CROMPTON ALMOST QUIT TV AFTER INFAMOUS ON-AIR BLOW-UP

Onboard vision in the broadcast showed a sideways Lowndes applying the brakes before the contact. Pic: YouTube / Supercars

NEIL Crompton considered walking away from V8 Supercars commentary duties amid the fall-out from an on-air blow-up during his first full season in the role in 2003.

Crompton, who was inducted into the Supercars Hall of Fame in 2017, tells the full story in his new book, Neil Crompton: Best Seat in the House, available now in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

The incident in question occurred during Winton’s fourth round of the championship, where Greg Murphy was penalised for making contact with the back of an already out-of-control Craig Lowndes.

As recounted in the book, Crompton was incensed by the penalty and launched at the judiciary, led at the time by Driving Standards Observer Colin Bond.

“110 percent wrong, Colin Bond!’ Crompton said in the broadcast commentary during the race.

“We will buy you a television, maybe a colour one, so you can see the red brake lights come on the preceding car, and I’m telling you, that is 110 percent wrong.

“That is one of the worst, if not the worst, stewards’ decisions I have ever seen. Garth Wigston, Peter Svensson, Keith McKay and Colin Bond, hang your heads in shame.”

Reflecting on the incident, Crompton explained that his recent racing experience meant he’d reacted emotionally, as a driver would, and revealed there had been significant fall-out from the outburst.

Murphy’s car sporting the scar of the contact later in the race, with Lowndes in pursuit. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

“My on-air comments brought me a serious censure from V8 Supercars CEO Wayne Cattach,” Crompton revealed.

“It got to the point where no one cared about the car racing, and it became commentator versus the judiciary.

“Wayne took the opportunity to give me a smashing via email, and told the media that the television commentary had created the situation. That was rubbish.

“What happened on the track created the controversy, and the rulebook and the way it was interpreted was simply wrong.

“I was so pissed off about the blistering note from Cattach that I considered walking away from my broadcast role.”

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Crompton of course stuck with his commentary duties and remains the lead caller on the Supercars broadcasts to this day, but says the incident taught him not to “stick my head too far up above the pulpit”.

“I’ve probably been a little more sanguine when it comes to instinctive reactions on air ever since,” he added.

“These days I have an excellent relationship with both Colin and Wayne and interact with them frequently – it goes to prove the integrity of the relationships is bigger than any blow-ups along the way.”