HAVE you ever heard the one about the V8 Supercars that nearly fell off the back of a truck?
This Strange But True tale was no joke to the Holden Racing Team and Ford Performance Racing, whose cars nearly slid off their transporter during a road accident on the way to the Bahrain round in 2007.
The fly-away round required all teams to package their cars up in air freight cradles for the trip to the Middle East, which were then loaded onto the back of flat bed trucks for the journey from the airport to the circuit.
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According to reports at the time, the truck carrying the four factory-backed cars was travelling down the freeway towards the track when another car made a sudden U-turn in front of it.
When the driver jumped on the brakes the cradle carrying the FPR Falcons broke its restraints and hit the HRT Commodores in front of it, forcing them into the back of the truck’s cab.
Incredibly, nobody was injured in the crash, but the same couldn’t be said of the four V8 Supercars.
The damage forced both teams to air-freight an additional batch of spares to Bahrain for the race weekend after plundering their limited supply to get them ready for the weekend.
Skaife’s Commodore suffered the worst of the quartet; the impacts required the replacement of the radiator, front bumper, fuel tank and rear bodywork, while the rear quarter panels also needed some attention.
“This is not the way you want to start a weekend, repairing a car, especially after my team has worked its bum off getting it ready after Indy,” Skaife said.
Teammate Kelly’s car, dressed in Chevrolet colours for the weekend, escaped with minor panel damage and the news was similar over at FPR, whose cars sustained only cosmetic damage.
The incident was, at the time, just the latest in a run of bad luck for Winterbottom.
He’d been stripped of pole position at the preceding Gold Coast round over a technical breach; the round prior to that was Bathurst, where he’d lost the lead with a wild late-race moment entering the Chase.
“When they said four cars had been damaged I knew that the way our luck’s been going it would be ours, and it was,” Winterbottom said.
However, it also added credence to the theory that bad luck comes in threes.
Winterbottom piloted the repaired car to pole position and victories in the first two races of the weekend, while a third place in the finale sealed his first round win of the season.
The occasion didn’t mark the first time a leading touring car had been damaged on its way to a round – but that’s another tale for another edition of Strange But True.
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