Keep con­test na­tional

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On - Craig Lown­des

THERE is a break be­fore we race at Dar­win be­cause of the un­for­tu­nate loss of the Perth round from the cal­en­dar.

Our sport needs to be na­tional and not hav­ing Western Aus­tralia in the cal­en­dar is a real shame. I hope they can do some­thing about en­sur­ing we are back there next year. On a per­sonal level, it is a shame be­cause Perth was one of my best re­sults last year.

How­ever, next stop is Dar­win a track I love and where I’ve had some great re­sults in past years.

I love the heat and, from what I un­der­stand, we are us­ing the sprint tyre there again, but not for the whole meet­ing as we did at Ip­swich and Win­ton.

We get one set of softs to be used only in Sun­day’s race. So it’s back to hard tyres for qual­i­fy­ing and Satur­day’s race, and half to two-thirds of Sun­day’s race. Should make things in­ter­est­ing. Speak­ing of in­ter­est­ing, you just can’t help get­ting caught up in all the hype about State of Ori­gin foot­ball. It’s like our Bathurst. It’s the main game of the year.

It’s like Holden ver­sus Ford, only it’s NSW ver­sus Queens­land.

There has al­ways been a bat­tle be­tween the two brands and the two states and there al­ways will be.

Though I grew up in Vic­to­ria and still have a real pas­sion for AFL, I’ve now been liv­ing in Queens­land for 13 years and I’ve grown to love rugby league as well and con­sider my­self a Queens­lan­der through and through. So I just hope the Ma­roons can go on and make it a five-se­ries win­ning streak. Not only be­cause I’m a Queens­lan­der but also be­cause Billy Slater is a good mate, hav­ing done the Rex­ona Great­est Ath­lete show with him.

He is the con­sum­mate ath­lete and hav­ing com­peted against him in that show it’s now great to sit back and watch him per­form.

Fi­nally, I want to make a plea for peo­ple to sup­port the Fa­tal­ity Free Fri­day road safety cam­paign to­day.

There is no one magic so­lu­tion to the road toll, but it all helps.For me, the biggest thing is driver ed­u­ca­tion.

We work in a pro­gram with Jim Mur­cott driver train­ing in which we have drive-days. We go out and give peo­ple rides in the race car and ed­u­cate them on brak­ing, vi­sion, seat po­si­tion, fa­tigue and more.

For race driv­ers it’s all just com­mon­sense be­cause we have been driv­ing for so long. But for some peo­ple, they have to be shown the cor­rect meth­ods.

My opin­ion is that peo­ple only learn how to get a li­cence: many never re­ally learn how to drive a car prop­erly.

I get frus­trated watch­ing peo­ple driv­ing on the streets.

My pet hates are peo­ple sit­ting in the right-hand lane do­ing 10km/ h un­der the speed limit, peo­ple who don’t in­di­cate when they change lanes and peo­ple who stop on merge lanes in­stead of get­ting up to the cor­rect speed and merg­ing smoothly.

But the main one is young peo­ple who drive from al­most the back seat with their seat-back right down.

It’s some­thing to do with peer pres­sure. But if they ob­served race driv­ers they’d see we sit up nice and close so we are in to­tal con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

Bring it on: State of Ori­gin with­NSWver­sus Queens­land is like Holden ver­sus Ford. And part of the fun is see­ing Billy Slater in ac­tion.

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