The Bathurst
1000 remains a compelling annual Sunday TV sports ritual with high
speed action on one of the world’s great motor racing circuits, showcased by brilliant
TV production that puts you right in the thick of it.

And the race went the extra
mile and then some, as it provided not only another sensational finish, but also two of the sport’s fiercest rivals
again swapping vehicular war paint in the heat of battle. When a race-ending shunt from Holden’s reliably
aggressive Greg Murphy took
out the sport’s number one driver – Ford’s Marcos Ambrose – on lap 144 with pair locked in a
battle for fourth spot, you just knew they wouldn’t be standing around wondering
how it happened. Of course both
thought it was the other’s fault and their roadside rage would look really
ugly at a conventional roadside accident scene – but
these guys are well-paid to be driven individuals.

While Mark Skaife, who won his fifth Bathurst, and co-driver Todd
Kelly reveled in their triumph for Holden, it’s the TV images of the
Ambrose vs Murphy pantomime, while surrounded by the collateral
wreckage of more than a dozen mangled cars as a result of their
collision, that will stick in the memory. After the stewards
couldn’t single out either Ambrose or Murphy as the main culprit, both
men escaped penalty – and why shouldn’t they when neither was prepared
to give the other one inch on the track, which is exactly what fans pay
to see.

For the
sport to continue to grow both here and internationally, the V8 Supercar
drivers need to become major personalities in their own right. Fierce rivalries can’t be encouraged only
to be sanctioned – unless there is a clear and flagrant violation.

And with the Gold
Coast Indy Carnival in two weeks time and the championship
still well and truly up for grabs, defending champ Ambrose will be feeling the
heat in the streets of Surfers Paradise more than ever!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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