Of course, there’s one way to get your suburban road fixed and that’s to ask your government to host a race on it. To prepare for this weekend’s St Kilda By The Sea V8 Supercars and V6 F1 cars event, the socialist government of Victoria has spent $15m upgrading the tarmac around Melbourne’s favourite beachside suburb. (Beach has a different meaning in Melbourne to the rest of the world.)
Now you can’t ask anyone to tell you the truth about anything to do with F1. A few years ago race organisers were caught out lying about how many people attended the circus. Victorian governments of all colours are too embarrassed to say how much of your taxes they transfer to the Liberty Media-owned company that used to have HQs in motor racing havens like Jersey and Luxembourg.
F1 officials always say how much the teams love coming to Australia. And how much women now love watching the race. Yup, how much do women love watching 20 blokes run around the track then have 400 blokes attend to their cars when they come in for a smoke and grease and oil change? Who said it’s 2022?
And they all say it’s anyone’s race, except the experts who really know, like Sportsbet, which has Mad Max (actually one of the sanest people drinking petrol) at $2.20 for a win, Chuck at $2.50, Sainzy (Carlos Sainz Vazquez de Castro – what a last name, must be a friend of the Victorian government) at $9 and Larbo (the driver formerly known as Hamo) at $15. The value bet of the day is the trifecta of Dano (the only driver in F1 with a true European name even though he’s Australian) at $110, Strolly and Nick Latifi (both $500). Sportsbet has our favourite (because he’s nearly as old as the Sultan and me) Ferdy Alonso, the Chris Pither of F1, at a shocking $125 (or Mick’s real age).
In a sad twist of fate, the Incredible Hulk(enburg) is back in the sheds after subbing for Seb Vettel and outperforming the rest of the Aston Martin team (Strolly). Seb’s back in the seat today despite rumours he wants to retire.
Talking of Chris Pither, I would not be taking the 500-1 for him to win this weekend because we all know the sure bet is the Hamo of the Supercar Set, newly anointed Aussie Shane van Gisbergen.
Talking of Dan the Man, he’s the only F1 driver who can see past the two reality shows, Drive to Survive and F1, to envision the real future of the sport. Booze. Yup, good old Aussie ingenuity on display once again. Dano has teamed up with the Coopers of wine, Penfolds, to lend his name both to a glass bottle (we still thought wine came in cardboard) and a decanter (no we don’t know what that is either) shaped like his shoe.
I think the bosses at F1 need to get on board with Dano and have a glass or two of St Hugo available at every pitstop. Just imagine Larbo (aka Hamo) pulls into the pits. In the 2.5 seconds while the (male) pit crew change the tyres, fill the tank and wash the windscreen, a sommelier (naturally in full safety gear) offers a tube, Larbo sniffs, washes the wine around in this mouth and gulps it down. Look I know this might sound controversial but the Sultan and I have always found a traveller settles the nerves before leaving pit lane. On the decanter? Drink wine out of an old glass shoe for $700 a shoe? The end of days can’t be far away.
And as we predicted, a stunning victory for Irish-born Peter Malinauskas’ party at the South Australian elections. What was Pete’s first announcement after grabbing government? Supercars will be back on the streets. In fact, the 2022 season finale will be the Adelaide 500. And in the best news since F1 pulled out of Russia, the Adelaide Motorsport Festival featuring the Shannons Adelaide Rally, starring you know which two superstars of the sport, will be back in Victoria Park. Lesson to both federal parties here. Back motorsport and crush your rivals.
Another great Australian tradition, apart from drinking wine out of a glass shoe and a settling traveller, is the Easter show. The only bad part is the lack of cars since the Holden Precision Driving Team got cancelled. But in good news the organisers of the 200th Sydney Royal Easter Show have asked the Lancia Club to put on a display of members cars. We would love to trade our WART Beemer rally car for any Lancia Delta Integrale of the eighties or nineties but we’re waiting for the price to come down from about $350k for a nice one with history. Some LDIs will be on show as well as an Aurelia B20 coupe, a rare Flaminia sedan once owned by Malcolm Fraser (for younger readers, Mr Fraser was a non-socialist prime minister of Australia), a Lancia Gamma coupe and Fulvia and Flavia coupes, a Beta HPE and Beta Montecarlo.
And Targa’s Megan Creese (part of the Dutton motor megachain – not Megan but Targa) has released the entry list for Targa Tassie starting on May 26. One of the most surprising things about motorsport is the number of showbusiness types good behind the wheel. TV host and media marvel Glen Ridge is driving a RX-7 in Targa this year, Hollywood’s Eric Bana has driven in past years and so has Gold Logie and Bathurst winner Grant Denyer. So glad to report that Grant and dance partner Lily Cornish had a big win this week in the grand final of Dancing With The Stars: All Stars. Grant can add the mirror ball trophy to Dano’s glass shoe, the Nurburgring and V8 utes’ trophies in his person cave at Bathurst.