Skaife’s eye view of life
MARK Skaife has always been a little one-eyed.
His loyalty to Holden in recent years has been a total red wash, even if he began his topline racing career with Nissan and also did some long-distance cameos with Mazda. And now I think I know why. Skaife injured one of his eyes in a massive crash early in his career and has never completely recovered his normal eyesight. He’s adjusted and it’s no drama, but . . . Skaife did the damage when he upended a Nissan GT-R Godzilla in 1990 during practice for a supporting race at the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide, on the same high-speed right-hand bend where Mika Hakkinen was almost killed after a tyre failure on his F1 McLaren.
Even though I’ve known him for more than 25 years, it’s something Skaife has never mentioned, or felt the need to mention.
But it’s one of the gems which pops out from his new book, Skaifey — Life in the Fast Lane.
There have been several Skaife books in the past but this one, written in partnership with long-time race fan Andrew Clarke, finally digs deep enough to satisfy people who want to know more about the most successful racer of his generation. He goes soft on details of the final years with the Holden Racing Team, and the lead-up to his decision to retire, but otherwise it is rich on detail and insight.
‘‘Skaifey’’ can get a bit muddled and repetitive at times, as the author tries to wrap his story around the years and races of his long career.
But the book covers all the big-ticket items, from his early motivation and training to his on-track rivalries and his business dealings.
It’s the first in a series of race-theme books to be published in coming months and sets the bar pretty high.
Craig Lowndes is also working with veteran journalist Mark Fogarty on his first book, Jamie Whincup has a diary of his championship year, and there will be another Peter Brock book with a new perspective before Christmas.
As usual, Skaife has taken pole position and — although it’s not perfect — ‘‘Skaifey’’ is a good read with plenty of genuine insights.
Skaifey — Life in the Fast Lane is published by Ebury Press and is priced at $34.95.