HEARTBREAK FOR ORRCON RACING AT BATHURST The Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst is an Australian tradition. The passion associated with the event is unmatched in Australia with fans being divided between the blue side of Ford and the red side of...
HEARTBREAK FOR ORRCON RACING AT BATHURST
The Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst is an Australian tradition. The passion associated with the event is unmatched in Australia with fans being divided between the blue side of Ford and the red side of Holden.
When the drivers began today's 1000km race, they had the eyes of millions of fans across the world on them. But behind each driver there is a committed crew of mechanics and engineers who are just as dedicated and passionate about the Bathurst 1000 as each of the 64 drivers competing.
After qualifying in 17th position for the race Jason Bargwanna and Mark Winterbottom were driving a superb race and with 42 laps remaining in the 161-lap race were on track for a podium finish and the crew was excited about the possibility of enjoying the glory.
All of the 18 dedicated crew at Larkham -- Orrcon Racing knew there was a still long way to go in the race and remained focused on every lap around the 6.26km circuit completed by the pair. Each member had already completed three of the four pit stops required in a perfect manner and confident of one more late in the race.
However, a failure in the differential brought Mark Winterbottom to a halt at the pit entrance. The crew were forced to sprint 200 metres to push the stranded Orrcon Racing Falcon back to the pit garage before repairs could begin.
While all of this was happening with the number 20 Orrcon Racing Falcon, Alain Menu and Matt Halliday continued to battle on after suffering a broken front splitter earlier in the race to be inside the top 15.
Following the replacement of the crown wheel and pinion components of the differential in a matter of 45-minutes Bargwanna returned to the track in an effort to gain valuable points towards the Championship.
On lap 145 disaster struck for Bargwanna and the team when he was left nowhere to go and was involved in a ten car pile-up caused when Greg Murphy and Marcos Ambrose collided in spectacular fashion blocking the circuit entering the cutting.
Such was the force of the incident the number 20 Orrcon Racing Falcon endured severe damage to the front and rear. Fortunately Bargwanna and all other drivers involved in the incident were uninjured in the accident.
"It was one of the biggest shunts I have been involved in," said Bargwanna.
"Everything was going so well and perfectly to plan, we were looking good for the podium, the car had god speed, we weren't taking any risks and simply biding our time for a late race charge. Then in a matter of a second it all turned so wrong.
"Disappointing is an understatement, it was a cruel and devastating blow to not only me but also the guys who worked so hard to put Frosty and myself in a good position. It was certainly the one that got away."
While Bargwanna was extremely disappointed to be forced into an early retirement the passion and the magnitude of the disappointment was highlighted by the dedicated crew who earlier in the day were looking to use their passion for success and celebrate a good result. Unfortunately their passion was highlighted in a complete opposite way with many of them inconsolable when they witnessed their dedicated months of preparation and hard work all but destroyed.
"Whilst we didn't get the result we had hoped and were on track for I am extremely please and proud of the way the team functioned from top to bottom,' said team owner Mark Larkham.
"We were very strong today we had good speed, strategy, pit stops, drivers and was setting everything up for a final charge towards the finish until it turned pear shaped. Such a disappointing end is unfortunately often a part of this race and is a very cruel blow.
"I am however buoyed in confidence by our performance, if not our result."
Despite the disappointment for lead car Halliday and Menu continued to fly the flag and put in an impressive performance in the number 10 Orrcon Racing Falcon to cross the line 12th.
Mark Skaife won his fifth Bathurst crown and his first with co-driver was Todd Kelly. The pair of Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup finished second ahead of Ford pair Steve Ellery and Adam Macrow.
The next round of the Championship will be the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the streets of Surfers Paradise in two weeks time.