Archive for February, 2007
The headline can be a little deceiving; no Vale hasn’t resigned from Yamaha but has in fact extended his current deal with Yamaha. The new deal sees the ‘best motorcycle racer ever’ riding for the Yamaha factory team until the end of the 2008 season.
The announcement, made last week, should hopefully put to bed the rumours that he will switch to Rally or F1, but knowing the Italian press I doubt it.
The new contract raises a few interesting points:
1. Why only one year? – Well Rossi has signed short deals with Yamaha since the switch. I for one believe it gives Rossi a relatively quick ‘out’ if he doesn’t enjoy the MotoGP season. It also gives him an opportunity for his next MotoGP challenge – Ducati. WARNING BOLD PREDICTION COMING UP…. I feel that Rossi will still race in 2009 (unless he is injured), not only that but I see him signing with Ducati and this would see him ride with them until his retirement. Hopefully Aussie rider Casey Stoner will still be with Ducati and they could form an almost unbeatable rider combination
2. What is his motivation? – He has achieved much in the MotoGP arena in the past. Don’t be mistaken even though he humbly accepted Nicky Hayden’s win last year. As competitive as he is, he would have been hurting at losing the championship last year. This gives him a better shot at regaining the title
3. History has shown it takes Valentino 2 years to come to grip with a new format. In his early career (before the 990cc four stroke era), Vale would be competitive in the first year and win the championship the next. Could this be his way of helping fate improve his chance of success?
4. Who will sponsor the team? – Valentino has made no secret he doesn’t enjoy the sponsorship from tobacco companies. Currently it looks as thought Fiat (whom own Ferrari – F1 conspirators line up here) will be sponsors in 2008.
I will not bore you with the standard media release quotes, however they are full of Valentino stating he is very happy at Yamaha etc and Yamaha saying they are very happy for him to be in the team etc.
Interestingly, Texan Colin Edwards is sticking with Yamaha (or should it be Yamaha are sticking with him). Last year rumours where abound that he will return to World Superbike. I hope Colin does well in 2007. He has been very consistent over the last few seasons, always getting points from each race. The only problem is that it has been rarely at the pointy end of the field.
I will have more updates and comments soon, so keep coming back
sportThis year sees Holden stalwart Greg Murphy (Murph) once again driving for a new team. 2007 sees Murph drive for Tasman Motorsport. As he is a New Zealander it looks as though it will be a good marketing move at least.
Since 2004 he has driven for the Supercheap Auto Racing team. Before that it was Kmart Racing in 2000, Gibson Motorsport in 1999 and before then his V8 SuperCar debut was in a VS Commodore for the Holden Racing Team in 1997. At least he has stayed loyal to the Holden brand.
He has probably changed teams more often than any of the big name drivers in the V8 series and this latest was with still one year to go in his contract with Supercheap Auto Racing. If it wasn’t for his undeniable talent as a driver, you would be starting to ask questions.
Is he really as talented as we think?
Does he have trouble fitting into a team?
Or more simply Why?
In this case I would give Murph the benefit of the doubt.
He is an ultra competitive driver, and Tasman MotorSport showed some good form in 2006 so that and the fact he will be effectively racing for his home country New Zealand, could justify the move. However I am always suspicious as to why Supercheap Auto Racing would let such a talented driver go before his contract is out. Kees Wheel’s team owner has commented that…
“Murph has contributed a great deal to Supercheap Auto Racing over the past two years, but while we still had him under contract he has another opportunity and we didn’t want to stand in the way of that,”
If Kees Wheel was a football coach (no matter which code) saying that about a player, you just know there has been some ‘back office’ issues.
Murph should be very competitive in 2007, especially as all the Holden teams will be coming to grasp with the new VE Commodore, however I still firmly believe Craig Lowndes is the man to beat.
I was watching ‘Chasing Amy’ last weekend. If you haven’t seen it, it is a good film. The two main characters have created a comic book and in one scene they describe the target audience…if you have seen the film this next installment will satisfy a similar taget audience…
If ‘Wonder Woman’ and the ‘Six Million Dollar Woman’ had a fight, who would win??
Let’s analyse the combatants… (Note – for all you trainspotters I am referring to the campy TV versions)
• Wrist Bans that can deflect bullets
• Tiara can be used like a boomerang
• Has a golden lasso of truth
• Has an invisible jet plane
• Looks great in figure hugging outfit and red leather boots
• Susceptible to normal human injuries – to quote Arnie (Dutch) from Predator ‘If it bleeds, we can kill it’
Six Million Dollar Woman
• Bionic body parts never get tired
• Can run fast
• Has super strength
• Has good eyesight
• Super hearing
• 1980’s Farrah Fawcett style hairdo
• Bionic parts can be effected by electric currents
• Married Lee Majors
To the victor go the spoils…so who would win? For me it would be the ‘Six Million Dollar Woman’. Why? Well, without the invisible jet, wrist bands and the lasso of truth Wonder Woman is a bit of a three trick pony.
