Next stop, Townsville.
It’s winter and we’re doing the best we can to stay warm, following a race meeting in the Top End to another in banana-bending territory.
Townsville will see the Supercars fraternity descend on its shores this weekend for the 10th Townsville 400.
Arguably one of our better race events – Triple Eight has recorded ten wins from 19 races – we’re looking to use this opportunity as a much-needed boost to our 2018 championship campaign.
Without tempting fate, it’s a well-known fact that Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup is the unofficial ‘King of Townsville’ with the most wins at the track – nine since 2009 – so it’s only fitting that he’s the biggest advocate for the race in Townsville.
“I love the event, it’s full of people who are escaping the colder states to enjoy their motorsport,” said J-Dub.
“Before the race arrived in Townsville in 2009, it was a community deprived of motorsport so since then, they’ve just embraced the event and it’s grown from strength to strength.”
Fellow Queenslander (oops, we mean honorary Queenslander), SVG might be a born and bred Kiwi but he’s not one to miss out on a party in the tropics…
“This one has a small-town feel, every gets so enthused about the race and the whole town gets behind it,” said SVG.
“There are signs everywhere and the restaurants normally do things for the race. It’s pretty cool, we get so welcomed up there.”
Yep, we love it so much we basically claim it as a home event, J-Dub says it’s because we “are the closest team to Townsville”.
“I just love the warmer climate and I think team wise, we’ve always put in our best performance there because we regard it as a home race,” continued J-Dub.
“I’ve had some really good wins there and some years it’s been the highlight of my year. Standing on top of the podium on Sunday in Townsville is one of the best feelings.
“In saying that; win, lose or draw, I always have a good time in Townsville.”
On track, the racing gets serious with a guarantee (so much so, we’ll put RD’s house on it) for heated battles across the two 200km races on the hybrid circuit.
“For me, it’s one of the best tracks we go to for racing,” said J-Dub.
“You get all the street track goodness plus some of the permanent circuit making for proper racing corners as well – it’s got the big curbs, some bumps and twists across the back half of the track.”
But for SVG, the heat is half the challenge here…
“It’s such a long race at 200km and then you have to do it again the next day,” said SVG.
“Being a hot climate plus a street track, it can be very tough, but the format is awesome, and I always enjoy it.”
Good racing is great, but to be even better, we need to qualify well – aside from getting SVG to wear a Queensland Maroons jersey – it’s proved to be our biggest battle this year.
“Qualifying is going to be the biggest point of our weekend, I think we have a couple of things we need to try in practice to make our qualifying better. From there, we will just need to try and beat everyone in a straight fight,” said SVG.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge this week and I have full confidence that the three Triple Eight cars will be up the front.”
On the other hand, J-Dub isn’t just focusing on those in front of him, but everyone up and down pit lane.
“You’re only as good as your last race and in Darwin, Davey Reynolds won so there’s heaps of competition out there,” J-Dub explained.
“Like I’ve said before, we’ve got all the tools in the toolbox to do the job, if we piece it all together we should be as good as anyone in Townsville.”
That’s the plan… We’re all heads down, bums up to get those bulls charging around the track on the weekend. Stay tuned…