End of a year. End of an era

4 December 2012
, CarsGuide
End of a year. End of an era
Before I know it we’ll be back on the starting line for the 2013 season with new circuits and new challenges.

And so emotional we saw two usually very cool guys show their human side at the awards night on Monday.

Retiring V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane really was quite emotional when he became the first non-driver to be inducted into the hall of fame. Then our team principal, Roland Dane, got up and made a very impassioned speech. It was that type of year of emotions with the end of the Holden versus Ford era and the 50th anniversary of Bathurst.

I was quite happy to have finished the year with a flourish, scoring a first and second at Homebush despite fairly ordinary grid positions and copping a 25-point penalty. It was frustrating to end up second, just over 300 points away from my teammate Jamie Whincup. I put that down to my driver error in turn four at Symmons Plains earlier this year.

That put me out of that race and with the cars being so reliable it is almost impossible to make up for even one non-finish. Unfortunately there’s not much chance of carrying my winning momentum through to next year because we have all new cars and two new manufacturers which will put a whole new complexion on the championship.

It was very sad to see such a talent as Shane van Gisbergen end his too-short career with two DNFs. It was equally sad to see Greg Murphy possibly end his career in the same way. But our sport is so healthy we have lots of young talent ready to step up. Like David Reynolds who tied for second in the Barry Sheene medal with me.

Also, I have to say Scott McLaughlin very much deserves a go in the main game. At just 19, he's emerging as a real future talent. For me, the highlight of the year was Bathurst. Even though we didn’t win, it was an amazing week of motorsport with a huge audience and lots of promotional activity. Having my car decked out in Peter Brock livery was very stirring and then to be able to drive Bev Brock around the mountain was something I will never forget.

It quite simply was one of the biggest weeks of my career in motor racing. Next for me is another test in next year’s car, followed by a Christmas break with the kids, then I’m off to France in the new year for the Monte Carlo Classic Rally. It’s been a long season, but before I know it we’ll be back on the starting line for an even longer 2013 season with new circuits and new challenges.