I cannot forget how many times Wonder Woman simply had to fly somewhere deflect a couple of bullets, get out the golden lasso and hey presto crisis over.
The Six Million Dollar Woman however had a veritable arsenal of abilities, and if the going got really tough she could always call in the Six Million Dollar man for help. (If they had kids would they be worth $12 million? Would they still get the $4000.00 baby bonus?)
With the 2007 season almost upon us, the big news in the Holden camp is the launching of the all new VE Commodore.
Late last year, Holden released what is arguably its most important vehicle, the VE Commodore to the public for sale. The trickle on effect for the V8 series is that it allows the Holden teams to introduce the new body shell for the 2007 season.
The new body shell will bring with it both new technical challenges and hopefully some improvements over the 2006 championship winning VZ body.
Unfortunately for the Holden team, this year sees the traditional V8 SuperCar ‘warm-up’ at the Melbourne F1 GP, not being run this year. This has to do with a new TV broadcaster for the series. The new TV broadcaster does not televise the F1, so no race (although AVESCO, the governing body for V8 SuperCars denies this and say it was scheduling issues)
The F1 round, gives all teams an opportunity to have a ‘live’ test for the cars. It allows the teams to get a real idea of how their cars are performing, especially against others in a true race format. Testing just cannot give you a true indication.
This may give the Ford camp a slight advantage for the first few races of the series. It will surely take the Holden teams a few races to shake out the cobwebs and get ideal race set ups. In saying this however, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Holden Racing Team is quick straight out of the box.
As for Ford, with Falcon now in its third update (now the BF Falcon) with no significant changes other than minor aerodynamic improvements have been made.
With the series based on a ‘parity’ structure the AVESCO ensures that all are on a level playing field so we can only hope they have got it right. In fairness they have been testing the parity for a long time.
This is my first of what should be many posts on the 2007 Australian V8 SuperCar series.
In this post I will take a quick look at the driver changes that have taken place over the 2006/2007 summer period or the ‘silly season’
For starters, probably the biggest news was Steven Richard’s move to Ford Performance Racing. This came about with Jason Bright’s move to his own team Britek Racing. This should be a good move for both FPR and Richo. Like his dad he is a very handy driver and he has a good racing brain, so let’s hope the combination works. It is good to see the Ford camp pick up such an experienced and talented racer, to join Craig Lowndes (albeit in a different team).
Just on that, if Lowndes has stayed with FPR, what a combination that would be…Lowndes and Richards…mmm.
As noted above Jason Bright left FPR. It was no secret, but it will be interesting to see how this team performs. Bright has been able to convince sponsor CATERPILLAR to follow him to his new and somewhat unproven team. Gutsy move by Bright, but he should be able to thrive.
Now we move into the somewhat dubious moves that have occurred…
Once again Larry Perkins seems to be out to prove everyone wrong and do things his own way. His two drivers are rookies and one is his son Jack. He and Shane Price, the other driver, where right at the pointy end of the V8 development series last year, however to go into the full series at this stage will be too overwhelming. My prediction is that by mid year, one of them will get the axe.
Nepotism seems to be a repeating theme with Team BOC dumping stalwart John Bowe, for team co-owner Kim Jones’ son Andrew. Incidentally his uncle Brad is also a team co-owner and the other driver. Being a Ford team I wish them well, but wouldn’t expect top ten finishes, from either driver (although Brad probably deserves to).
This brings me nicely to John Bowe. It looks as though he got a lifeline from Paul Cruickshank Racing. This team is like Minardi in F1. In the past it has employed relatively low profile or part time drivers. Over those years stalwarts like John Bowe and Larry Perkins have continually and openly commented on the lack of value these teams and drivers bring to the championship. More to the point they see them as slowing the rest down and accidents waiting to happen. So John will get a taste of what it is like being a minnow. Good luck John, but don’t hold your breath. It’s a shame because he has been a great driver over the years, but probably needed to retire two years ago.
Also Craig Lowndes and 888 Racing have just announced a new 3 year deal with Vodafone. The paint work on the car looks fantastic (although I am biased). The team has had a bit of trouble with sponsor Betta Electrical going belly up late last year. With this new multi-year big $$$ deal it should only help the team in its goal of winning the championship in 2007.
So as usual I will make some bold predictions for the 2007 series…here goes my top 5….
Champion – Craig Lowndes
Runner up – Todd Kelly
Third – Steven Richards
Fourth – Greg Murphy
Fifth – Rick Kelly
Bring on 2007 – the first race is at Adelaide (no practice round at the Melbourne F1 GP). I wll post more as information comes to hand