as PD knows, I don’t mind a stat or two either …
Email me – [email protected] or tweet me @aaronnoonan with your questions, thoughts and the odd, occasional rant (keep it short!) and we’ll do some more Q&A before the end of the season.