Skaife’s eye view of life

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By PAUL GOVER www.nt­news.com.au

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.

Mark Skaife

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