Rev up for Oz nanny state

Stu­pidi­ties can’t take shine off our sport­ing suc­cess

Daily Mercury - - NEWS | OPINION -

THIS year’s Bathurst 1000 brought out the best with true char­ac­ters win­ning the race and in­spir­ing mil­lions along the way.

The win by Holden’s David Reynolds, Luke Youlden, their team Ere­bus Motorsport and its won­der­ful owner Betty Kli­menko was one we’ll re­mem­ber for a long time.

Their win was noth­ing but hard work, tal­ent and pas­sion for the sport and the peo­ple who love it.

Reynolds is a star, a lar­rikin and a sports­man who re­fuses to wear the cor­po­rate straight jacket. He speaks his mind, has fun and has put a tonne of ef­fort into be­com­ing a cham­pion.

Youlden won the race at his 18th at­tempt and is a re­minder to us all to never give up, while Kli­menko is a su­per­star. Su­per­cars should shine the bright­est spot­light on her. Betty’s life story is amaz­ing, but her pas­sion for the sport and the peo­ple in her team is phe­nom­e­nal.

The day af­ter the race I spoke to them for my show on Sky News. But it wasn’t with­out a re­minder of some of the stu­pidi­ties that try to snuff out the very things that make these guys great.

We ar­ranged to meet at the Syd­ney Opera House for the in­ter­view and from the sec­ond they got out of the car they were mobbed by schoolkids, race fans and a load of peo­ple who wanted to have photo.

They brought the Peter Brock tro­phy with them and gladly handed it to any­one who wanted to hold it as they took a snap with the win­ners.

It was a won­der­ful scene, not of fame, but of how sport can in­spire a good­will politi­cians would give their right arm to bot­tle.

But out the cor­ner of my eye came the sight of a se­cu­rity guard who quickly de­scended on the scene to break up this spon­ta­neous mo­ment to query if we had a per­mit to film there.

“Come off it,” I said. “They just won Bathurst and we want to talk to them at one of the great pub­lic build­ings we all own.”

But no, we didn’t have the pa­per­work.

So with Brock tro­phy in hand we were shunted to not just the bol­lards that guard us against ter­ror­ists, but three me­tres be­yond where the se­cu­rity guard’s au­thor­ity ended.

It was un­nec­es­sary and a frankly em­bar­rass­ing re­minder of the nanny state we now live in.

Mean­time, we all know politi­cians try to use sport to pump their own polls. On Mon­day Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull filmed him­self talk­ing to Nathan Walker, the first Aus­tralian to pro­fes­sion­ally play hockey in Amer­ica’s Na­tional Hockey League.

It’s four of the most painful min­utes of tape I’ve seen. Turn­bull has no idea who this bloke is and has vir­tu­ally noth­ing to say to him.

Af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes of the small­est of small talk, Turn­bull asks Walker if he’s met Aus­tralia’s am­bas­sador to the US, Joe Hockey. Hockey, get it? He plays hockey and the am­bas­sador’s name is Hockey.

It was skin crawl­ingly awk­ward stuff.

Fun­nily enough, Turn­bull never tweeted or called Reynolds, Youlden or Kli­menko af­ter win­ning Bathurst. Now, you’d think if he was go­ing to fake an in­ter­est in sport, it might be the one that we Aus­tralians ac­tu­ally watched on Sun­day.

But then again, can you imag­ine how em­bar­rass­ing that call would have been too? So … um … Bathurst ... yeah.

Gra­ham Richard­son, Ross Cameron and Ja­nine Per­rett join Paul Mur­ray live this Mon­day night.

PHOTO: BREN­DAN ES­POS­ITO/AAP

SPORT­ING TRI­UMPH: V8 Su­per­car driver David Reynolds (right) cel­e­brates with co-driver Luke Youlden af­ter win­ning the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, last Sun­day.

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