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HomeNewsOPINION: THE PERFECT PUKEKOHE SEND-OFF

OPINION: THE PERFECT PUKEKOHE SEND-OFF

PERFECT.

There’s no better word to describe the Repco Supercars Championship’s farewell to Pukekohe Park Raceway.

Let’s start from the end.

You couldn’t script how that last race panned out. First lap chaos. Frequent drama. A battle for the ages to decide victory – with one of New Zealand’s own performing some heroics to seal an unforgettable triumph.

It all left you wanting more, but sadly, no more is to come.

New Zealand though showed why it must remain a fixture on the calendar moving forward.

The crowd was simply incredible, right from a Friday that involved a mere half-hour of Supercars track time.

Pukekohe’s iconic hill was packed at all times and the paddock was perhaps more jam-packed with fans than even is seen at Bathurst.

The stakes were high – not only in terms of the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy but the circuit’s general unforgiving nature as the likes of Will Brown found out – and the racing was hard.

Emotions flowed. There were hometown heroes and Aussie challengers, contenders from both the Ford and Holden sides.

All told, Pukekohe delivered arguably the best Supercars event in years – one that will ensure it is forever entrenched in the hearts of drivers, teams, officials and fans.

The Pukekohe crowd. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

Supercars CEO Shane Howard summed it up rather well at the close of play: “What a fitting farewell this weekend’s event was here at Pukekohe.

“We would like to thank the many thousands of fans that came out in force across all three days, with a sold-out crowd on Sunday capping off years of success at this amazing venue.

“That moment on Sunday afternoon when the crowd rose as one to celebrate Shane van Gisbergen’s emotional victory to claim the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy will go down as one of the most memorable in our sport’s history.

“Following on from the success of this weekend’s event, we will continue to explore the potential for future hosting of the Repco Supercars Championship events in New Zealand.”

Whichever venue wins first crack at succeeding Pukekohe, it has got enormous shoes to fill.

Let’s hope it fills them just right.

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