Chris Dobie


Local Motorsport fans old and young, Ford and Holden will turn out in force
this weekend at Oran Park to farewell two greats of the sport; Holden
hero Mark Skaife, who will close the book on a glittering
214-round career spanning 22 seasons, and the famous figure 8 Sydney
Circuit that has been the scene of some of the most famous touring car
races over the past 6 decades.

It’s fitting that the curtain should come down for Skaife and Oran Park on
the same weekend. The Holden hero has won there six times previously,
including four consecutive rounds from 1999 to 2002 as part of an
unmatched streak of seven straight HRT wins.

Skaife has cemented his position as one of the greats of Australian sport by
amassing five V8 Supercar championships, five Bathurst 1000 victories,
three Australian drivers’ championships and a record 40 round wins. By
the end of this weekend he will have chalked up 214 rounds, the
second-highest in championship history.

Skaife said the occasion would be tinged with sadness but he would also view it
as a celebration. “There are parts of this weekend that I can foresee
are going to be difficult,” he said, “It’s always tough when
you’re saying goodbye to something that has been such a massive part
of your life for so long.” 

“But equally I’m looking forward to going out there and saying thanks to
all of my fans and to my crew in the best way I can. I’m honoured and
humbled by all the support I’ve had over my career and especially
since I announced my retirement, so I’m certainly going to enjoy that
side of it.”

“A lot of my family and friends are going to be attending this weekend and
Oran Park has been a pretty special place for me and for the Holden
Racing Team in years gone by, so it’s fitting that this is where it

Skaife said he had never dwelt upon his long list of achievements but as he
moved on to the next phase of his career, the time was approaching to
take stock. 

“I’ve always said that I don’t really pay much attention to the record
books, that’s what retirement’s for,” he said. “It’s important
to close one chapter in the life of M. Skaife and move on to the next
challenge, and that’s what this weekend is about for me.”

His team-mate Garth Tander, the defending series champion who joined
Toll HRT this year, paid tribute to Skaife. “It’s been a privilege
to spend 12 months learning as much as I can from him,” Tander said.
“You can’t be a team-mate to someone who has won five Bathurst
Titles and five championships and not learn something from them, so for
me it was an honour to be able to be in the same team.”

With such a heavy focus on Skaife this weekend, Tander said the team needed
to stay focused on its immediate goals. “There will be a lot of
attention on Skaifey, and deservedly so. But we’ve still got some jobs
to do within the team as far as securing third place for me in the
championship, as well as scoring points in the teams championship,
because pit lane position for next year is going to be important.”

Tander also took the opportunity to recognise the stellar year of his Ford
rival Jamie Whincup, whom he edged out to win last year’s championship
and who will almost certainly secure the title this weekend.

The Team Vodafone is on the verge of scoring its maiden V8 Supercar
Championship title this weekend.

Jamie Whincup will enter the NRMA Motoring & Services Grand Finale as
favourite, currently enjoying a buffer of 233 points over second place.

The winner of six rounds this season, including a current streak of four
dominant wins in a row, Whincup’s lead could see him secure the
championship as early as Saturday’s opening 46-lap race.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed a flawless run in the second-half of the season,
taking the highest or equal-highest points haul from every event since
Winton at the beginning of August.

He has vowed to do what it takes to get the job done as early as possible
this weekend in order to secure both the driver’s championship as well
as helping Triple Eight to score its first team’s championship.

“I’m very excited about this weekend, I still can’t believe we’re already at
the final round of this year’s championship,” said Whincup.

“It has been a tough year and I feel like I need a break, but on the other
hand it has been so much fun.

“For me, this weekend is all about scoring the necessary 68 points. The only
change to my approach is that I am a little more nervous than usual, but
that’s probably understandable, given the circumstances.

“This is the real deal – this is what I’ve worked my whole career to


We at have followed Skaife’s successes, trials and tribulations since the beginning of our project. There is no question about his champion credentials and in
fact, his last 10 year history alone matches Lowndes and Brock in many

Although we’re disappointed to see Skaifey leave the sport, like many of the fans, we would like to think that he’ll still have an involvement of some sort, and that Mr Walkinshaw will honour the champion that has given much over his career.

We take this opportunity to thank Skaife for some glorious moments in motor-sport, and wish him the very best in his future endeavours! -a 




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