Murphy Farewells Pukekohe, Richards Survives Greg Murphy finished 13th overall in his MTA Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore in the farewell to the track he called his own four times in seven official V8 Supercar visits - Pukekohe. While ...
Murphy Farewells Pukekohe, Richards Survives
Greg Murphy finished 13th overall in his MTA Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore in the farewell to the track he called his own four times in seven official V8 Supercar visits - Pukekohe.
While disappointed he could not step onto the podium there for one final time, having also finishing third to Jason Bright in 2004, Murphy was delighted with the record crowd that witnessed the V8s at one of the fastest circuits on the Supercar calendar for the last time.
"While the results didn't fall the way of Tasman Motorsport this weekend, what a wonderful way for the track to go out with a record crowd of over 130,000 - it's been an amazing weekend and a brilliant seven years," said Murphy.
"The time is right for the V8s to move on and Hamilton's street race will be sensational for everyone, but Pukekohe has done so much for motorsport in New Zealand and there could have been no better way to send it out.
"Pukekohe has given me so many memories and we'll never forget the great times we had, they're memories I'll cherish."
After finishing 12th in yesterday's first race, Murphy finished today's two contests in 11th and 13th respectively.
Murphy's team-mate, Jason Richards, finished on his tail in 14th overall for the round - the third in the 2007 season - but it could have been both so much better and worse.
Having finished seventh in Race 1 yesterday, Richards was running strongly in sixth in today's first race until a bolt in the left front lower control arm broke while the #3 MTA Commodore was at full speed on the back straight, the car careering off the track, flying through the sand trap and crashing into the tyre barriers.
"I was at maximum speed, about 275km/h, when I hit the brakes and the bolt broke in the front left suspension and from there I just became a passenger," Richards said.
"I've been in races here where someone has been killed at the same spot and I don't mind saying that for a moment I thought I was going to die.
"It was frightening, I had abso lutely no control over the car and it wasn't slowing down - it was real heart in the mouth stuff. Luckily, the sand pit did its job and slowed me down dramatically before I hit the barriers."
After repairs were made and he started from rear of grid in the final 43 lapper, Richards finished 18th in Race 3 to close out Pukekohe's V8 Supercar history.
Reigning V8 Supercar Champion Rick Kelly followed up his Clipsal 500 win by claiming the overall event victory, his Toll HSV Dealer Team team-mate, Garth Tander finishing on equal points after winning Races 1 and 2, but a better final race result by Kelly giving him the nod, Ford's Jamie Whincup third.
Kelly's win secured Holden a cleansweep of the seven Pukekohe events, Murphy winning three straight from 2001-'03 and again in '05, Bright winning in '04 and the Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife last year.
Kelly retains his championship lead ahead of Tander, with Murphy and Richards remaining in 12th and 16th in points.
Having completed their 'hometown' New Zealand round, Murphy and Richards will next contest Tasman Motorsport's 'home' race in Australia, with the fourth round of the championship taking place at Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla in north-east Victoria on 18-20 May - a test session at the track scheduled prior to the event.